Rep. Carnevale amends 9 years of ethics filings in the wake of undercover probe

Rep. Carnevale, right, refuses to answer questions as he walks into the State House.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – State Rep. John Carnevale on Monday corrected nine years of financial disclosures he previously filed with the Rhode Island Ethics Commission to list additional properties he owns, making the changes the same day a Target 12 investigation raised questions about whether he lives in his own House district.

In the amended filings, Carnevale acknowledged owning three pieces of property that he said are not his primary residence: a home at 895 Greenville Ave. in Johnston; a lot on Kinfield Street in Providence; and a lot on Rattlesnake Road in Brownfield, Maine. He lists his official residence as 150 Barbara St. in Providence, which he also co-owns.

Carnevale, a 54-year-old Democrat, was at the Johnston property on a recent day when he was caught on tape wrapping his face in a T-shirt, apparently to avoid being seen after he seemed to spot undercover Target 12 surveillance cameras rolling.

Rep. John Carnevale wrapped his face in a T-shirt while undercover surveillance cameras were rolling.
Rep. John Carnevale wrapped his face in a T-shirt while undercover surveillance cameras were rolling.

There was no answer Tuesday at the phone number listed on Carnevale’s legislative website and the answering service said his mailbox is full. He again refused to answer Target 12’s questions at the State House on Tuesday afternoon, repeating that there was “no story” as he drove out of the parking lot.

Carnevale’s amended financial statements would indicate the Johnston property is not his primary residence. However, a 2007 mortgage document he signed for that home explicitly stated that he “agrees to occupy the property as [his] principal residence,” according to a copy obtained by Target 12.

Two former tenants at 150 Barbara St. in Providence told Target 12 they were instructed to say Carnevale lived at the property if anyone asked – even though, according to them, he did not. During months of undercover surveillance, Carnevale’s vehicles were seen repeatedly at the Johnston property but never at 150 Barbara St., his official residence.

Carnevale is vice chairman of the powerful House Finance Committee and was first elected to the General Assembly in 2008.

The serious questions about Carnevale come as state lawmakers are under intense scrutiny in the wake of former House Finance Committee Chairman Ray Gallison’s resignation, which focused new attention on the failure of many of them to fill out their Ethics Commission financial statements accurately and completely.

The problems have been so widespread that earlier this month the commission voted to allow a brief grace period, through July 18, during which officials can correct their filings without penalty.

Tim White ( twhite@wpri.com ) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook

Ted Nesi (tnesi@wpri.com) covers politics and the economy for WPRI.com. He writes The Saturday Morning Post and hosts Executive Suite. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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