How Rhode Island Is Spending Its $500M Google Settlement

Dec 23, 2013

It’s been almost two years since five Rhode Island law enforcement agencies received a financial windfall from the Google settlement. Google was forced to pay a $500 million fine for illegally selling drugs to Americans without a prescription.  About half of the money was returned to the Rhode Island law enforcement agencies that investigated and tried the case.  How the three largest recipients are spending the money.

The biggest Google winners were the police departments in East Providence and North Providence as well as the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office.  Each agency received $60 million.

East Providence has spent almost all of the money shoring up its police pension plan.  They also replaced two thirds of their cruisers. East Providence police Chief Joseph Tavares said retirees are much more financially secure as a result.

"I can tell you it’s a lot healthier with this injection of nearly $50 million. It was underfunded. We gave the maximum amount of money the federal government allowed us to and it has brought the pension plan to a point where those retirees who put in a career will have that money available to them," said Taveras.

North Providence took a similar approach. It spent roughly $22 million on shoring up its police pension plan. North Providence has $38 million left.

The least amount of money has been spent by the Attorney General’s office. They’ve shelled out just over $3 million. The single largest expenditure is for a study to examine ways to improve the efficiency of the office, with an eye toward bringing it into the 21st century technologically.

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