PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - Providence Mayor Angel Taveras called the findings of a Target 12 investigation into the Department of Public Works administration "outrageous" and "maddening," and has vowed to hold those involved accountable.
Taveras has already terminated DPW Director Paul Thomas and suspended Fiscal Advisor David Pontarelli without pay pending an internal investigation.
"What I saw was outrageous unacceptable and I won't stand for it," Taveras said moments after viewing the findings from the investigation. "I can understand why a lot of your viewers are going to be very upset to see it. Well they should know the mayor is upset as well."
The investigation revealed Pontarelli was spending time checking in on his second job as marketing manager at a popular night club, dining with friends and running errands during regular DPW hours.
The investigation also revealed that on several occasions Pontarelli would come into work late after an event at the nightclub and leave early. On those days, undercover video shows him going into the club on DPW hours then running errands at several banks and often heading back home early.
The investigation also showed Pontarelli - a high-ranking member of the DPW - used two traffic lights and several streets signs for decorations inside the nightclub.
The equipment was returned to the DPW less than 24 hours after WPRI 12 tried to question Pontarelli.
Taveras said city residents can expect a time of transition at the DPW in the wake of the WPRI 12 report.
"[There will be] new leadership and people in place that understand what's acceptable and what's not acceptable," Taveras said. "Lending out equipment from the city for personal use? There is absolutely no reason for it, it's unacceptable."
While Pontarelli refused to comment, his lawyer Michael Lepizzera sent an email stating a "complete picture of Mr. Pontarelli's employment with the city demonstrates that he was and still is a very valuable asset for the city"
He said Pontarelli has "spent countless hours working for the city during … off-hours," and "fiscally managed the DPW budget in the black all five years."
Lepizzera also said Pontarelli is technically working two jobs for the city including fiscal advisor and the vacant associate director of environmental services. He said Ponterelli is hoping to continue his work with the city.
The lawyer's statement did not dispute the actions in the Target 12 video or reference the city equipment that was at the nightclub Pontarelli manages.
Copyright WPRI 12
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