The RI Judiciary website indicates that David LaPlante, the now-former Warwick School Department employee charged with five counts of misappropriating $72,662 from taxpayers to purchase tools, equipment and materials for himself, has hired two attorneys to defend him against these charges. And one of them is former House Speaker, William Murphy, who reportedly doesn’t come cheap.
How is Mr. LaPlante paying for this? If he has assets other than his house from which he is funding this legal representation, the next logical question is, what is the City of Warwick doing to identify and attach those assets so as to recoup those allegedly stolen tax dollars that went into Mr. LaPlante’s house and tool shed? Because the rumor is that there is no equity left in his house for the city to do so.
The City of Warwick needs to go full bore both to hold Mr. LaPlante accountable (which they are doing by charging him) and to recoup what he allegedly stole, not only to demonstrate that they care about tax dollars and taxpayers but to discourage other potential … er, renovators.
And last but not least, a related question for legal experts: if Mr. LaPlante is convicted of one (or all) of these felonies, does he lose his pension?
Addendum: Thanks to indefatigable, volunteer taxpayer watchdog Rob Cote for giving Anchor Rising a heads-up on these questions.