Yes, the New Year started with a bang at the Other Paper thanks to ace investigative reporter Mike Stanton getting his clammy mitts on a 1998 internal review of Urciuoli’s free-spending ways. The hospital honcho remains under scrutiny for his involvement with former state Senator John “My Sharona” Celona, who has pleaded guilty to charges related to an influence-peddling investigation.
P&J’s favorite part of Stanton’s January 1 story in the Sunday BeloJo was the eight-day $5998 trip that Bobby-boy took with his family (and charged to Roger Williams) to the exclusive Princess Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Bobby had booked the trip to attend a “Health Care Issues of the 90s” conference that, apparently, was a figment of his imagination. When it was discovered that the conference never took place, Bobby explained he was so consumed by his efforts to secure a merger with Columbia/HCA, he thought a conference was taking place. That’s the spirit!
That Urciuoli was not really punished for his profligate ways underscores the adage that big shots are reluctant to punish other big shots. The executive committee that heard the report on Bobby-boy’s behavior included such fellow big shots as former lieutenant.governor Richard “Little Richit” Licht and Herbert Cummings, the retired president of Citizens Bank of Rhode Island. The general response would seem to be par for the course, especially if that course was Pebble Beach, Augusta National, or St. Andrews.
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HALITOSIS HALL
What keeps P&J smiling in the face of the worst and most devious presidency in history is the lunacy and folly that is a guaranteed part of a fresh legislative session at the General Assembly. Talk about making our job easy. A Halitosis Hall session is like being supplied with material from a team of crack comedy writers, even though much of the content reads like fiction, or science fiction.
Governor Carcieri and the House and Senate leadership usually speak during the holiday season about how they will be making nice this year. Aah, don’t buy it, that’s just the eggnog talking. This year is the equivalent of pouring gasoline on an already raging fire. Why? It’s an election year for everybody! All the legislative and general state offices are up for dibs in November, and many candidates will be shaking like whores in church as they cast critical votes, wondering how their constituencies — or in the case of many legislators, their leaders — will react.
The political battles will be so vicious that we can see Guy Dufault making a major comeback as far as attracting clients. You can bet that the other media stalwarts hereabouts, including the fiercest and most-feared journalist at the State House, the lovely Kathy “Faster, Pussycat, Kill, Kill” Gregg, are all letting out loud whinnies at the prospects of actual fistfights in the corridors on Smith Hill. Let’s get ready to ruuummmmbbbbblllle!
We love to hear about energy costs being a concern as National Grid (previously Narragansett Electric) goes before the Public Utilities Commission for greater than 15 percent rate increases every time the sun comes up in the East. Likewise the conundrum of a massive budget shortage combined with talk of cutting the state income and sales tax at the upper margin. Hmmm.