Providence launches probe after Target 12 pension story

Tim White and I have the news on

The Providence Police Department is launching a criminal probe in response to a Target 12 investigation that revealed a retired firefighter who collects a tax-free disability pension is also a dedicated weightlifter.

Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare said Tuesday he’s directed Police Col. Dean Esserman to have his detectives find out whether criminal charges should be filed against John Sauro, 48, of Cranston, who retired in October 2000 with an accidental disability pension because of an injured right shoulder.

“We’re just beginning a criminal investigation,” Pare said. “If there is probable cause that a crime was committed, we’ll prosecute.” The potential charges could include obtaining money under false pretenses, he said.

Sauro isn’t the only retiree in the commissioner’s sights. Pare said he has identified up to 100 other disability pensions awarded to fire personnel that he wants examined. They were awarded in the early 1990s, when eight out of 10 fire retirees were awarded a tax-free pension for an on-the-job injury, he said.

Read the whole story here. For more on “Feel the Burn,” check out my post from last Thursday, when it aired.

In other news, Bob Watson was just ousted by the House Republican Caucus as minority leader in the wake of his DUI arrest. Rep. Brian Newberry is the new minority leader, and Rep. Joe Trillo is the new whip, my colleague Alex DiPrato reports from the Statehouse. WRNI’s Scott MacKay totally called it yesterday.

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