Investigation reveals questionable behavior by fire chief
Chief Paul Labbadia is seen leaving work to go play golf, drinking during the day and smoking marijuana before getting behind the wheel
COVENTRY, R.I. — A Target 12 Investigation that involved months of undercover work has raised serious questions over a lack of accountability and public safety concerns about the chief at the Coventry Fire District.
Chief Paul Labbadia is seen in undercover video leaving work in a taxpayer-funded department vehicle to go play golf in another town for hours on end; drinking during the day, then driving the fire department vehicle back to work; and even taking the department vehicle to a party on Federal Hill, where he drank and appeared to smoke — and share — marijuana before once again getting behind the wheel.
In a wide-ranging interview with Target 12, Labbadia denied any wrongdoing. Taxpayers in the Coventry Fire District paid the highest residential tax rate charged in any of Rhode Island’s 44 local fire districts in the 2011-12 fiscal year, according to a study released last year by the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council, a think tank. The district’s residential tax rate was $2.80 per $1,000 of assessed property value.