City employee accused of setting up secret bedroom in public building

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) – A Cranston city employee has been disciplined following a tip that a makeshift bedroom was set up in the city’s highway department building.

A photo making its way around social media – and sent to WPRI 12 via ReportIt – shows a room with a bed, a nightstand, a coffee maker, even slippers and what appears to be pajamas.

The allegation: that a city employee who had just sold his house had set up a temporary bedroom on the second floor of the Cranston Highway Department building at 935 Phenix Ave.

Robert Coupe, Cranston’s director of administration, declined to let Target 12 into the building to check out the second floor, saying it was a “working garage,” but did confirm an employee had been disciplined.

“We were made aware of an incident that I believe existed for a very short period of time and it’s not happening anymore,” Coupe said. “A city employee has been disciplined and has been told it’s unacceptable to be sleeping in the highway garage.”

Coupe declined to say what the level of discipline was.

Target 12 questioned the city employee – who is not being identified because the city did not name him – outside the city highway building. The employee said “I can’t talk to you” and declined to allow cameras into the building, nor did he want to comment when showed the picture of the room.

Tax records at Cranston City Hall indicate the employee closed on a home he was selling on Friday, Feb. 24, indicating any temporary room may have been used for a short amount of time.

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