PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A company owned by Pawtucket state Sen. Jamie Doyle was in court Thursday negotiating a payment plan to pay off an old debt to a Scituate business owner, after failing to comply with a prior court order.
John Longo, an attorney for Doyle Respiratory LLC, said the medical-supply company’s financial issues have been no secret. He said the deal both sides agreed upon this week is the last one the business needed to make, and that Doyle’s business is back on track.
Court documents show Doyle Respiratory owes $6,843.33 to Pheonix Administrators. A Kent County judge ordered Doyle’s business to pay the money back on Dec. 5, 2013.
But Phoenix alleged that despite agreeing to pay the outstanding balance in monthly installments, Doyle never sent the rest of the payments.
Phoenix took Doyle’s company back to court and filed another motion, demanding that Doyle be incarcerated at the Adult Correctional Institution for a period of time for failing to pay. Longo’s lawyer scoffed at the suggestion.
“Jamie Doyle was no more in danger of going to jail for this than the owner of Phoenix Administrators if she didn’t hold up to her end of the contract,” Longo told Eyewitness News.
Longo argued the negotiations between Doyle and Phoenix over the late payment should never have occurred the way they did.
“It was a way to get attention and turn this into a circus and something that it wasn’t,” he said. “It’s a business dispute.”
In the new agreement, Doyle Respiratory admitted failing to make good on the first court-ordered payment agreement from 2013. Longo said Thursday the company has sent a $600 check to Phoenix as a first installment on the new agreement, which calls for the debt to be paid off plus 12% interest.
Phoenix owner Melissa Bruno told The Valley Breeze she agreed to the new plan because her attorney argued Doyle was unlikely to be put in jail due to the importance of his position on the Senate Finance Committee.
This is not the first time Doyle’s business has wound up in court.
Eyewitness News uncovered a federal court ruling that showed a Florida company, Lincare Inc., sued both Doyle and his business in 2007, alleging the senator breached his employment contract by leaving their respiratory company to start a new respiratory company and compete for customers.
Doyle and his company agreed to pay Lincare $71,000 to resolve the suit.
Doyle, the 44-year-old son of former longtime Pawtucket Mayor James Doyle, was first elected to the Senate in 2004. He ran unopposed for re-election two years ago.
Ted Nesi, Tim White and Susan Campbell contributed to this report.