Saturday, September 02, 2017
Governor Gina Raimondo is calling for an investigation into the bankruptcy of the St. Joseph pension fund.
Raimondo, when interviewed by GoLocal this week, was asked if there needs to be an independent investigation. She said, “That is a question for the Attorney General. I know the legislature is asking for an investigation and I support that. Because these people deserve to know what happened, something happened.”
“It is too early to say (if there was financial wrong doing). It is very disappointing. It is a private pension fund, no governmental involvement. These are people depending on their pensions. Hard working nurses…two, three years ago they were told it was well funded and all of the sudden the money is gone,” said Raimondo. “So, I don’t know what happened. We need to get to the bottom of it, it’s too soon to say what may have happened.”
The Governor has been nearly silent over the first two weeks since GoLocal unveiled the largest pension collapse in Rhode Island history.
A week ago, Speaker of the House Nick Mattiello called for an independent investigation and many others joined the call.
Raimondo did not call for Kilmartin to step aside. GoLocal reported last week that a number of state leaders called for Kilmartin to step aside and that an independent investigator should be appointed to look into the bankruptcy of the St. Joseph Health Services pension fund.
The collapse affects nearly 3,000 retirees and workers and looks to be the largest pension fund collapse in Rhode Island history.
United Nurses and Allied Professionals (UNAP) general counsel Christopher Callaci released the following statement to GoLocalProv on Friday. “As we’ve said, we agree with the Senate President’s suggestion that there should be an investigation. We have the greatest respect for the career prosecutors and staff in the Office of Attorney General. However, given that the office played a pivotal role in allowing this deal to move forward in 2014, we believe it is in the best interest of our members and retirees if an independent party led any such investigation. Either way, we intend to continue pursuing what factors led to the pension funds insolvency,” said Callaci.
Former Attorney General Arlene Violet, said in an interview with GoLocal that Kilmartin’s involvement in any investigation of St. Joseph Health Services pension fund “creates the appearance of a conflict of interest. Kilmartin needs to step aside.”
Others calling for an independent review and for Kilmartin to step aside include Ted Siedle, Cranston and Mayor Allan Fung. Senate President Dominick Ruggerio has called for an investigation, but has refused to call for Kilmartin to step aside.
At the time of the agreement to sell St. Joseph to CharterCARE in 2014, Kilmartin said, “The transacting parties have worked diligently to provide regulators with the necessary documentation and information throughout this review process to make this decision, a decision I believe is in the best interest of Rhode Island’s healthcare marketplace, the community, the employees, and most importantly, the patients.”
Kilmartin said in his statement, “Conducting a hospital conversion review requires the commitment of a substantial amount of resources for the Office of Attorney General. I commend my staff for the time and careful consideration put into this review process.”
Del Sesto’s Role as Receiver
Receiver Stephen Del Sesto told GoLocal on Friday, “As receiver, I am an independent fiduciary and part of my role is to investigate if there a claims, and who they are against.”
“I will be doing that…It won’t just be me, if there are claims then an attorney will be appointed to work on behalf of me.”
Del Sesto said he is asked for thousands of pages of documents and the parties involved have been responsive. “There is a lot that raises an eyebrow. I have not seen the smoking gun yet. We are only two weeks in.”
Also, Del Sesto told GoLocal that he briefed Senate President Ruggerio on the situation on Friday and has extended the offer to Mattiello.
Hearing this case will be Superior Court Judge Brian Stern. He was appointed to the court by then Governor Don Carcieri. According to Martindale, Stern is a 1988 graduate of Clark University and a 1991 grad of Brooklyn School of Law. He did not pass the Rhode Island bar, but was admitted in other states.