NORTH PROVIDENCE, RI (WPRI) — A North Providence town employee who was arrested for DUI twice in 20 months, drove a town truck with a suspended license for at least two weeks, saying he didn’t know his license was suspended.
James Fuoroli, 55, of North Smithfield, who is the town’s Director of Buildings, has been arrested twice for DUI since March of 2015 according to court records. His driver’s license has been suspended twice during that span.
Department of Motor Vehicles records indicate Fuoroli lost his license most recently on November 14 for failure to maintain insurance.
“It was a paper mistake,” Fuoroli said. “I didn’t know about it.”
In a statement faxed to Target 12, Fuoroli said a discussion with his friend prompted him to clear up the insurance issue the day after Target 12 obtained his driving record.
According to DMV records, his license was “restored” on December 2.
Target 12 witnessed Fuoroli driving a town truck on multiple occasions during the time the license was suspended. Undercover cameras also captured him driving an SUV registered to North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi.
Fuoroli’s most recent arrest was September 14 in Smithfield, where he was nabbed for DUI and chemical test refusal 2nd Offense according to court records.
On March 21, 2015, Fuoroli was arrested in Burrillville for DUI and leaving the scene of an accident involving property damage. Records show Fuoroli pleaded no contest to the leaving the scene charge. The DUI charge was dismissed.
He temporarily lost his license in April of 2015. A second chemical test refusal conviction could lead to a 12-month license suspension.
Mayor Lombardi called Fuoroli a great employee who has “saved the town a lot of money” in his position as Director of Buildings.
“Let me just stop you right there. I don’t care what people suspect.” Mayor Charles Lombardi
Lombardi said he stands by his employee’s explanation that he didn’t know his license was suspended.
“You’re not guilty until you’re proven guilty,” Lombardi said. “And at this point, I’m not ready to accuse him of not telling the truth.”
The Mayor said so far Fuoroli’s driving record has not cost the town any additional insurance premiums.
He answered multiple questions about whether a pair of DUI and chemical refusal arrests should restrict Fuoroli from driving a taxpayer-owned truck.
“I would say no,” Lombardi said. “Knowing what I know, I would say no.”
He went on to explain that there are details he cannot divulge that might change opinions on how the issue should be handled by the town.
As far as why Fuoroli was driving the Mayor’s personal vehicle, Lombardi said Fuoroli is in the process of buying it.
“And by the way, if you asked me and I had a car that was for sale, and I know know you, I’d say take it,” Lombardi said, agreeing that it would be similar to “a long test drive.” “Take it for a month? Not a problem.”
Lombardi emphasized that he is not concerned about the court of public opinion at this point.
“Let me just stop you right there,” Lombardi said. “I don’t care what people suspect.”
Fuoroli is due in Superior Court in January and March.