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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The continuing search for Flip Filippi's true home

Filippi’s candidate’s declaration raises more questions about where he really lives
By Will Collette

Filippi, right, poses with Charlestown's other wingnut Charlestown
General Assembly rep, Senator Elaine Morgan. Looks like they're
making a hazardous waste delivery (from Morgan's Facebook page)
Blake Filippi is running unopposed for a second term as state Representative for District 36 which includes all of Charlestown and Block Island, as well as parts of South Kingstown and Westerly.

Our peripatetic state Representative Blake Filippi manages to be an independent by declaration, a Republican in practice and a Charlestown Citizens Alliance (CCA Party) acolyte in all respects.

He also claims to be a cattle rancher in Lincoln, an active lawyer in Providence and a manager of a growing chain of hotels, restaurants and night spots on Block Island and still has time to be a state representative.

However, he has not had the time to clear up all the questions that have been raised about where he actually lives. Once again, as in 2014, there is no simple answer to the simple question of "Where do you live?".

While the reaction in 2014 was “Meh,” this year there is more official and media interest in whether a politician lives where he claims to live triggered by the Rep. John Carnevale scandal.

So where does Blake Filippi claim to live this year? According to Block Island Town Clerk Molly Fitzpatrick:
“Blake Filippi is currently a registered voter in New Shoreham.  I have attached a copy of his declaration of candidacy.”
You can read Filippi’s declaration HERE. This is where he claims he lives:

Yet one month earlier, Charlestown tax assessor records show Filippi as a new Charlestown property owner with his address listed as the same as the property he bought at 17 Josephine Drive.

Usually, when a property owner is a non-resident, their address on their property tax listing is their actual address. This was the way we found out that over60% of the funding for the Charlestown Citizens Alliance comes from people who don’t live in Charlestown - their actual home addresses were listed in their Charlestown property file.

Here’s a screen shot from the Charlestown Tax Assessor database showing the Filippi Charlestown residence:

It's an actual house, though not the kind you'd expect for a young hotel tycoon to occupy:

However, if you check out Flip’s claimed address of 74 West Side Road on Block Island, this is what you get:


That 74 West Side Road address (above) shows up on Filippi’s most recent financial disclosure report to the RI Ethics Commission as one of the family’s LLCs:

Note that the instructions say you should not list “real estate that is used exclusively as your principal residence, at any time during 2015.” Mr. Filippi is a lawyer and presumably knows how to read and follow instructions on forms, so why did he list this as a real estate investment here on his Ethics Disclosure form, but as his home address on his candidate’s declaration?

That kind of inconsistency is exactly the kind that caused Rep. John Carnevale his current troubles.

In 2014, the state Board of Elections would not accept charges against Filippi for falsely claiming to live on Block Island when more than a dozen official documents showed him living at his mother’s estate in Lincoln. 

The BOE told complainant Rep. Donna Walsh that the BOE will only act on challenges to a candidate’s legitimacy to run if they are filed within 24 hours of their declaration, a requirement that BOE Director Robert Kando admitted was a near impossibility.

Kando suggested raising the issue with the town Board of Canvassers, in this case New Shoreham, which is what I have done this year.

Oddly, Filippi’s own official State House website contradicts his claim to be a “life-long South County Resident.”

Unless he gets disqualified (a very long shot) none of this may matter since Filippi has no opponent in the General Election.

We can look forward to two more years of Filippi-centered media events, crackpot schemes to amend the Rhode Island Constitution and no legislative achievements that actually improve the lives of residents of the 36th House District.