NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) - The mayor of North Providence says he has no regrets after being caught on tape unleashing an expletive-laced tirade at a firefighter and ordering him to wax a fire truck as punishment for allegedly insulting the mayor's family.
Mayor Charles Lombardi said he was unaware he was being recorded at the time but said he felt he acted appropriately.
On the recording Lombardi is heard screaming at the firefighter, who he identified as Thomas Guibealt.
"Don't let my name roll out of your mouth," Lombardi says on the tape. "[Because] the next time that happens you're going to have a serious headache."
"Now if you have a personal problem with me then you and I can go outside and discuss this," he continued.
Lombardi confirmed the voice on the recording is his and said the incident took place in the spring of 2011 at the North Providence fire headquarters. He said he called the meeting with the firefighter and fire Chief Leonard Albanese, as well as a battalion chief and an officer working with Guibealt.
Only Lombardi and Guibealt are heard on the tape.
The mayor said he learned from a third party that an employee who works at his son's auto body shop was told he was not welcome at a North Providence bar because "he works for the Lombardi's."
"You or anybody else is not going to tell anybody you're not wanted in here because you work for the Lombardi's," Lombardi says on the tape. "My [expletive] reputation and my family's reputation is unquestionable ... un-[expletive]-questionable."
On the tape the firefighter denies the allegations.
"Do not, let my name roll out of your mouth in that drunken saloon you got up there that you hang out in," the mayor says on the recording. "If you're not happy with this job because of the way I operate, we have a [expletive] stack of applications this high, leave!"
On the recording Guibealt tells the mayor he's happy with his job.
"You're happy, Ok then, keep your mouth shut," Lombardi says on the tape. "This is a great job. You hit the [expletive] jackpot."
Toward the end of the confrontation, the mayor orders the firefighter – who was on the clock at the time – to clean one of the trucks.
"So being that your mouth is so [expletive] busy, by the way, and so active, I did you a favor today," the mayor says on the tape with the sound of a bag rustling in the background. "You see? I bought you this wax. When you leave here you go wax that [expletive] spare pumper over there. OK? And I'll be back and 4:30 to see how good you did."
The recording was sent anonymously to Target 12 in a recent email.The sender did not respond to repeated attempts to contact them.
Contacted by phone, Guibealt did not want to comment if he was the one recording the conversation and directed all questions to a union lawyer.
Attorney Edward Roy said they were "investigating how to handle the situation and because of that we will not have any comment."
Mayor Lombardi said the incident took place 14 months ago and was surprised that it was surfacing now.
"At that point and time we were going through very very difficult times, the firefighters and myself because of the closure of the fire house," Lombardi said. "Based on what I know and what's happening in the department and this office right now, things seem to be rolling along pretty good."
In January 2010 the mayor closed the Geneva firehouse on Douglas Avenue in North Providence. The firefighters union was unsuccessful in their legal attempt to block the closure.
Target 12 played the recording for Lombardi in his town hall office on Thursday. After listening to the tape, he said he was "happy" the way he handled it.
When asked if making the firefighter wax a truck was demeaning, he said he thought it was the right thing to do.
"You talk about my family then I am going to ask you to make sure you do your job," Lombardi said."And part of his job is waxing trucks."
The mayor called the confrontation a "unique situation" and said he does not interact with town employees like that regularly.
"If you question my family's integrity then you're going to have your hands full," Lombardi said. "As I stated in the tape 'if you have a problem with me personally, let's talk about it.' I don't have a problem with that. You're not going to talk about my family. It's as simple as that."
The mayor said he did not return to confirm if the fire truck had been waxed but was informed by one of the chiefs that the firefighter had completed the task.
Copyright Target 12
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