Ethics complaint dismissed against House majority leader

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Rhode Island Ethics Commission voted Tuesday not to pursue a complaint against House Majority Leader John DeSimone.

The matter was “dismissed without prejudice,” which means it could be filed again later with additional information.

The complaint was filed last week by the Rhode Island Progressive Democrats over DeSimone’s alleged failure to disclose his state and local tax debts.

DeSimone, D-Providence, acknowledged earlier this year that over the past decade properties he owns have repeatedly been put on the list for a city tax sale because he failed to pay his taxes on time. (The sales were averted when he paid up.) DeSimone described the decision to pay late as a matter of convenience as he managed his finances.

The progressive group – which has endorsed DeSimone’s opponent, Marcia Ranglin-Vassell, in the Sept. 13 primary – argued DeSimone should have listed his various tax debts on his mandatory annual financial disclosures to the Ethics Commission.

DeSimone responded to the decision in a statement Tuesday afternoon, saying: “I am pleased the commission unanimously voted to dismiss this complaint, which was frivolous, baseless, and politically motivated.”

The Progressive Democrats responded on Twitter:

Ted Nesi contributed to this report.

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