In her own words

Shugrue on being 'caught on tape'
By  |  May 24, 2006

This is the complete and unedited text of a statement released by Karen Shugrue:

I am the former leasing agent at Rising Sun Mills. Without professing that I am in any way innocent, I am the victim of “Caught on tape,” the recent clandestine video recording which took place at Rising Sun Mills without my knowledge or consent. I have never felt more apologetic, humiliated, or regretful over something I have said.

My job has been to facilitate the lives of our community members, to ensure that people feel secure and to maintain the occupancy of apartments. I have given this position my all and successfully helped to create a very diverse community of people from all over the world who share different cultures and backgrounds. Most have relocated here to work in our city or to attend our Universities. These are creative people who enrich our city, engage themselves in the local community and contribute to our economy.  Rising Sun Mills is unique in that it houses a significant group enlightened and tolerant residents, all of whom I consider friends. It is with much regret that I have lost my job and a position that has allowed me to interact so closely with this part of the Olneyville Community.

 Until a few weeks ago, I had little idea of any regional conflict that existed regarding gentrification and industrial mill conversions. The constraints of my former position have unfortunately not allowed me the time to engage in the larger neighborhood. I came here with a respect for historic preservation and all the work that has been done to rehabilitate old structures in Providence, something for which Providence is known nationally and many other cities are trying to emulate. As someone who has worked in historic preservation for most of my career, I came in with a respect for Armory and all the work they have done to rehabilitate old structures in Providence. That being said, I regret that I received little formal training for my position, as I had to step into a position that had been vacated. I was certainly not made aware of any protocol regarding a conflict that has apparently been brewing for a long time, and I would hope that they do a better job educating future employees of the real issues of gentrification that exist in the community.

In my own judgment, part of my job required me to make people feel safe and comfortable at Rising Sun Mills. It is no coincidence that the videographers who in their deception posed as “professionals from Cambridge who wanted to move to Providence,” walked away with the sound bites they wanted to hear after an hour-long tour. Fear of crime, drugs and a blighted community were what I’ve had to address repeatedly regarding the neighborhood. What I said sounded stupid and came through with the self-realization that this seemingly class-conscious couple from Cambridge would not want to live here. My comments were meant to be more dismissive than cruel. My words were certainly not reflective of my experience working at Armory Revival Co. and I sincerely apologize for the harm I have caused them. As an employee, I understand that my actions were a reflection on Armory. However, I never would have worked for them if their values in any way reflected the accusations that have been leveled against the company.  Those who know me within the RSM community know that I am anything but racist, class conscience, uncompassionate or dishonorable.  

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