- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - In a story Sept. 14 about former House Speaker Gordon Fox, The Associated Press erroneously reported that Fox had not voted on the state budget; he did.

A corrected version of the story is below:

6 months on, still no word on Fox Statehouse raid

6 months after raid on Fox’s home, Statehouse office, still no word on what prompted them

By MICHELLE R. SMITH

Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Nearly six months after federal and state authorities raided the home and Statehouse office of then-Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox, there is still no word on what prompted the raids and no charges have been filed. But some questionable activities by Fox have come to light, including an unreported personal loan from a registered lobbyist.

Legal experts say the probe, which includes a grand jury investigation, has the potential to go on for years.

“I’m sure it’s alive, whatever it is, because if it weren’t alive, you would have heard that,” said Dennis Roberts II, a former state attorney general. “It is kind of dramatic to have a whole bunch of law enforcement go into the speaker’s office and cart out boxes. Being dramatic is one thing, and being provable in court is another.”

The raids on March 21 by the U.S. Attorney’s office, FBI, IRS and State Police prompted Fox to resign his speakership, although he remained in the House. He did not run for re-election, and on Tuesday, community activist Aaron Regunberg won the Democratic nomination for his seat in House District 4, on the East Side of Providence. The speaker’s chair was won shortly after Fox’s resignation by Nicholas Mattiello, a Cranston Democrat.

The U.S. Attorney’s office would not comment on the status of the case, and Fox did not return messages seeking comment.

Fox laid low for a time after the raids but on April 30 he returned to the House, voting on legislation over several weeks. After a time, he disappeared from the House chamber again in the final days of the session.

In the meantime, his name surfaced again and again in the news.

Fox was subpoenaed for records related to his involvement in the loan guarantee program that gave the now-bankrupt video game company 38 Studios a $75 million loan guarantee. Fox fought the subpoena, brought by a defendant in a lawsuit over the failed deal, but lost.

His campaign finance records have come under scrutiny after the Board of Elections said it had been contacted by federal authorities. An Associated Press analysis of his records showed that 90 expense checks out of 1,000 were unaccounted for over a six-year period, with about half of those unaccounted for in 2012 and 2013 alone. Fox also had a Statehouse employee doing his campaign books and acted as his own campaign treasurer, practices criticized by watchdog groups.

Fox is several weeks late in fling his second quarter campaign finance reports, which were due July 31. Richard Thornton of the Board of Elections says he is now being fined $2 per day for the late report.

Law enforcement has also subpoenaed the city of Providence for records pertaining to Fox.

In addition, Fox in June reported to the state ethics commission that he had received a previously undisclosed $10,000 personal loan from a registered lobbyist in 2009. It remained unpaid throughout his speakership, which began in 2010.

In addition to his legal troubles, Fox has had some personal struggles. He put his house up for sale in April for $615,000. It was still on the market this month, but at a much reduced price of $550,000.

Robert Flanders, a former state Supreme Court justice now of the law firm Hinckley Allen, said he expects prosecutors are sifting carefully through everything they have.

“They’re very deliberate,” he said. “They have all the resources of the federal government behind them, and they’re not pressed for time.”

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