Chafee picks Parsons despite ties to EDC credit-card scandal

Governor Chafee decided to tap veteran R.I. Economic Development Corporation staffer William Parsons as its new executive director despite Parsons’ involvement in a 1999 scandal over executive expense accounts.

Parsons was reprimanded and demoted from deputy director to associate director after he approved – perhaps inadvertently – the EDC’s purchase of a plane ticket to Disney World for the son of its legal counsel, who wound up resigning along with other top staff members, according to newspaper accounts.

Parsons was also criticized for taking a $300 cash advance off his EDC credit card, charging $19.77 at a Family Pet Center in North Providence and failing to reimburse the agency for $390 he spent to bring his wife on a trade mission to London.

Christine Hunsinger, a spokeswoman for Governor Chafee, said Friday the governor was aware of the expense irregularities but decided it wasn’t a reason to pass over Parsons, who has worked for the EDC and its forerunner since 1975, a year after former Gov. Philip Noel created it.

“Yes, there was an issue several years back and that was dealt with, and since that time his track record has been impeccable,” Hunsinger told “The governor is confident that Bill Parsons is the right person because of the institutional knowledge he has in 37 years of public service. EDC will move forward and under the governor’s direction will be a force in driving economic development in the state.”

Hunsinger declined to say how many others Chafee approached about taking the job. She also said the governor called Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed to inform her of the choice. Parsons’ appointment must be confirmed by the Senate.

9 thoughts on “Chafee picks Parsons despite ties to EDC credit-card scandal

  1. Once again, Governor Chafee demonstrates that he is completely tone deaf and out of touch. We need someone at EDC who can move our economy forward, not a 37-year EDC veteran whose institutional knowledge includes using the state credit card for personal use and allowing others to do the same.

  2. When did it become possible for a leopard to change it’s spots. Governor Chafee’s selection is just one more example of how RI will never change to become what it needs to be. Appointing a know liar, cheat and dishonest 37 year non-performer signals the foretelling of more stealing, deceit and screwing of the the Rhode Island taxpayers. Maybe all of our state politicians won’t be happy until we the taxpayers have all moved out of state. Only then will they have to foot the bill themselves. What next from the EDC, writing loans to yourselves for more trips to Disney.

    As public officials and with the current state of social media and electonic record keeping, one would think that all of you would attempt to be the exemplary citizen by upholding the laws that all of you enact. Evidently you all feel that you are “above the law” and are “entitled” to act however you feel necessary. God help you and all of the downtrodden Rhode Island taxpayers who you continue to trample upon for they know not what they are doing when they vote for such lunacy. Maybe Rhode Island should change its state flag from saying HOPE to INSANITY. Our state motto seems more like it ought to be “Where doing the same thing over and over expects to bring different results”. Time and your behavior have demonstrated that insanity is just that and that they only way to divorce ourselves from this lunacy will be by moving away from this godforesaken hell hole.

  3. It makes perfect sense!

    Given the number of undiscovered skeletons remaining at the EDC, the Gov needed a “holiday shill” to be in charge.

    The irony is that it confirms why no business in their right mind would want to come to RI.

    “Holiday Shill” definition – A person who is sneaked in the back door during the season when people are too busy to notice, or care.

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