New twist: Flanders is working for the embattled City of Providence
Former Supreme Court justice Robert Flanders, one of the most prominent lawyers in the state and the receiver for Central Falls, is working for the administration of Providence Mayor Angel Taveras as Rhode Island’s largest city tries to stave off bankruptcy.
Flanders disclosed the relationship during a brief interview following a meeting late this afternoon with Taveras at City Hall:
We had a good discussion. This was an attorney-client conversation, so I’m not really at liberty to discuss all the details. But it was a good conversation. The mayor, obviously, is facing some tough choices. We talked about my experience in Central Falls, and obviously, some of the things he’s facing here in the city. That’s about all I can say about the conversation at this point.
Flanders said the conversation was privileged “because [Taveras] asked me as a lawyer to give him some advice about matters that are facing the city . . . The city’s already engaged our firm.”
Taveras spokesman David Ortiz cast the revelation as not particularly surprising, saying that Flanders has been working for the city for weeks, if not months.
But the involvement in Providence of a man who’s been on the frontlines of municipal bankruptcy in Central Falls adds another layer of interest to the capital city’s fight for solvency.
Ortiz said the meeting between Flanders and Taveras wasn’t meant to send a signal to public-safety retirees in Providence. “This was the mayor reaching out to the receiver of Cental Falls,” Ortiz said, “just as he reached out to the governor and the leadership at the Statehouse to talk about the situation that Providence is currently facing.”
Taveras said this of Flanders, “He’s obviously a very smart man –former Supreme Court jusrice and has experience that I hope we never have. But it’s important for us to look at all options. Everything’s on the table, and I have to do my due diligence.”
Before heading off for the ceremonial swearing in of Providence Police Chief, Taveras added this about Flanders: “He gave us a pretty clear understanding of what their experience has been like in Central Falls.”