I-Team: Tiverton served with whistle-blower lawsuit

Alawsuit filed in Newport County Superior Court by Larry Faulkner spells out acomplaint under Rhode Island's Whistle-blower Protection Act.

The NBC10 I-Team interviewed Faulkner during the course of a hidden camerainvestigation into Faulkner's boss Bob Martin, the town's maintenance foreman.

TheI-Team watched Martin for two months working on his own apartment buildings, ontown time, in Tiverton and in Fall River.

Martindenied the allegations and said he has done work using sick and vacation time.

Recordsobtained by the I-Team, show every time NBC 10's cameras were watching him,Martin was on the clock.

Faulknerwas seen on camera hauling lumber into one of his boss's rental houses on towntime.

"Iwas questioning him saying, 'What's going to happen to me if I get caught?' Ithen got a big threat, stating that if I opened my mouth up to anybody I wouldbe ruined in this town and not have a job again," Faulkner said.

Faulknerwent to then town administrator Jim Goncalo upset and showed him pictures ofsome of the work he had done for his boss.{}A day later, Faulkner wasfired.

Thereasons were spelled out in a letter from Goncalo dated Oct. 21 statingFaulkner had used excessive personal time during working hours, talked on acell phone and left materials at a job site.

Fivedays after the I-Team's initial story aired in October, Goncalo abruptlyretired, Martin was placed on unpaid leave for 30 days, and the Rhode Island StatePolice began investigating complaints. Martin's unpaid suspension has beenextended another 30 says until Dec. 31, according to interim town administratorNancy Mello.

Faulkner'slawsuit claims he was fired for all the wrong reasons.

Aportion of the lawsuit states, "Robert Martin was directing the Plaintiff to dorepair work at various apartments owned by Mr. Martin the reasons given forthe Plaintiff's discharge were a pretext, and the true motive was to punish himfor reporting Mr. Martin's breach of law and to suppress those breaches."

Faulkner'ssuit claims he has suffered lost income and grave and emotional distress.

He'sasking for full compensation for his alleged wrongful discharge andreinstatement to his position with the town of Tiverton.

Thesuit has been sent to the town's insurance company, Rhode Island InterlocalRisk Management Trust, according to Mello.