What is going on in the governor’s office that Gina Raimondo is picking petulant political fights with the state’s casino contractor?
The appropriate statement through all of this should have been easy. Something like this: “I am not aware of any threats’ being made, but of course that would be completely inappropriate. So, I’ll be speaking with my staff and reaching out to our friends in Twin River to make sure nothing like that was done and to resolve any misunderstandings there may have been.”
Instead, she makes a blanket denial and casts shade on the company, answering a question from Steve Klamkin of WPRO as to who made the threat:
“Absolutely no one,″ Raimondo said. “That’s clearly baseless and untrue. We have been nothing but professional with Twin River at every step.”
“I am so disappointed in Twin River. In addition to the way they are behaving through this process, you know what they did in breaching the regulatory agreement with the state is very serious and I am concerned,″ she said of the debt limit dispute, which arose from Twin River’s out- of-state expansion moves, which Crisafulli contends it kept the state apprised at every step.
“I am concerned,″ Raimondo said. “Their revenues are down. They are doing layoffs. they are breaking the regulatory agreement and it is our job to protect taxpayers and to hold Twin River accountable. And that’s what we are going to do.
“So we sat down with them. We are trying to help them. We were collaborative. We came up with a settlement They are going to make millions of dollars of investments into Twin River, thankfully. It’s about time. Anyone who has been to Twin River knows it could use a bit of a facelift.”
So, what comes of this? Twin River President Marc Crisafulli decides to stop playing coy and comes right out and names Raimondo Chief of Staff Brett Smiley, which politics watchers will likely find credible. Not only that, but Crisafulli gives additional details, such as that Smiley called his cell phone three times one afternoon after Twin River decided to vocally oppose the IGT deal. The contrast makes Raimondo’s denial look like a knowing lie.
If nothing else, this is an indication that Raimondo is not a very good executive. But Rhode Islanders already knew that. This episode adds a little more evidence that she’s actually not a very good politician, either.