Court mediator resigns amid resume questions

By Parker Gavigan

A top court mediator resigned amid questions about his credentials.

David Tassoni worked at Rhode Island's Family Court for 13 years.

Tassoni's resume said he graduated law school and earned a degree from Providence College. From there, he rose through the ranks of state's Family Court, recently reporting directly to the chief judge and making $105,000 a year.

NBC 10 learned neither degree exists.

Paul Labonte's case in Rhode Island Family Court is over. He lost custody of his kids to the state. That's where he met Tassoni.

"You're expecting the people to be professional and be qualified in the positions they hold, and when they're not, it's like you get anyone down here to hear the case," Labonte said.

Tassoni's resume, obtained by NBC 10, says he graduated from Providence College and Southern New England School of Law in 1997 -- the same year he began working for Rhode Island's court system. He worked first as a law clerk intern and then as chief mediator, rising fast to the rank of assistant administrator and making $105,000 a year.

Sources say Chief Judge Haiganoush Bedrosian started to look into Tassoni's education and learned he did not graduate from law school or from Providence College.

Earlier in the week, Tassoni's resume, picture and biography were posted on the website of the Massachusetts-based company, Legal Options Inc.

The site said he had mediated more than 750 divorce and domestic disputes. The site also said that in addition to his family law practice, Tassoni is the domestic mediation instructor for Roger Williams University.

After NBC 10 started investigating, the information about Tassoni was pulled from the website.

Many court employees said Tassoni was good at what he did. Labonte doesn't disagree.

"I thought it was a shame. I really did," Labonte said. "He was really listening to what I was saying as opposed to just being at work,"

NBC 10 tried reaching Tassoni at his home and on the phone, but we were unsuccessful.

State police confirmed there is an active investigation at the Family Court, but they wouldn't confirm whether it involves Tassoni.

A representative for the court said the cases that Tassoni mediated are not affected by his resume problems.

State Sen. John Tassoni, David Tassoni's cousin, said the two men haven't been close and that he learned of the resignation from someone else.

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