The alleged Cranston parking ticket scandal just got a lot more interesting.
On Friday evening, Cranston Police Union Attorney Joe Rodio added another twist to the already tangled web that was revealed thanks to an exclusive NBC10 news I-Team report that aired on Dec. 17.
After being in hot water for an alleged excessive ticketing in two particular wards in the city, the Cranston police union is now trying to turn the tables back on the city council.
Rodio told NBC 10 that he plans to file a lawsuit against the two Cranston city councilors who are alleging that the Cranston Police acted improperly by handing out an excessive number of parking tickets in the regions of the city they represent, Ward 3 and Ward 1.
Over the phone Rodio said, "The Cranston Police Union is filing a lawsuit against Councilman Stycos and Archetto for using their political office for personal gain by improperly failing to send the contract to the full council, that's number one. Number two, they used information which they knew to be false to shed a bad light on certain members of the police union. They used their political office in violation of the Hobbs Act to perpetuate their own personal gain, their own personal gain in this case is their political gain."
On Friday night NBC 10 caught up with Cranston Councilor Archetto, one of the two Cranston City the union says it will name in the lawsuit.
Archetto predicts that any judge asked to review all of the facts in the case would eventually come to the conclusion that the councilors had done no wrong.
Outside the Rhode Island State House in Providence he told NBC 10 News, "I heard from you (NBC10) that he (Rodio) will be filing a lawsuit against myself and Steve Stycos, and my response is: It's his right to do so. My position is that I'm confident in the facts that we've discovered and submitted, and the relationship to the vote when the ticket blitz occurred, how many tickets were in my ward and councilman Stycos' Ward, versus those councilman that voted for the contract, especially Ward 4 which had no tickets, that I think is self-evident. I think any judge would come to a conclusion to support myself and councilman Stycos' position."
But Rodio is actually taking his allegations even further, accusing Councilors Archetto and Stycos of calling for the ticket blitz to begin with, an allegation Councilor Archetto vehemently denies.
Rodio alleges that, "Starting Sept. 30, which is the earliest email I have, Stycos and Archetto are complaining to the mayor's office physically by email, and verbally by phone, and then verbally by phone directly to (Cranston Police Union President Stephen) Antonucci , (allegedly saying) 'You're not giving enough tickets! You're not giving enough tickets! There's too many overnight parking. We've got a white van parked on this street, a blue van parked over here, why aren't we ticketing these vehicles?"
When NBC 10 questioned Archetto about the allegation, he acknowledged that when he receives individual, specific, isolated complaints from his constituents about an illegally parked vehicle here and there, he would gladly call it in to the city, but added, "Have I ever told them, have I ever told the police or the administration to go out there and ticket whole neighborhoods? No, of course not."
NBC 10 will continue to carefully follow this case as it evolves.
On Thursday Mayor Allan Fung decided to call the Rhode Island State Police into the investigation, and on Friday afternoon the city announced that Cranston Police Chief Col. Marco Palombo had been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the internal and state police investigation.