PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — After disappearing from the State House for nearly two months, state Rep. Carlos Tobon has made it official: he won’t seek re-election.

The Pawtucket Democrat missed the deadline to declare his candidacy this week, meaning he’s ineligible to hold onto his seat unless he mounts a successful write-in campaign.

Tobon, who was first elected in 2014, stopped showing up for the final seven weeks of the legislative session following a Target 12 investigation examining his financial and business dealings that aired May 5.

Tobon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment after the deadline to declare Wednesday evening. Kenneth McGill, who heads the Pawtucket Department of Elections and Voter Registration, confirmed he did not declare.

Target 12’s original report detailed a long list of people — many of them immigrants — who said they got burned doing business with Tobon over the years. Many of the disputes happened while he was serving in the General Assembly, where he served for several years on the powerful House Finance Committee.

The investigation revealed:

• Tobon had racked up tens of thousands of dollars in personal debt, which he’s repeatedly failed to disclose to the state Ethics Commission as required by law.

• Tobon had been hauled into court at least seven times since 2016 for allegedly failing to repay money he owed; just last month, a judge ordered him to pay a debt of over $45,000 dating back 17 years.

• Tobon had helped incorporate a string of LLCs that had their registrations revoked for not filing annual reports; one was fined by the state for operating without a license.

• Tobon had consistently listed his home address on official forms as 30 Bloomingdale Ave., but he actually lives at a different property in his district.

Following the Target 12 investigation, Tobon resigned from his committee appointments but stayed on as a lawmaker, earning his nearly $17,000 per year salary plus health insurance during that time. Yet he stopped showing up for legislative sessions.

Separately, the R.I. Ethics Commission earlier this month launched an investigation into Tobon to determine whether he violated the state’s Code of Ethics. Based on the Target 12 report, the Rhode Island Republican Party filed the ethics complaint that spurred the investigation, alleging Tobon repeatedly violated state law when he failed to list personal debt on his annual disclosure forms.

“Rep. Carlos Tobon has repeatedly violated the Rhode Island Code of Ethics and should be held accountable for his actions,” Rhode Island GOP chairwoman Sue Cienki said in a statement after filing the complaint.

House Speaker Joe Shekarchi also revamped legislative rules in light of the Target 12 report to bar State House lawyers from representing legislators in personal matters. Target 12 revealed State House attorney John Manni was defending Tobon in a lawsuit against him.

Despite disappearing from the public’s eye, Tobon has been working behind the scenes to clean up some of the messiness surrounding his personal finances, legal problems and business dealings.

He changed his voter registration to list his actual home on Lawn Avenue as his residence rather than his parents’ home on Bloomingdale Avenue, and submitted several years of amended ethics filings.

Tobon also settled at least one of his largest legal issues. A childhood friend had sued him, alleging she wasn’t paid back tens of thousands of dollars on a loan she made to Tobon more than a decade ago. Tobon used his parents’ home as collateral on the loan, which his childhood friend claimed was fraud.

“The case has been settled,” the friend’s attorney, Michael Garland, told Target 12 in an email. “As you might expect, Mr. Tobon requested (and my client agreed) that the terms of the settlement agreement will remain confidential. The Superior Court case has been dismissed with prejudice.”

It remains unclear whether Tobon has addressed some of his other problems, however, including several limited liability companies that he created over the years, used to conduct business and couldn’t remember if he’d paid taxes on. It also appears at least one other lawsuit against him remains open.

Tobon has not responded to requests for comment since the Target 12 investigation came out, but in an interview for that report, he acknowledged mistakes while insisting he never sought to deceive anyone.

“As politicians, we are not perfect,” he said. “I’m human.”

Eli Sherman ( is a Target 12 investigative reporter for 12 News. Connect with him on Twitter and on Facebook.

Ted Nesi ( is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook

Tim White ( 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.