Solomon: ‘Annex toast,’ set to sue for insurance

Posted

It was a year ago that City Hall staffers entered the Annex to discover water pouring from the ceiling of the first floor assessor’s office. During the weekend, when temperatures dipped into the single digits, a pipe had burst in the second floor planning department. There was no way that either the planning department or the assessor and tax collection offices could open.

Within days, former mayor Scott Avedisian closed all the offices in the Annex, relocating them to the former Greene School on Draper Avenue next to the former Gorton Junior High School. The exception was the tax collector that set up in the City Hall basement conference room. Since then, it, too, has found a home at “Draper,” as the annex offices have been dubbed.

Meanwhile, no effort has been made to reopen the Annex and, in an interview last week, Mayor Joseph Solomon not only made it clear the building should be razed but that he also believes the Rhode Island Interlocal Risk Management Trust that insures the building should pay for its replacement. He’s ready to bring suit unless that happens.

“Not only will they not pay what they agreed does exist there,” Solomon said, adding that the trust won’t expedite the process. “So we’re about to file suit against them.”

Asked what the trust had offered to settle the claim, Solomon recalled it was $300,000. He believes it should be significantly more. He pointed out that the city hired a structural engineer to assess the damage.

“That report came back and said the building was toast. Its beams are cracked, it has unsafe weight limits on floors. There’s a lot of things done to that building that should not have been. Heating systems between floors. Those are not code items. People could be killed in environments like that.”

Executive director of the Trust Ian Ridlon pointed out Monday that Warwick is one of the founding members of the trust 30 years ago and that the trust has paid multiple Warwick claims over the years. He would not discuss any specifics of talks with Warwick.

“We are working in good faith to resolve the matter,” he said.

Solomon doesn’t see it that way.

“All my life when I’ve dealt with insurance companies, they’ve always initially denied. They want to see how far they can push you to compromise your claim. Almost like a nuisance value to see how far you’re going to fight. And we’re going to fight to the end, because it’s a significant amount of money,” he said. “We’ve paid the premiums over the years, we’ve been a good participant of the Trust and we’ve been a good partner with the Trust. We expect to be afforded the benefits that the Trust has under their policy to us. There’s nothing of a fraudulent nature – it happened – it was an accident and we know it happened.”

Solomon said the building is “structurally toast” and he put the city’s claim between $3 million to $4 million.

“When you insure a structure, you insure a structure overall, that’s the way I look at it. Whether it be your house or your business…They’ll give you a contingent premium until they inspect the building and see if they want to insure it or if it’s insurable…They’ve taken our premiums for years. So you can’t say ‘I quit.’ The taxpayers are entitled to the benefits,” he said.

Whether the parties reach a settlement, or the matter ends up in court, it’s going to be a long time before municipal offices have a permanent home.

As an interim step to a new annex that presumably would be built on the site of the old one, Solomon is eying the former Buttonwoods Community Center that Avedisian closed because of a leaking roof and renovation costs. Avedisian had planned on selling the property, but Ward 7 Councilman Steve McAllister vowed to do what he could to reopen it. The council unanimously approved a resolution to save the center and, after being named mayor, Solomon took steps to reopen it. A roofing company donated its services to repair the roof, and the heating and air condition systems have since also been repaired.

Solomon said he wants to move the annex offices at Greene to Buttonwoods as well as reopen a portion of the center to groups that used to regularly meet there to play cards.

“I am on that, pedal to the metal,” he said. “I want to get our employees out of Draper. I want to see our elderly folk back in that facility,” he said.

Is there the space for all the departments now located at Greene?

“I am really planning for every department to go there,” he said. He added the city might have to break out a couple of departments, such as personnel, that he feels should be segregated from other departments.

He didn’t offer a timetable for the move to Buttonwoods.

Comments

16 comments on this story | Please log in to comment by clicking here
Please log in or register to add your comment
richard corrente

Mayor Solomon is right. The trust can't replace 10% of the Annex building with $300,000. He wants to sue them if they don't pay? I agree. Insurance companies never want to pay out but this is a ridiculous offer after a ridiculous amount of time has passed. I disagree with the Mayor on other issues; but not on this one. The trust will not pay unless it is to avoid a lawsuit. File the suit Mayor Solomon. Only then will they listen to reason, in my opinion.

Happy 2019 everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

Thursday, January 3
CrickeeRaven

Thankfully, none of the decision in the city are up to the two-time election reject to make, because a vast majority of honest, taxpaying voters rejected his candidacy again last September.

Also thankfully, the city has an actual, experienced leader in Mayor Solomon who will pursue the appropriate legal remedies to address the city hall annex situation. He will pay as much heed to the two-time election reject on this issue as he did during the campaign: None.

Thursday, January 3
WwkVoter

I agree, Solomon is showing me why my vote for him was a good choice. After most municipal mayoral elections, especially ones the newspaper of record call a "Blowout", the LOSER goes away and certainly doesnt constantly call himself "mayor".

Thursday, January 3
CrickeeRaven

WwkVoter, I wonder if you've been near Hoxsie over the last few days and seen that the facade of the building where the two-time election reject has his business office is under renovation.

This may explain the relative [and very welcome] reduction in his comments over the last week or so.

Even with the lower number of comments, as you note, he still can not restrain himself from even more disgraceful behavior, including his use of that make-believe title, in complete opposition to the reality that majorities of honest, taxpaying voters rejected his candidacy twice.

Friday, January 4
mra

that's what you get when you try to put a second floor on a school bus garage.

Friday, January 4
Bill Paola

“Pasted from the article:

“That report came back and said the building was toast. Its beams are cracked, it has unsafe weight limits on floors. There’s a lot of things done to that building that should not have been. Heating systems between floors. Those are not code items. People could be killed in environments like that.”

This is a damming statement. It means modifications or upgrades were done out of code. That’ll kill any claim for total replacement in my opinion.

Friday, January 4
WwkVoter

CR I think the fake mayor is burning out on commenting, and realizing that all his comments have zero weight on the actual policymakers and the online readers here. But, the notion of the old coot hunched over his keyboard mumbling to himself as the plaster dust falls around him making him cough and sneeze while he curses you using an equally fake name, is also an appealing one...

Bill Paola has a good question about how a municipal building could be constructed with such serious, dangerous defects... the Mayor (the ACTUAL, REAL Mayor, who not only had an actual chance at winning but won with a landslide vote) is correct that it needs to be comprehensively fixed. If rebuilt, hopefully a historical-looking building will be in its place.

Saturday, January 5
Ben Dover

MY GOD, Where to start...DICK, for someone who wanted to be Mayor and "works" in the banking and finance industry, your lack of knowledge on this issue is stupefying. YOU ARE NOT DEALING WITH AN INSURANCE COMPANY! Get up to speed....www.RhodeIslandinterlocalriskmanagementtrust.com. This is a risk management pool, formed originally by 6 or 7 communities here in RI back in the 80's to deal with risk management, costs, and in effect self insure..GOT IT?

Paola has this nailed down pretty well..How did we get here from there? Who authorized modifications to that building that did not meet code and went ahead and did it anyway? How did they get a CO? What kind of an inspection was done by the agency AFTER the building was modified? To suggest Mr. Solomon inherited this fiasco is totally disingenuous. He was the former council President and a CPA and a lawyer...None of this virgin territory for him....To suggest now we are going to extract $3-4M is is a Raimondi like fantasy...Seems to me the whole claim could be ruled null and void...Breach of contract...

Further, we the taxpayers pay for this privilege. We elect people to watch out for taxpayers...Instead, like the schools here and around the State as well as other city occupied buildings, they are neglected and not properly maintained...In short, we elect people to oversee the peoples business, they hire people to maintain the properties, we try to save by self insuring and Joe taxpayer foots the bill for all this wackiness...Makes perfect sense...NOT...Taxpayers, screwed again...HAPPY 2019....

Saturday, January 5
CrickeeRaven

We can only hope the two-time election reject has realized the futility of his behavior, WwkVoter.

I tend to doubt that he's capable of the kind of self-reflection that such a realization would require, though.

And you're correct, this issue requires actual leadership and oversight, not more empty words from a two-time landslide loser.

Monday, January 7
BEN DOVER

DICK, your lack of comprehension of many issues, especially the area of your so called vocation and expertise is mind-numbing..In simple terms, what is going on in this city due to total financial ball fumbling is...The school committee, in effect sues the taxpayers, the Mayor, by suggesting legal action against RIIRMT is in effect, suing themselves...A group the city joined and paid money to be part of...to among other things, be proactive in RISK MANAGEMENT...Are you understanding the folly of this exercise, or am I being obtuse? GEEZ DICK, get a grip on this...

Monday, January 7
CrickeeRaven

Ben, the two-time election reject is as willfully ignorant of city operations as he is willfully disgraceful in his behavior.

Your explanation of the Interlocal Trust is correct, and your frustration is valid.

The two-time election reject's statements, on the other hand, are delusional and false.

He has made up, with no objective proof, a conspiracy theory about who is using this screen name. He has not, by his own admission, attempted to reach Mr. Carruolo, and has instead used his refusal to prove this fact to argue that he is correct.

He is not.

He is a two-time election loser with no impact or effect on anything that happens in the city.

Thank you for attempting to talk sense to the two-time election reject. I am sorry to say, based on his continued and willing disgraceful behavior, that you'll most likely be wasting your time.

Monday, January 7
Cat

I think Bill Paola has a valid comment. If the building was upgraded and it wasn't up to standard, the insurance company can certainly deny the claim. "There’s a lot of things done to that building that should not have been." This could be a very big issue if it does go to court.

Monday, January 7
mra

the is what happens when you try to convert a bus garage into a two story office building on a limited budget. there have been problems with it for many many years

Tuesday, January 8
richard corrente

Dear Ben Dover,

You stated, in all capital letters no less, "YOU ARE NOT DEALING WITH AN INSURANCE COMPANY".

I looked up The RhodeIslandinterlocalriskmanagementtrust.com. Now, I don't want you to believe that I don't trust you even though you insult and attack me without having the courage to use your real name, but I just don't trust you. So I looked up the website.

I know.

I should have just taken you at your word but you just lie so often that I couldn't.

I looked it up (I invite all readers to do the same) and do you know what? THEY (please forgive the use of capital letters) say?

THEY (damn it. I did it again) say that their industry is "Insurance".

THEY say "The company's line of business includes providing insurance agent and broker services for a range of insurance types."

Hey Ben. Doesn't that mean they are some sort of; you know; insurance company??

Shouldn't Solomon decide to sue them if they don't give Warwick a fair settlement??

Shouldn't that benefit the 80,000 taxpayers that are paying the tab??

Shouldn't you; you know; learn to think first, and speak second??

Shouldn't you Ben??

Ben??

Hey, Happy Valentines anyway Benny Boy.

Happy Valentines everyone.

Rick Corrente

3 days ago
Ben Dover

Dear mayor 0f Moscow; What can't your hummingbird brain comprehend...It is a risk management trust...it is a 501c-3...It was established by cities and towns as a hedge and SELF insurance plan because of costs...As one of the founders in 1986 of this trust, Warwick has paid dues, ie, premiums in the hopes of saving money and also hoping they would never have to deal with a catastrophic event...It is, in fact, a roll of the dice...If you bothered to read the above article the author spells most of this out...I am done playing your game...I will not respond to anymore of your inane ranting and foolish musings...Get up to Butler, you need help.

2 days ago
richard corrente

Dear BenDover,

Thank you for two reasons.

First, for finally agreeing that The Trust is, in fact, an insurance company as stated by their own web site.

Second, and I can't thank you enough for this one, for deciding it is futile to continue insulting me, calling me The Mayor of Moscow, calling my brain "a hummingbird brain" and recommending a stay at Butler. I was getting tired of reading those counterproductive statements. It will be a real breath of fresh air to not have to read your toxic, vulgar comments.

Thanks again.

Oh, and by the way, the brain in a hummingbird is the largest brain relative to size of ALL BIRDS, at 4.2% of total body weight. Thought you should know.

Happy Valentines Ben.

Happy Valentines everyone.

Rick Corrente

The Taxpayers Mayor

2 days ago