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Auditor general, Convention Center GM testify before grand jury on Day 2

Politics

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) – The state auditor general was among those who have been called to testify before a grand jury examining a controversial audit of the R.I. Convention Center ordered by Speaker Nicholas Mattiello.

Dennis Hoyle appeared before the statewide grand jury seated at the Kent County Courthouse in Warwick on Wednesday, day two of testimony on the matter. Hoyle declined to comment when he emerged from the room.

State Auditor General Dennis Hoyle leaves the Kent County Courthouse

Also appearing to testify was Convention Center General Manager Larry Lepore. He too declined to comment.

The grand jury began hearing testimony Monday, first calling R.I. Convention Center Authority executive director Jim McCarvill, whose quasi-public agency oversees the Convention Center, Dunkin’ Donuts Center and Veterans Memorial Auditorium in Providence.

McCarvill testified for more than two hours on Monday, telling reporters afterward that a large part of the conversation – which is kept secret unless witnesses decide to divulge information publicly – was related to the circumstances around why Mattiello ordered a so-called performance audit of the Convention Center in December.

The audit was ordered at the same time that a friend of Mattiello’s, Convention Center security director James Demers, was the subject of a personnel investigation also involving another top executive there, Amanda Marzullo Wilmouth.

Mattiello has repeatedly denied the audit was ordered in retaliation over the Demers matter.

McCarvill said he was asked “if there were personnel issues driving the decision for an audit and what was our perception for being asked to — or ordered — to do an audit,” McCarvill said. “The timing is really curious. You have an issue and then something happened that hasn’t happened in 25 years.”

Paul MacDonald, a union leader and Convention Center board member, was also expected to testify Monday afternoon. He declined to say what he was asked about.

Two members of Mattiello’s inner circle have also been subpoenaed, including the speaker’s chief of staff, Leo Skenyon, and the head of the General Assembly’s administrative arm, Frank Montanaro Jr. Mattiello has not been subpoenaed.

Separately on Wednesday, an attorney for Wilmouth confirmed that she and ASM Global, the company that operates the Convention Center, “have amicably parted ways.” He declined further comment.

Tim White (twhite@wpri.com) is the Target 12 managing editor and chief investigative reporter at 12 News, and the host of Newsmakers. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.

Eli Sherman (esherman@wpri.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter for WPRI 12. Follow him on Twitter

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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