Months after an undercover Target 12 investigation showed …
Updated: Monday, 11 May 2009, 11:11 AM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 28 Jan 2009, 6:26 PM EST
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - TRANSCRIPT FROM TIM WHITE'S TARGET 12 INVESTIGATION "DOWN THE DRAIN."
A two-month Target 12 investigation into the Providence Sewer Department shows your tax dollars going "down the drain."
Our undercover cameras capture workers using city vehicles for personal use, even using city equipment and materials at a sewer foreman's house.
Tim White: This is a city backhoe leaving the yard after picking
up sand here?
Algot Abrahamson: Yeah.
Tim White: And it's being delivered to this house? Do you know whose house that is?
Algot Abrahamson: No, I do not.
Tim White: That's your foreman’s house. That man sitting right there.
At a time when cities and towns are watching every dime, you'll be surprised to see what we found.
Our assignment was straight-forward: monitor the workers at the sewer department. What we uncover? Several workers on a crooked path of policy abuse and, possible theft.
On our very first day of surveillance - we watch as a city sewer worker loads the bucket of a backhoe with sand.
Not unusual - until we followed where it went.
Pulling out of the Providence Department of Public Works yard, the driver weaves the backhoe through the streets of Providence, at a time when school buses are picking up kids.
Two-point-five miles later, it stops in front of 42 Carter Street. A place it shouldn’t be going. With Target 12 cameras rolling, we watch the driver get out, and another city worker get behind the wheel. The backhoe dumps the sand then:
"Yeah he's got the pads down and he's digging..."
After ten minutes of work, the backhoe again changes hands. A quick pat on the back, a handshake, and the driver takes off.
In checking public records, Target 12 finds 42 Carter street belongs to Anthony Greenwood. Who's he? You're looking at him.
According to payroll records, Greenwood is a foreman with the sewer department. Caught on tape using a city truck to do work at his own house. More on Greenwood later.
Let's talk about the man who was driving the backhoe.
His name - Anthony Cipriano, Jr. Records show Cipriano is a heavy equipment operator for the sewer department, and a shop steward for the local 1033 laborer's union. We also caught him misusing a city truck.
Target 12 cameras capture Cipriano miles away from work, running errands in city trucks for hours; all against city policy.
We catch him: twice taking the city truck into Cranston to pick something up from his second job at a security firm; stopping at a Cranston bank;and several times driving to a North Providence hair salon and staying for more than an hour.
On this day, Cipriano arrives at work at 10:30 in the morning. Two hours later, he leaves and arrives at a Cranston dentist's office. More than an hour later, he departs.
Thinking he's heading back to work, we get in front of him. We're wrong.
"Oh Burger king... Burger king."
Apparently, now it's lunch time.
On this five-hour work day, Cipriano spends nearly two hours on personal business.
After some prodding, the city provided the Target 12 Investigators with time cards for every city sewer employee.
The documents prove while Cipriano was out and about in a city truck, the clock was ticking on the taxpayer's dime.
Now back to the foreman, Anthony Greenwood.
When we last saw him, he was using a city backhoe at his own house.
According to the time cards, he shouldn't have even been operating the equipment. He was on vacation.
Our undercover unit often found Greenwood, and a city truck, at his Carter street house.
"Yeah that truck’s running."
Sometimes for hours on end.
This day jumping a van in his front yard. Another day driving all the way to a Johnston sandwich shop and checking a Johnston mailbox.
Target 12 obtained a memo sent to all DPW employees, reminding them of a very clear policy.
"City owned vehicles are provided for the use of city employees to perform official duties only. Not to be used for personal errands or for travel outside the city of Providence."
Never mind the city. We follow this city truck to a Massachusetts liquor store.
"Thanks for parking under the sign."
After months of undercover work, Target 12 pays a visit to the sewer department. The first person we run into?
Tim White: "Mr. Greenwood?"
Tim White: "Tim White from Channel 12..."
Tim White: "You had a load of sand delivered to your house using
city equipment, city guy, city sand."
Greenwood: "Load of sand?"
Tim White: "We have it on tape."
Sewer department supervisor Algot Abrahamson then enters the room. We show him our surveillance photos.
Tim White: "This is a city backhoe leaving the yard after
picking up sand here."
Tim White: "And it’s being delivered to this house. Do you
know whose house that is?"
Abrahamson: "No, I do not."
Tim White: "That’s your foreman’s house, that man sitting right there."
Next, we lay out photos of Cipriano using city vehicles for personal business outside Providence.
Tim White: "Do you know what that is? That's his second job. Taking a city truck to a second job."
Cipriano wasn't available for questioning.
Abrahamson: "Pertaining to this, I have no knowledge of it, a
picture doesn't necessarily mean..."
Tim White: "You don't think I'd be making this stuff up."
Abrahamson: "No, no. I'm not saying that. What I'm saying is a picture doesn't convince me there is any wrongdoing here, you'd have to speak to the director. I know the men, they are two of the best workers I have."
Tim White: "I appreciate you standing by your guys, but you have to look at this stuff, and it's got to turn your stomach a little bit, this is your shop."
Abrahamson: "Yeah, well, I guess I’m responsible for a certain amount of it, yes. I have so many guys, I can't follow everybody everyday."
Tim White: "Mr. Greenwood, tell me again. You think it’s
ok for someone to take a backhoe to your house and do work there?"
Greenwood: "If they are throwing stuff away, and I asked for permission for the old broken cement they are dumping into the hole."
But take a *closer* look at the video. No chunks of cement here.
The bucket is carrying fine cement sand.
We learned, it's used to make concrete; special sand, the city purchased.
Greenwood: "I'm filling in a hole. That’s what I'm doing."
White: "Mr. Abrahamson, really, seriously? That's ok?"
Abrahamson: "Like I said I don't know the circumstances. Again, I will tell the director everything I know. I am sure you will too and we'll leave it up to his discretion."
Late this afternoon, we learned DPW Director John Nickelson conducted an investigation based on our findings. Anthony Cipriano, Jr. and foreman Anthony Greenwood have both been suspended, without pay.
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