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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Still due: some straight answers from Councilor DiBello

DiBello offers drama instead of facts
DiBello on "Let's Make a Deal" on Oct. 4 where she contradicted what
she wrote in her Sun letter
By Will Collette

Charlestown Council member Lisa DiBello is a very skilled performer. Her favorite character is playing the victim. That’s how she got herself elected in 2010, playing off a sympathy vote arising from her May 2010 firing for cause. 

Now it seems, based on her October 25, 2012, letter in the Westerly Sun, her 2012 reelection hopes rest on another sympathy vote, this time claiming that I am bullying her by writing and documenting her conduct as a former town employee, present town Council member and active litigant against the town of Progressive Charlestown.

Ms. DiBello’s victim act is a true tour de force, given that she is suing the town of Charlestown for $1.5 million in a conspiracy lawsuit that, if you read her own words in her lawsuit, is at once wildly fantastic when it comes to the actual conspiracy and also very damaging to her own cause. By her own words, Ms. DiBello describes how she practically dared former Town Administrator Bill DiLibero to fire her by defying his supervisory role over her and then was SHOCKED when he did.

One of my first Progressive Charlestown articles questioned how she reconciled suing the town of Charlestown while claiming to serve it. It’s not just the money ($1.5 million) but months of disruption she caused within the Town Council by also suing two of her Council colleagues. Ms. DiBello never answers that question.

Ms. DiBello ignores questions about ten years of conflict of interest that took place while Ms. DiBello was Director of Parks and Recreation. While in that job, Ms. DiBello repeatedly advocated that the concession contract for Charlestown Town Beach be awarded to her roommate and business associate, a contract that Ms. DiBello was directly responsible for overseeing. That 10-year beach monopoly resulted in Charlestown receiving less than one-third the revenue from Ms. DiBello’s roommate than the town received from the concessionaires at Blue Shutters Beach.

I raised questions about Ms. DiBello’s charity, A Ray of Hope, which at one time raised over $100,000. Ms. DiBello never publicly released its IRS-990 reports, as required by law, to show exactly how much money it raised and where the money was spent. 

Ms. DiBello admits that she did not file these reports for the past two years while the charity was inactive, but does not address what happened to the boatloads of money she raised earlier. In an earlier e-mail to me, she indicated that she may never have filed them!

Incidentally, Ms. DiBello writes in her Westerly Sun letter that the charity is now inactive. However, when she appeared on the game show “Let’s Make a Deal” on October 4, she said her occupation was running “a charity for children.” Which is true? What she wrote in the Sun or said on national television?

Ms. DiBello does not address the fundraising video for A Ray of Hope - produced and posted on the internet by her brother directing donations to the brother’s address – featuring Ms. DiBello’s appearance on the game show “The Price Is Right.” On that fundraising video, DiBello pledges to donate the $20,000 car she won to A Ray of Hope. But, in fact, Ms. DiBello never donated the car and instead gave it to her roommate, who drove it until it was impounded by Charlestown Police last year.

Ms. DiBello does not address her lack of accountability, shown by her failure to release the federal IRS-990 reports on her charity and her failure to EVER file a state annual report on her charity on time, resulting in two charter revocations by the Secretary of State.

Ms. DiBello does not address the fact that in 2010 and again this year, the Board of Elections has issued violations against her for failing to file her campaign finance reports.

Ms. DiBello does not respond to my report on records that show she carries the lightest load of any Council member for serving as liaison to town boards and commissions, agreeing only to play that role with the Cross Mills Library – and that she doesn’t show up for meetings!

Ms. DiBello does come on strong in her Westerly Sun letter claiming that I said she was a member of the Charlestown Citizens Alliance. I never said that.

What I have asserted – correctly – is that Ms. DiBello gave the CCA the deciding vote on the Charlestown Town Council, persistently voting with CCA Councilors Tom Gentz and Dan Slattery and against Councilors Marge Frank and Gregg Avedisian. It’s no surprise that Ms. DiBello would vote against Marge and Gregg  since she is currently suing both of them.

Ms. DiBello says she never reads Progressive Charlestown, yet she writes her lengthy letter to the Westerly Sun to attack what I have written sight unseen. That’s been pretty much the story of Ms. DiBello’s history in Charlestown – the triumph of imagery over substance, also known as faking it.