WESTERLY — School officials are pleased with the work of an architectural firm currently contracted by the town's School Committee despite legal troubles facing the company's president.
David DeQuattro, president of Robinson, Green, Beretta Corp., better known as RGB, was arrested on Nov. 13 and charged with two counts of accepting or paying bribes as an agent (or to an agent) of an Indian tribal government and one count of conspiring to commit bribery. Cedric Cromwell, 55, of Attleboro, the Chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe, also faces the same charges which arise from an alleged bribery scheme involving plans to build a resort and casino in Taunton, Mass.
DeQuattro and Cromwell have both pleaded not guilty and were released after posting $25,000 secured bond following arraignments via videoconference in U.S. District Court in Providence.
RGB, a 74-year-old company, has worked on numerous projects throughout Rhode Island, including the Westerly Education Center. The company is currently under a contract with the School Committee to design renovations to the bottom floor of the town-owned PACE Building on Union Street for use by the school district's Transition Academy.
The company has also designed security vestibules for district schools under a contract that was signed in June.
"We've never had any reason for concern in our dealings with RGB," said Superintendent of Schools Mark Garceau during a recent interview.
DeQuatrro and the firm also worked closely with the School Committee's Building Subcommittee as plans were developed for the proposed school building project that was turned down by voters at referendum in October 2019. The firm worked with the subcommittee following the referendum and its representatives participated during a subcommittee meeting as recently as June.
The firm also worked with municipal and school officials in 2002 on the Vision 2020 report that was the basis for construction of Westerly Middle School and renovations to Westerly High School.
DeQuattro did not return a message seeking comment for this article.
In a letter to Garceau, DeQuattro said RGB is restructuring its leadership and that he would step down as president to avoid becoming a point of "interference" for the company and its clients.
"On Friday, I learned that federal authorities had filed charges against me. I pleaded 'not guilty' to these charges," he wrote. "I have great confidence in the American justice system and the attorneys representing me on this case who, with great confidence, believe I will be vindicated from the accusations once the truth is revealed."
Joseph R. Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston Division, said in a news release issued by the U.S. Attoney's Office District of Massachusetts, "Both men’s alleged actions undercut the efforts of hard-working tribe members and betrayed their trust. Cases like this fuel our commitment to rooting out public corruption, and as our investigation continues, we urge anyone with information to contact us."
According to the news release, the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s Gaming Authority, led by Cromwell, contracted with RGB in connection with the Tribe’s plans to build a resort and casino in Taunton. Between approximately July 26, 2014 and May 18, 2017, the architecture firm, through DeQuattro, provided Cromwell with a stream of payments and in-kind benefits valued at $57,549, and in exchange, the architecture firm was paid approximately $4,966,287 under its contract with the Gaming Authority.
The charge of paying a bribe to an agent of an Indian tribal government, or being an agent of an Indian tribal government who accepts a bribe, provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of conspiring to commit bribery provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charges of extortion under color of official right and conspiring to commit extortion each provide for a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000.
Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.