On the cover of the July 30th Chronicle, there was a prominent quote from D2 Commissioner Will Sellers – “They’ve got reason to worry.”
At the August 11th meeting of the City Commission, Commissioner Sellers approached the editor of The Chronicle, Tomi Wiley, and demanded a front-page retraction, claiming he never said that.
Wiley had her notes from the meeting and told Sellers he had said it.
Unable to get satisfaction directly from the editor, Sellers took the matter up again, a few moments later during the televised City Commission meeting – repeating his demand for a retraction and an apology. He said he had reviewed the “instant replay” of the City Commission meeting and “I didn’t say that.”
Wiley requested a DVD of the meeting (for which the City charged her $10). When Wiley got the DVD, it included a note which said that the video recorder had turned off during the taping of that particular meeting and the recording was in two parts. The part that was missing? The report from the City Manager and the Police Chief on the fire code problems in Providence residences.
Thankfully, Tomi was able to find a citizen who had recorded the entire meeting at home. The audio portion of that recording has now been uploaded to YouTube. The link below starts with Commissioner Sellers’ rant demanding a retraction. At the end of the rant, the recording plays Sellers’ comments from the July 28th meeting, where he is clearly heard saying, “They’ve got reason to be worried.”
We have three observations.
1. Will Sellers owes Tomi Wiley a public apology. In keeping with his own standards of fair play, this should come during his Commissioner’s report at the next City Commission meeting. A letter to the Chronicle would also be a nice touch.
Rose Mary Woods demonstrating how she may have erased tape recordings
2. It is extremely suspicious that ONLY this portion of the meeting failed to be recorded. Does anybody remember, Rose Mary Woods, and the infamous 18-minute gap from the Watergate tapes? She was Richard Nixon’s secretary and accidentally “erased” a long section of a key recording.
3. Since the recording happened on July 28th, the statute of limitations on filing an ethics complaint about possible misdeeds by the Mayor, the City Manager, the D2 Commissioner, and any other city employee who might be involved runs out next week. But unless you witnessed anything first-hand, don’t bother. Your complaint will be dismissed under the City Commission’s ridiculous Ethics Code anyway.