Connect with us

Politics & Elections

John Carnevale has been acting like a Representative in District 13, even though he isn’t one



John Carnevale, who was last week revealed to be considering a run for Representative in District 13, an elected position he lost due to accusations that he did not maintain a legal residence within the district, has been sending letters to his former constituents for weeks. All the letters list 150 Barbara Street as Carnevale’s address.

The first two letters obtained by UpriseRI are signed, “John Carnevale, Former State Representative.” In the first letter Carnevale reports disposing of “two automobile tires that were illegally dumped” in his District. In the second letter, labeled “LEGISLATIVE NOTICE,” Carnevale asks his former constituents to call House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello (Democrat, District 15, Cranston) and Senate President Dominick Ruggerio (Democrat, District 4, Providence) in support of H8015, which would “place limitations on the tax exempt real and personal property a nonprofit college, university or hospital may hold.”

In the second letter Carnevale refers to Brown University as an “alleged” non-profit, noting it made $100 million last year.

All the letters are emblazoned with the Rhode Island State Seal. The most recent letter, in which Carnevale announces his intention to run for his old House seat, ends with:

John Carnevale – State Representative

Can you help us?

Funding for our reporting relies entirely on the generosity of readers like you. Our independence allows us to write stories that hold RI state and local government officials accountable. All of our stories are free and available to everyone. But your support is essential to keeping Steve and Will on the beat, covering the costs of reporting many stories in a single day. If you are able to, please support Uprise RI. Every contribution, big or small is so valuable to us. You provide the motivation and financial support to keep doing what we do. Thank you.

Become a Patron!
Opens in a new tab - you won't lose you place

Carnevale is still facing serious criminal charges. Amanda Milkovits at the Providence Journal reports that, “a state grand jury indicted Carnevale in January 2017 on three felony counts of perjury and a misdemeanor of filing a false document with Providence to get a break on his property taxes.” Carnevale has a pretrial conference on these charges set for June 28 at Providence County Superior Court.

Beyond the criminal charges, which many Rhode Island voters are somehow able to easily dismiss, there are accusations of sexual assault and domestic violence in Carnevale’s past. Take a look at Carnevale’s Wikipedia page:

In October 2011, Carnevale was indicted by a grand jury on charges of first- and second-degree sexual assault, as well as one count of assault with the intent to commit sexual assault. His alleged victim claimed Carnevale arrived at her house intoxicated, pulled her down on a mattress and attempted to rape her, resulting in a struggle, and that when she resisted, Carnevale masturbated in front of her and forced her face up to his genitalia. She also alleged that after he finished, Carnevale threw a $20 bill down and told her to “take her kid out to eat.” DNA evidence collected from the victim’s pajamas matched a sample provided by Carnevale, according to the Johnston Police Department. Carnevale pled not guilty to the charges, and refused calls to resign.

On January 1, 2012, his accuser, a 46-year-old mother of two and ex-wife of another Providence police officer, died of a pulmonary embolism, according to an autopsy by the state medical examiner. The charges were later dropped by attorney general Peter Kilmartin, citing an inability to proceed without the woman’s testimony.

Carnevale’s ex-wife has sought restraining orders against him several times with allegations of physical abuse, according to court records from 1998, 1999 and 2004. In the affidavits she alleged that Carnevale, divorced since 2000, had been arrested three times by North Kingstown, Rhode Island police, and that he had choked and punched her, struck her with a cord, pinned her against a wall, slapped her, and dragged her by the wrist out of her house in separate incidents.

Can a politician with a history like Carnevale’s, even an alleged history like Carnevale’s, stage a comeback?

None of the sexual assault or domestic assault allegations mentioned above had anything to do with Carnevale losing his seat in the House, or losing his position on Speaker Mattiello’s leadership team. In fact, Carnevale weathered all these charges without so much as a primary challenger. But Carnevale’s last election was nearly four years ago, before the fall of Cosby and Weinstein and the rise of #metoo and Representative Teresa Tanzi (Democrat, District 34, Narragansett, South Kingstown)’s revelation and subsequent House commission on sexual harassment.

Mattiello will support incumbent Ramon Perez in the upcoming election, according to Rhode Island Public Radio‘s Ian Donnis. A wise move. Supporting Carnevale would be courting political disaster.

On the other hand, Perez has had a rocky freshman Representative  term. A year ago he handed out screen grabs in the House Finance Committee from a Wikipedia page, above which could be seen open browser tabs for pornographic websites. He later apologized, kind of, on the House floor writes Jacquline Tempera at the Providence Journal, saying, “I am not a pervert” and claimed the open tabs were from another user.

In January Perez said that he was not making a a joke during a training on sexual harassment when he asked, “How do you do that?” when the instructor spoke about asking for sexual favors at work.

“I know my English may be hard to understand at times, but I wish people would have asked me what I was trying to say before criticizing me,” Perez said, as reported by Channel 10/WJAR. “I was not joking when I asked a question to the presenter to explain to me more about the issue of sexual favors. I feel badly if anyone misunderstood what I was asking because I went there to learn about this very serious issue.”

In a conversation with Diana Pinzon and Ted Nesi at Channel 12/WPRI Perez suggested that Carnevale might win, if another Latinx candidate enters the race and splits the Lantinx vote. Perez was referring to Mario Méndez, who is running on a platform of ethical representation as a Democrat in District 13.

I’m working on an interview with Méndez right now, which should be up later this week.

UpriseRI has collected three of the Carnevale letters, which can be seen below.

Here’s a tweet from Dan McGowan, showing he was on this story a long time ago:

UpriseRI is entirely supported by donations and advertising. Every little bit helps:

Become a Patron!

Steve Ahlquist is a frontline reporter in Rhode Island. He has covered human rights, social justice, progressive politics and environmental news for nearly a decade.