Rhode Island gubernatorial candidate Patricia Morgan is criticizing GOP rival Allan Fung after WPRI-TV reported that Fung's campaign wound up not paying developer Carpionato Group rent for its campaign headquarters at Chapel View in 2016.
Fung's campaign spokesman, Andrew Augustus, told WPRI that the Carpionato Group did not cash rent checks written by Fung's campaign for the period in question. Augustus said the campaign is making a renewed effort to pay uncashed rent payments from 2014 and 2016.
Morgan charged that the situation amounts to Fung accepting illegal campaign contributions from a business that has sought administrative actions from his mayoral administration in Cranston.
"Rhode Islanders are tired of this sort of shadiness and we reject it," Morgan said in a statement. "I call on the Rhode Island Board of Elections and the Rhode Island State Police to launch comprehensive investigations into the potential criminal behavior committed by Mayor Fung in this scheme."
Augustus called Morgan's comments "a desperate cry for attention from a desperate candidate who is desperately flailing around to have someone -- anyone -- talk about her desperate campaign."
A Carpionato spokesman told WPRI some of the past rent checks from 2016 had a note saying they were "held" because Fung's campaign had made some repairs to the campaign office after a leak.
In a statement, Gov. Gina Raimondo said, “Mayor Fung’s failure to pay rent for his campaign office and his improper reporting of several other campaign transactions points to a pattern of corruption. The Board of Elections needs to get to the bottom of this, because there are a lot of questions that need to be answered. At the very least, it’s clear that Mayor Fung is incompetent when it comes to his campaign's finances. If he can’t even manage his campaign's finances, it’s no wonder Cranston is in distress.”
Asked for comment, Augustus told RIPR, "Anything from Governor Raimondo talking about competency should run in the Onion or be featured by the Ocean State Follies."
Joe Trillo, a former Republican running for governor as an independent, follow Morgan in criticized Fung about the situation.
“For Allan Fung to think he can outsmart the Rhode Island Board of Elections, and pay little to no rent for the past 3 election cycles, is no surprise to me," Trillo said in a statement. "Allan Fung now claims there was an oversight in the paperwork his campaign filed, and thinks that everything he does should be forgiven. Guess what, we’re not forgiving him on this one. The only thing Allan Fung is sorry for, is that he got caught."
The Democratic Governors Association sent a news release Thursday with excerpts from WPRI's story.
This report has been updated.