Investigative Reports That Get Results
At the Hummel Report, we take pride in the fact that our reports get results. Here are a list of some of the reports that have had the most impact, with the most current on top. Please check back often for more updates on our reports.
Exposed Fire marshall who put non-family members on health insurance plan costing taxpayers thousands.
Update 12/17/2012: Fire marshal Parent quits the department.
Exposed Central Falls Mayor Charles Moreau’s sweet deal on a furnace from a campaign contributor and recipient of town business.
Results: Rhode Island State Police Financial Crimes Unit is poring through records at City Hall. Rhode Island Ethics Commission begins investigation.
Update: The Rhode Island Ethics Commission begins investigation including interviewing witnesses. FBI begins its own investigation.
Update 9/20/2012: Mayor Moreau pleads guilty to corruption.
Update 11/19/2012: Sentencing postponed.
Reported on Block Island resident Avery Kirby who invented a tray to fit on walkers to help his fellow disabled veterans but the effort has hit roadblocks at the Veterans Association.
Update 10/20/2012: signed a non-exclusive license with Simplified Energy Solutions of Columbia , CT to conduct a commercial evaluation of Avery Kirby's walker tray.
Update 11/6/2012: Walker trays headed for wider distribution.
Exposed a taxpayer-funded business loan program run by the city of Providence. The program had a default rate so high under the Cicilline administration that federal officials overseeing the lending initiative have stepped in.
Update 10/23/2012: PEDP's power to grant loans suspended by Mayor Angel Taveras.
Update 7/19/2012: Jim Hummel has obtained new documents showing Cicilline tried to bend the rules of a program that the feds later said took on too much risk. And we have details about the longest-running loan, which is being carried by a prominent elected official.
Exposed voter dissatisfaction with stability of the Central Coventry Fire District finances.
Results: Citizens of town question the finances.
Update 10/3/2012: Voters reject Central Coventry Fire District budget and days later cash flow problems instigate talks of bankruptcy. Discussed in the Hummel Report update HERE.
Exposed Central Falls Mayor Moreau giving Police Chief Joe Moran a new employment contract the day immediately after he `retired' from the city.
Results: City Receiver Robert Flanders reduced Moran’s benefits and eliminated his position and his employment.
Update 8/22/2012: Central Falls settles with ex-Chief Moran for 14% of claim.
Exposed Providence Mayor David Cicilline spending $500,000 to have four full-time police officers to drive and provide security for him, including campaign activities.
Results: Cicilline said he would reimburse the city but that mayors in similar-sized cities do the same.
Update: Hummel investigates other large cities in New England and does not find their mayors using officers to drive them around. Most drive themselves.
Exposed Rehoboth Police Chief Stephen Enos was found crying “Kill me” on a sidewalk at 2:00 AM.
Results: Town Selectmen hire investigator to review Enos’s conduct and chief was suspended - with pay - and stripped of his gun, badge, car, computer, cell phone...and booted out of his office at the police station.
Update: Hummel reports that Chief Enos was running license plates for personal reasons and spending most days at his girlfriend’s house.
Update: After we exposed Chief Enos spending large parts of every work day at his girlfriend's apartment in Pawtucket by following him for more than a month, Chief Enos contacted an FBI agent saying we had ``been following him around and harassing him.'' Enos said he believed a former selectman in town and critic of the chief's had been paying the Hummel Report to investigate Enos and to do stories about him. The FBI found no merit to Enos's complaint.
Exposed Rehoboth Board of Selectmen dragging its feet on Enos investigation.
Results: Majority of selectmen replaced at next election. Chief Enos contract not renewed.
Exposed Rehoboth selectman Chris Morra was paid for installing security and phones in police department yet told the Hummel Report it was a donation.
Results: Morra removed as chair of the finance committee.
Exposed firefighter union president running for state Senate, Michael Coogan, was doing business in Rhode Island without the required state registration - and without pulling permits, despite billing a client for them.
Results: Became a campaign issue and he finished third in primary.
Update: Rhode Island Attorney General filed two criminal charges.
Update: Ordered to pay $20,000 civil fine and $18,335 in restitution
Update: Coogan is convicted in Rhode Island District Court of failing to respond to the fine/restitution.
Exposed sex offenders were living within 300 feet of schools, a violation of law.
Results: Police visit the offenders and give them 30 days to move. ACLU files suit over law's constitutionality.
Exposed company was not packing some EZ Pass transponders it shipped in a Mylar protective bag designed to keep it from being read at toll booths in transit.
Results: Bridge and turnpike authority no longer purchases from that company and refunds were issued.
Exposed the personal fight between the Providence Fire Department Chief and a widow of a deceased firefighter over providing a memorial pin.
Results: Memorial pin produced and distributed five years after he died in the line of duty.
Exposed the fire exit chained shut at a school in Cranston.
Results: The school was cited for two fired code violations and new doors were installed.
Exposed onerous fee on boiler inspection from the state for small businesses.
Results: The state has overhauled its regulations and will soon eliminate the water heater inspections for most businesses, deeming them unnecessary.
Exposed Block Island Harbor Master Christopher Willi who let a charter boat company owner improperly use his slip for a profit.
Results: Council begins investigation.
Update: Harbor Master resigns and pays ethics commission fine.
Exposed DOT spending $9m of stimulus money to replace road signs so we don’t have to use light – but we still spend $4m on lights.
Results: DOT ordered lights on some highways turned off several months after our investigation.
Exposed: Woonsocket police officer on paid sick leave for 13 years.
Results: Became a topic for mayoral campaign – new Mayor Leo Fontaine, tells the `The Hummel Report,’ he has ordered a full review of the case.
Exposed people put on hold when calling 911.
Results: Agency hires two new staff, reorganized shifts, and made more overtime available. The result has been a reduction in the number of calls being put on hold.
Exposed a laid-off manufacturing executive working full-time at a computer repair shop - all the while collecting unemployment benefits from the state.
Results: Unemployment payment stopped.
Exposed North Providence Town Councilwoman Alice Brady working for town school department, sons also on local police and fire departments, forcing her to recuse herself on numerous votes.
Results: An ethics complaint has been filed.
Exposed citizen outrage on town wind turbine proposals and issues with Net Metering legislation.
Results: North Kingstown Town Council agreed to put a moratorium on any new projects and National Grid is proposing a significant reduction in the Net Metering rate and the General Assembly is considering changes to the law, while the PUC is expected to hold hearings on the issue.
Exposed House of Representative candidate left his job as superintendent of the North Kingstown School Department under a cloud of controversy three years ago, after the state determined his administration misspent more than $200,000 in special education grant money.
Results: Candidate lost primary race.
Exposed DEM employee living rent-free in the state-owned caretaker's house at Colt State Park, where her uncle is the boss. The taxpayers also pick up the cost of her utilities.
Results: Employee paying back rent and utilities and five managers who had some involvement in the situation faces varying degrees of disciplinary action.
Exposed cracks in the concrete of the brand new Warren Bridge.
Results: DOT tells us while the cracks are visible again, the sidewalks *are* sealed and not susceptible to erosion.
Update: Two years later - the sealant has faded and the cracks have reappeared. DOT now says, ``The sealant, while not aesthetically pleasing, is an acceptable and practical solution to the surface cracking on the sidewalks.”
Exposed two art projects at the Kent County Courthouse - a sound sculpture featuring bird noises, and glass panels near each of the four elevators - that cost the taxpayers a total of nearly $400,000.
Results: Senator Leo Raptakis proposes change in law.
Exposed the town of Barrington sending a tax bill to a formerly tax-exempt institution - saying that status should be based on not just ownership, but how the property is used.
Results: Providence officials, where 40% of all property is tax exempt, contacted Barrington exploring how Providence could start charging institutions like Brown University.
Exposed problems with four hi-tech boats owned by various city fire rescue squads.
Results: Good News Bad News – The boats get new motors but taxpayers will shell out another $800,000 to fix the problem.
Exposed Department of Corrections has a building that remains vacant – even though the government spent $17 million on updates.
Results: Lights turned off. Senator proposes new use.
Update: Building transformed into new women's prison facility.
Exposed Fall River Mayor William Flannigan naming Michael Coogan, a fire lieutenant, as interim fire chief after forcing out veteran Chief Paul Ford.
Results: Flanagan has since suspended Coogan after questions arose about union work he did on city time - something sources say Flanagan knew about already.
Please check back often for more updates on our reports.