Ethics Commission to investigate Palumbo, Solomon

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – State Rep. Peter Palumbo and Providence City Council President Michael Solomon will be the subject of separate state Ethics Commission investigations after complaints were filed against both men earlier this month.

The commission now has 180 days to conduct its initial probe, meaning findings will likely be released after November’s election.

The Palumbo complaint was filed by good government group Common Cause, which claims Palumbo violated the Code of Ethics by submitting a $1.7 million bid for a state beach concessions contract last September. Members of the General Assembly are barred from seeking employment or contracts with the state.

After Palumbo withdrew, former state Rep. David Caprio, who at the time was the chairman of the state Democratic Party, won the concession bid and hired Palumbo to run the food operations at Roger Wheeler, Scarborough and Misquamicut beaches. Caprio resigned as party chairman last month.

Documents indicate Palumbo, who was first elected in 1994, operated two state beach concessions between 2000 and 2008. The regulation Marion claims Palumbo violated was not on the books until 2007.

The complaint against Solomon was filed by Michael Long, a Republican candidate for City Council. Solomon is running in the Sept. 9 Democratic primary for mayor against Brett Smiley, Jorge Elorza and Chris Young.

Long charged that Solomon committed more than two dozen reporting violations on financial disclosure forms he submitted since 2007, mostly stemming from his failure to disclose certain business interests. Solomon has come under fire in recent months for his role as a minority partner in a business that still owes the city more than $400,000 from a taxpayer-backed loan awarded in 1987.

Last week, Solomon filed a long list of amendments to his financial disclosure forms. He said any mistakes were inadvertent.

Dan McGowan ( ) covers politics and the city of Providence for Follow him on Twitter: @danmcgowan

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