CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. —
Central Falls is Rhode Island’s smallest city and also one of its poorest. Boarded up homes line many streets and one-quarter of the city’s families live below the poverty line.
“The people are not getting better. Five years of tax increases, people who make $14,000 to $20,000 a year,” said state Sen. Elizabeth Crowley, D-Central Falls.
But since the city filed for receivership in 2010 and bankruptcy the next year, a few individuals have made a lot of money.
Receiver Robert Flanders is paid by the state. His fee is up to $30,000 a month.
His chief of staff, Gayle Corrigan, bills the city $100 an hour. Her deputy gets $60 an hour.
The total comes to about $56,000 a month.
“Very disturbing because where’s all the money coming from? From the residents,” said Luis Lubo, a Central Falls resident.
The receiver’s goal is to get the city back in fit financial shape and save millions of dollars. That role has extended into the schools.
“We’re saving the city on the municipal side alone $6.1 million a year,” Flanders said.
Some fat has been cut from the city budget and that means some have lost their jobs. But NBC 10 has learned others connected to the right people have landed on Broad Street.
City records show the chief of staff hired her lawyer’s daughter last summer. Her mother worked at City Hall, too.
And NBC 10 has found that Corrigan, the woman selected to supervise City Hall and report directly to Flanders, was fired from her previous employer after it was discovered she was profiting from a secret scheme.
Central Falls is the first city in Rhode Island to go through a receivership and bankruptcy. The city’s schools are funded by the state, so their future affects every taxpayer.