George Nee and What RI Government Is Really About

The corruption and inside dealing is so thick on the ground, in Rhode Island, that one scarcely has to dig at all to find more tidbits.  Just today I was idly checking something somebody else had said when I came across a biography with the names of RI labor union poobah George Nee’s children.  A quick online search turned up this LinkedIn page for Brigid, whom I believe to be his daughter and who is currently employed as the development manager for Year Up’s activities in Providence.

In non-profit organizations, development staff are typically the ones trying to connect the money to their services, so it’s interesting also to observe that Year Up typically receives between $100,000 and $200,000 per year in grants from the state government of Rhode Island.  According to RIOpenGov, the Rhode Island Dept. of Education (RIDE) provided most of that money at the start of my records in 2010 through 2013 or 2014, when RIDE’s annual give dropped to around $60,000.

Around that time, Brigid signed on as a business communications instructor.  Her promotion (I assume) to development manager is listed as having just happened.  It’s interesting to observe, therefore, that starting in December 2014 the Governor’s Workforce Board began picking up the slack from RIDE, giving Year Up around $73,000 last fiscal year.

That’s particularly interesting because George Nee is a longtime member of that board, and as the Spotlight on $pending report that I helped write for the RI Center for Freedom & Prosperity in 2014 suggested:

A 2010 investigation revealed that no fewer than half of the 16 members of GWB were associated with businesses, non-profits, and labor unions as owners, representatives, or employees that received money. In total, it’s reasonable to count at least $76,873 in inappropriate acts of cronyism perpetrated by the GWB in 2010.

Another interesting tidbit to be found without much difficulty comes from evidence in the 38 Studios investigation, which revealed an email string from George Nee attempting to secure a job for Shana Mancinho, the daughter of one of his fellow higher ups with the AFL CIO.  In an email on October 15, 2010, RI Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC) executive assistant Sharon Penta provided Nee (also a member of the EDC board) with contact information for some relevant HR personnel at 38 Studios and a related company.

The following June, Nee wrote to Laborer’s Union organizer Michael Sabitoni, asking him to help out:  “being on the edc it would be inappropriate for me to call but given your contacts with them, would you feel ok putting in a call on her behalf”?  Before lunchtime, Sabitoni emailed the infamous Michael Corso asking if he “could put a good word in for Mancinho to 38 studios.”

A quick search doesn’t suggest that Mancinho, now Autiello, ultimately got the job, although her list of employers does show a number of government agencies and businesses that have received money from government.  But that would be an investigation for another day…

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