“Dirty politics” won’t keep candidate out of Bristol’s council race

Posted

Someone in town hall may be involved in what Diana Campbell calls “dirty politics” aimed at thwarting her run for town council.

In a memo dated Oct. 9 and addressed to Ms. Campbell, town solicitor, Michael Ursillo, a partner at Ursillo, Teitz & Ritch, Ltd., wrote: “It is my understanding that Mosiaco receives CSBG funding. Under such circumstances, it is my interpretation of the law that if you were to win in the election for Town Council, you would have to divest yourself from any association with Mosiaco and resign from your position.”

The memo also offered that if Ms. Campbell wished to discuss the matter further that she could contact him.

Mr. Ursillo’s name appeared beneath the message as its author, and it was indicated that a copy was sent to the town’s Community Development Block Grant program manager, Gerry Turbeville, whose office is in town hall.

On Oct. 10, an electronic version of the personal and confidential memo was delivered by e-mail to an unknown number of recipients – excluding Ms. Campbell.

When contacted by a Bristol Phoenix reporter, Ms. Campbell had little knowledge of the federal Hatch Act. She was also unaware that Mr. Ursillo had been investigating how the law applies to her. (The law precludes employees of private, non-profit organizations that receive certain federal funds to hold elected office.)

When Ms. Campbell was asked about Mr. Ursillo’s opinion on the Hatch Act, she expressed concerned that her desire to hold elected office could affect her desire to continue her economic development work at Mosaico. Additionally, she was concerned how a personal and confidential memo from the town solicitor could have leaked to the public.

On Tuesday, Oct. 16, Ms. Campbell met with Mr. Ursillo to discuss the issue and the funding through Mosaico where Ms. Campbell is executive director. After that meeting, she relayed Mr. Ursillo’s revised opinion.

“There is no conflict,” Ms. Campbell said.

Relieved that she can continue to pursue the elected office, her concern, and that of Mr. Ursillo, switched to how the personal and confidential memo became public.

According to Ms. Campbell, Mr. Ursillo was also concerned because such a breach could compromise “the integrity of his law firm.” She said that Mr. Ursillo conducted an internal investigation of his office, and that no one there leaked the document.

“There seems to be a little bit of dirty politics that could have changed the outcome of the election,” Ms. Campbell said.

Ms. Campbell added that Mr. Ursillo said he would focus on finding the source of the leak. She said he planned to begin his search at Bristol Town Hall.

“I am on track,” Ms. Campbell said of her run for office. “I’m definitely not pulling out of the election.”

Neither Mr. Ursillo nor Ms. Turbeville could be reached for comment.

Comments

1 comment on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
dcampbell

I want it to be clear that Mike Ursillo and Gerry Turbeville were not the source of the leak. Both were simply doing their jobs. I am happy that this is being investigated. But for now I just want to get back to my campaign.

Friday, October 19, 2012 | Report this

2016 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Prudence Island · Riverside · Rumford · Seekonk · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.