By Associated Press - Tuesday, February 4, 2020

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Inspectors in Rhode Island found no evidence of black mold days after a General Assembly office was evacuated.

The Joint Committee on Legislative Services offices were cleared after an employee reported finding mold under her desk, and aides to House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello said last week that renovations began as a result. The work, which included the removal of filing cabinets, raised concerns because it coincided with a lawsuit involving the committee and a state police investigation.

When the committee revealed that no official test had been done to check for black mold before the work began, state officials ordered one. The report, which was released on Monday, found no black mold.

The report did find a “moderate” level of mold spores in air samples from the office, but the technician who conducted the test told WPRI-TV that it did not indicate a cause for concern.

Mattiello has faced criticism after ordering a performance audit of the Rhode Island Convention Center Authority through the committee. He’s been accused of using the investigation as retaliation for disciplinary action against one of his campaign donors.

Mattiello said the audit wasn’t related to the employee, though he canceled it after questions were raised. House Minority Leader Blake Filippi filed a lawsuit accusing Mattiello of abusing his power.

State police inspected a Statehouse dumpster on a tip that documents were removed from the committee’s office. It is unclear if that investigation is ongoing.

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