38 Studios Contractor Ordered to Install Equipment in Fox’s Crony’s Bar
Wednesday, May 07, 2014
Project manager Michael Rossi with SyNet, Inc. has revealed a budget for work which he says shows at $25,000 line item for work to be done at Corso's Tazza Cafe in 2011 -- under a job order for the failed 38 Studios.
Warwick-based SyNet bills itself as "the premier design-build low voltage contractor of structured cabling, access control, surveillance and audio visual systems in the Northeast."
Representative Mike Chippendale, Senior Deputy Minority Leader and Secretary of House Oversight who is leading the investigation into 38 Studios along with Rep. Karen MacBeth, told GoLocal, "[Rossi] has hit a number of things on the head, things he wouldn't have been able to have known otherwise. He was able to validate some things, and the State Police has said they have determined the [budget] document has credibility."
"We're moving in the right direction," said Chipendale, who along with Macbeth have both been the target of mail threats in the past month. "We've kicked the hornets' nest."
38 Studios Work
Rossi said when he was working at SyNet, he was aware the 38 Studios work could be a possibility. "When my boss called me to say we got the project, that I was going to oversee the [network infrastructure] work, I thought, "Wow...38 Studios. This is big."
"As soon as I started working, they told me to order cable right away," continued Rossi. "I didn't have a permit. Arguments went back and forth. I walk out, I say I don't have a budget, I'm not doing it. I get berated by my boss to get back on the job. Next day, I get the budget, I'm back on the site -- and there are walls up already, with no permits pulled."
"I'm changing everything on job -- these were all no bids. Nappa construction picked Rossi Electric. I realize the job can't be done the way it's designed," said Rossi. "The money was getting kicked back in the form of goods and services to Corso and Fox. I said I'm not doing this. I knew I was getting set up for jail with this. I went out on sick leave, I was done."
Joyce Strause with SyNet told GoLocal, "SyNet has fully and wholly cooperated with the Rhode Island Attorney General Patrick Young regarding the investigation surrounding 38 Studios and has no further comment at this time."
Rhode Island State Police Colonel Steven O'Donnell told GoLocal on Wednesday that there has been an "ongoing investigation by the state police into Michael Corso." When asked for further details, O'Donnell said, "With the investigation, I can't comment further on the matter at this time."
Chippendale said he was unsure if Rossi be testifying before the House Oversight Committee. "We're not a criminal investigatory body -- if it aids us with the procedural, then we will use it."
"The State Police did say [today] that this information did come to them years ago," said Chippendale. "It's a shame to think that something like this had to spur the process, but at the end of the day, I'm happy they're looking into it."
Related Slideshow: Fox Scandal: Facts and Rumors
FBI and IRS Agents Are Focused on Campaign Financing Reports
The State of Rhode Island has regulatory and enforcement authority over the use of campaign finance funds.
While the IRS could be looking at improper use of campaign funds - it is not the core focus of the federal investigation.
As state campaign documents state:
Any person who undertakes any action whether preliminary or final which is necessary under the law to qualify for nomination for or election to public office which would include receiving a contribution or making any expenditure or giving his/her consent for any other person to receive a contribution or make an expenditure to bring about his/her nomination or election to any public office even if such office is unknown at the time is subject to the RI campaign finance laws.
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