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Friday, July 15, 2016

South County's Carnevale up for hearing on Monday

Block Island Board of Canvassers will investigate where Rep. Blake Filippi actually lives
By Will Collette

Does he live here? A storage building on Block Island.
On Monday, the New Shoreham Board of Canvassers will meet to “to receive, investigate and act on a challenge to state Representative candidate Blake Filippi’s Declaration of Candidacy,” according to their published agenda.

That challenge came from me. I wrote HERE about the new questions that cropped up in public records about exactly our state rep, Blake “Flip” Filippi actually lives.

When Filippi first ran for public office in 2014, he gave his address as one of his Mother’s houses on Block Island. 

However, there were dozens of public records where Filippi gave his home address as his Mother’s cow farm in Lincoln.

Filippi’s own Statehouse website says Filippi lived in Lincoln and graduated from Lincoln High School, contrary to his claim that he is a life-long South County resident.

Or does he live here? A house in Charlestown
Lincoln, RI is not in House District 36 which includes all of Charlestown and Block Island and parts of South Kingstown and Westerly.

The state Board of Elections rejected then Rep. Donna Walsh’s challenge to Filippi’s legitimacy based on a DOE rule that any such challenges must be filed within 24 hours of the candidate’s declaration filing.

BOE Director Bob Kando told Donna that she should have brought the issue to the local board of canvassers because the BOE had this impossible rule.

Having learned from that, this time the issue is before the Block Island canvassers. Given all the attention being given to “addresses of convenience” due to the Rep. John Carnevale case, maybe this time, Filippi won’t be able to dance his way out of this.

The Facts

According to Block Island Town Clerk Molly Fitzpatrick, Filippi registered to vote and filed his candidate’s papers giving a Block Island address, 74 West Side Road (see photo above), which looks like either a warehouse or large barn, based on a search on Google Earth.

The location is listed in Filippi’s Ethics Commission annual disclosure report as one of the Filippi family’s LLCs.

This is a different address than 912 Champlin Road which he gave in 2014.

On the Tax Assessor’s database, it appears that Filippi’s new Charlestown home is owner-occupied and he is the owner. Here's a screen shot:

As we’ve shown in the past when we’ve analyzed campaign contributions to the CCA Party, when a Charlestown house is owned by a non-resident, that owner’s primary residence is listed in addition to the address of the Charlestown property.

Low expectations, really low

I have no doubt that Filippi will have some slick explanation for all of this that may or may not be plausible. It will probably be enough for him to skate on these charges.

His hearing is on Block Island, after all, and while he may not live there or even be much liked there, his family owns so much of the island that it gives them a certain amount of leverage.

Being a pessimist, especially when it comes to expecting justice to come out of the political process, I don’t expect the Board of Canvassers to rule against Filippi.

I truly believe Flip lives a charmed life and that his shiny suits are made of Teflon. 

For more than two years, he has pulled the wool over the eyes of District 36 voters as well as the statewide media with the illusion that he is a thoughtful, innovative legislator who cares about people and is accomplishing great things.

The facts say otherwise. Filippi’s main priority since he emerged on the political scene has been to get himself in the media. Woe to anyone who stands between him and a TV camera.

He has virtually no accomplishments to show for his two years at the General Assembly, although he and his fans at the Charlestown Citizens Alliance often give Filippi credit for achievements by other Representatives.

Here’s a guy where you can’t even be sure he’s telling the truth about where he lives. Yet he is running unopposed and seems to be invincible.

Thus my almost non-existent expectations for the Monday hearing. Maybe I’ll be shown wrong, but I doubt it.