Senator Doyle’s Views on Payments and Obligations


Folks in Rhode Island’s attention-paying class are rightly highlighting Ethan Shorey’s article in The Valley Breeze, which reports some business difficulties of state Senator Jamie Doyle (D, Pawtucket):

A woman who once did business with Pawtucket state Sen. Jamie Doyle and his Doyle Respiratory says Doyle still hasn’t paid her a penny more than two years after a judge ordered him to start paying down a $6,843 debt to her. …

Records of correspondences connected to the court case show that Doyle Respiratory, a Pawtucket-based medical equipment company, has had significant financial issues. Attorney John Longo, in a letter to Doyle Respiratory attorney Steven Hart in May of 2014, wrote that Doyle Respiratory was struggling with financial difficulties and that there were four companies with judgments against it. In that letter, Longo stated that Doyle Respiratory owed the Internal Revenue Service “tens of thousands of dollars.” He added that the company was attempting to turn things around and then inquired about a temporary payment arrangement.

Although not surprising, it’s discouraging to hear such news about one of 38 people authorized to change the laws of the state via the state Senate, especially one who sits on the Finance Committee.  As the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity documents through our Freedom Index, both chambers of the General Assembly pass legislation every year that takes an increasingly strong and unrestricted hand directing Rhode Islanders on how they must live their lives and conduct their business.

If that’s the level of authority politicians claim for themselves, then at the very least, constituents should expect the politicians’ own behavior to be beyond reproach.  For an underline on the point, consider three bills that Doyle has submitted this session.  None of these has seen action, and they aren’t yet on the running Freedom Index for this session, but they don’t exactly correspond with Doyle’s own behavior, as reported:

  • S2189 and S2550 would forbid state and local agencies from holding on to a 5% retainer for public works projects for 90 days after completion (as a protection against shoddy workmanship) and apply the same percentage and standard to general contractors on the project, in their relationships with subcontractors.
  • S2551 would force all employers to pay for employees’ transportation to doctors or other health care services related to workers compensation benefits.

It’s very easy to sit in that fortress on a hill in Providence and tell businesses how to operate.  Much easier, it would appear, than operating a business that successfully pays its service providers in a timely fashion, even without a court order to do so.