Rhode Island Investigates ‘Disturbing’ Habits on Official Journey


It was a primary alternative for a Philadelphia developer that had received a contract for a $55 million venture in Windfall, R.I., to point out off what it might do.

However even earlier than two Rhode Island state officers arrived for a tour of a constructing that the corporate had redeveloped, considered one of them made some extremely unorthodox calls for.

“Please have recent espresso (with milk and sugar) and one of the best croissant in Philadelphia prepared for me upon arrival,” the official, David Patten, the director of the Rhode Island Division of Capital Asset Administration and Upkeep, wrote in a textual content message to officers on the agency, Scout, that he despatched at midnight earlier than the tour, the developer later recounted in an electronic mail.

“Director Thorsen likes Eating regimen Coke,” Mr. Patten added, referring to his colleague James E. Thorsen, who was director of the Rhode Island Division of Administration. “Have a chilly six pack ready on the desk in your convention room. You could have three hours to persuade us to offer you $55M.”

The textual content message foreshadowed what was to come back: “a collection of weird, offensive and unprofessional actions” by Mr. Patten that surprised the developer and infuriated native enterprise house owners, the e-mail from Scout states.

The Rhode Island governor’s workplace stated in an announcement that it had requested the state police and state human assets officers to conduct investigations related to the tour, however didn’t present additional particulars.

The episode unfolded on March 10, when Scout welcomed the 2 Rhode Island officers to the Bok Building, a former vocational highschool in Philadelphia that the agency had transformed into a house for greater than 200 companies, artists and nonprofits.

The officers arrived as Scout was in search of state funding from Rhode Island for a contract it had received to redevelop a state-owned former armory in Windfall, at a price of $55 million.

The e-mail detailing the go to was signed by Scout’s managing companion, Lindsey Scannapieco, and one other Scout government, and was despatched on March 12 to the agency’s lobbyist in Rhode Island, who forwarded it to the Rhode Island governor’s chief of employees.

The e-mail was launched on Thursday after Rhode Island’s lawyer basic ordered the administration of Gov. Daniel McKee to adjust to a public information request by The Providence Journal and WPRI, a Providence news station.

In accordance with the e-mail, Mr. Patten instructed Ms. Scannapieco as they have been getting espresso within the morning, “If I knew your husband wasn’t going to be right here, I might have come final night time.”

As he toured the Bok Constructing, Mr. Patten insisted on taking objects — together with vegan cheese and a pair of sneakers — from tenants, making them “very uncomfortable,” the e-mail states.

The e-mail claims that Mr. Patten insisted on lunch at Irwin’s, a Sicilian restaurant within the constructing that Bon Appétit journal named one of many 10 best new restaurants in America in 2022, even after he was instructed that it was not open for lunch.

“Properly, you’ll be able to name in a favor if you’d like $55 million in funding,” Mr. Patten instructed Ms. Scannapieco, in keeping with the e-mail. Scout then organized for a “personal lunch” at Irwin’s, “which has by no means occurred within the historical past of the venture,” in keeping with the e-mail.

Mr. Patten went on medical depart on March 13, and he’s now on administrative depart, in keeping with Laura Hart, a spokeswoman for the Rhode Island Division of Administration.

Mr. Thorsen submitted his resignation in February, earlier than the tour, and it took impact April 30, Ms. Hart stated. The Rhode Island governor’s workplace stated in a statement that Mr. Thorsen had gone to work for the U.S. Treasury Division, which didn’t reply to a request for remark.

The e-mail from Scout didn’t accuse Mr. Thorsen of constructing offensive feedback however stated that he had allowed Mr. Patten’s “habits to proceed to occur even after we pulled him apart to make word that this wanted to cease.”

In accordance with the e-mail, when Mr. Patten was given a pair of sneakers from Diadora, a sportswear firm within the Bok Constructing, he stated he hoped that they weren’t made in China “as a result of I actually hate China.”

Mr. Patten then turned to an Asian American lady within the room and stated, “No offense, hon,” the e-mail from Scout states.

At a well being clinic within the constructing, Mr. Patten pressed a physician to state his ethnic background and final title, the e-mail states. When the physician stated he was Jewish, Mr. Patten stated: “Mazel tov,” in keeping with the e-mail.

In an announcement issued after he launched the e-mail, Governor McKee stated: “The allegations concerning Mr. Patten’s habits, if true, are disturbing, unacceptable and unfitting of anybody, particularly an worker representing the state and who expects to be employed by the state.”

Michael P. Lynch, a lawyer for Mr. Patten, stated that his consumer was “actually embarrassed and humiliated, not only for himself and the influence that this has had on his household, however on those that positioned a lot belief in him as director.”

Mr. Lynch stated that Mr. Patten’s habits was the results of “an acute stress occasion” that had constructed up over the past three years after the dying of his sister, father-in-law and greatest pal.

“He had not taken care of himself and sought to cope with stressors by work,” Mr. Lynch stated. He added that whereas Mr. Patten was “not hiding” from his actions, “the feedback and statements that have been described in that electronic mail have been simply not in, or a part of, his fiber.”

Mr. Thorsen stated in an announcement launched by his lawyer that he was conscious that Mr. Patten was “behaving surprisingly” and was not “representing the state in an acceptable or optimistic means.”

After he flew again to Windfall, Mr. Thorsen stated, he went on to a gathering that he had organized with the state’s human assets workplace to debate Mr. Patten’s conduct. He stated he spoke later to the state police.

Mr. Thorsen stated that he had not requested Scout for preferential therapy and had not suggested anybody that the best way through which Scout handled him would have any have an effect on on the awarding of state funding for the armory venture in Windfall.

Relating to the lunch at Irwin’s, Mr. Thorsen stated that he had not requested about it beforehand and that he paid for the meal after he discovered that the restaurant had opened early for his go to.

“Of biggest significance, I didn’t make any comment or make any assertion to any individual that was racially or sexually insensitive or inappropriate,” Mr. Thorsen stated. “I don’t have interaction in that sort of conduct or speech.”

The workplace of Gov. Dan McKee of Rhode stated that it had requested the state police and state human assets officers to research a go to to Philadelphia by two state officers.Credit score…Stew Milne/Related Press

The e-mail from Scout signifies that Ms. Scannapieco and her colleagues have been “disgusted” by Mr. Patten’s habits.

“We don’t need to work with individuals who assist informal racism and sexism and are shocked at how this displays on the State of Rhode Island and the shortage of competence there,” the e-mail states.

Ms. Scannapieco stated in an electronic mail on Tuesday that Scout was solely centered on its plan to redevelop the previous armory in Windfall. The venture, which she stated might create 400 jobs, nonetheless wants $55 million in funding.


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