CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The Cranston police captain accused of ordering officers to issue tickets in a certain ward as a form of political payback is leaving the force.
Eyewitness News has learned Stephen Antonucci is no longer on the city’s payroll – after spending more than two years on paid leave.
Antonucci admitted to ordering more than 100 parking tickets to be issued in two wards but said he was enforcing the law, saying it wasn’t political retribution.
At the time of the blitz, Antonucci faced termination.
In an agreement with Mayor Fung, he dropped the suits, remained on paid administrative leave and used personal, comp and vacation time to hit his 20-year mark with the force this year.
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Now, he’s eligible for a better retirement plan.
According to an impact report by the internal auditor for the Cranston City Council, the move cost the city more than $700,000. The audit states that with the benefit package Antonucci is eligible to receive, the total cost to the city could hit $1.5 million.
In a statement, Mayor Fung’s office said the move saved taxpayers money.
“The Captain received no special consideration or payout upon retirement, in excess of what was legally required.
This retirement allowed the Cranston Police Department to avoid months of distraction and controversy, saved thousands of dollars for Cranston taxpayers, and permitted Chief Winquist and the men and women of the Cranston Police to focus attention on their jobs and better serve the residents.”
Eyewitness News spoke with Councilman Paul Archetto – whose ward was one of two blanketed with tickets.
“I think had Captain Antonucci just manned up to what he did and came clean, he would have gotten a letter of reprimand and maybe a demotion to lieutenant and he probably would have still been working for the Cranston Police Department,” he said.
According to the city, Antonucci was earning more than $100,000 per year at the time of his retirement. He also received a pay bump in July of 2015 when he was using his accrued vacation and comp time.
Eyewitness News also reached out to the treasurer’s office to learn how much Antonucci will receive in pension benefits. We’re told he’ll earn more than $27,000 a year.