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6/8/2023 Sen. Bell issues statement on released Scout email
STATE HOUSE – Sen. Samuel W. Bell (D-Dist. 5, Providence) is appalled by the revelations of state officials’ behavior towards Scout, the contractor for the Cranston Street Armory redevelopment. 

“Extortion from state contractors is wrong.  No public official should extort items such as alcohol, vegan cheese, hand-blown glass, a pair of sneakers, and a private meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant that had to be opened specially for the occasion.  No state contractor should have to hear the words, ‘you can call in a favor if you want $55 million’ used to justify any of these requests.  Nor is it appropriate to make the comments that were made about the Asian-American community,” said Senator Bell Thursday.

“Scout did the right thing by reporting this behavior,” continued Senator Bell.  “I sincerely hope that their decision to properly report this impropriety had nothing to do with the McKee Administration’s surprise decision to not propose funding for this project through a GBA.  Scout’s initial opening of the Armory was slated to begin in December with World Cup viewings.  Although the neighborhood graciously accepted a delay to host a large facility to provide temporary shelter to our homeless neighbors, the project was on track before Scout chose to report the extortion.  In fact, the Administration had already signed a contract with Scout that committed significant amounts of state money to Scout.  I expected to see a funding ask through a GBA.  None was forthcoming.  We must also consider the appearance of impropriety.  It sends the wrong message if funding for a project suddenly does not appear when a vendor chooses to report extortion by an administration official through the appropriate channels.  It is critical that potential state contractors know they will be treated fairly.  State contractors need to know that they are not breaking any unwritten rules if they report extortion, and they will not receive any retaliation if they speak up about impropriety.”

For more information, contact:
Andrew Caruolo, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903