The controversial stench at the Rhode Island landfill has made banner headlines for months, but now ABC6 News has uncovered a lawsuit regarding the landfill, unrelated to the bad smell.
The suit has been filed by "Rhode Island Resource Recovery," which runs the landfill operation.
The target of the lawsuit is "Recovermat of Rhode Island," which has been paid 12 million dollars over the past dozen years, to recycle construction and demolition debris brought to the landfill.
The lawsuit alleges that former Rhode Island State Representative Edward Maggiacomo was an undisclosed 50 percent partner in Recovermat through his business: Beacon Consulting.
Over the course of 12 years, Maggiacomo was paid six million dollars in consulting fees through Beacon Consulting, for which the suit alleges he did little or no work. We attempted to contact Mr. Maggiacomo at his home in Cranston for comment.
But when ABC6 News Reporter Mark Curtis knocked on the door, there was no answer.
We called by phone, too, and no one answered. Neighbors say Maggiacomo is vacationing in Florida.
Meanwhile, there is another curious issue: Maggiacomo was the lawyer for Rhode Island Resource Recovery from 1990 until 2007. He was also legal counsel for Recovermat from 1998 until the present.
In other words, he was the legal representative on both sides of the landfill deal.
We consulted a Rhode Island attorney who says the arrangement could potentially raise a "red flag" with the state bar's code of ethics:
"Depending on the circumstances, and when there is a lot of renumeration or compensation at stake, certainly any type of conflict of interest where one does not disclose it... That's considered to be a serious thing, I would say," explained Attorney Ken Schreiber.
Because of the serious nature of the allegations and the amount of money involved, we wondered if a criminal investigation may be coming. ABC6 News contacted a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Peter Nehrona. We were told, quote, "We neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation, and whether or not, one is, or is not underway."
Meanwhile, ABC6 has confirmed that mediation is currently underway, in an attempt to settle the lawsuit and potentially return millions of dollars to Rhode Island Resource Recovery.