From the editor’s desk: NRI NOW will not publish statement on dismissed case against N.S. administrator

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On October 24, 2022, NRI NOW broke the story: North Smithfield Town Administrator Paul Zwolenski’s former administrative assistant, Donna Rovedo, had filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination and inappropriate conduct on behalf of her former boss.

In the days and weeks that followed, others in Rhode Island media worked to catch up on the story, eventually obtaining copies of the suit filed earlier that month, as we had.

Fast forward a year and a half, and as parties in the lawsuit filed for dismissal, NRI NOW once again brought the news to you first. The dismissal came just weeks after other media sources and local pundits offered headlines proclaiming the case was, “going to trial,” statements likely cultivated as a strategic move by the plaintiff’s attorney, even as the dispute was on the verge of being settled.

NRI NOW left messages for both Rovedo and that attorney this week seeking statements on the dismissal, and on May 20, a reader commenting under the name, “Donna,” wrote on our recent story, “There is concrete proof. Statement to follow in the coming weeks!”

And today, I received a call that is unprecedented in my 15 years as a reporter.

The call was from Rovedo’s attorney, David Cass.

“I don’t think we’re going to engage your outlet with a statement at this time,” Cass chirped, dubbing the communication, ” a courtesy call.”

While I appreciate the, “courtesy,” I can’t help but shake my head. It is certainly Cass and Rovedo’s prerogative to exclude the outlet that’s been covering the story since day one, and to opt, instead, to choose a source that has consistently offered them more favorable coverage, even as the suit itself becomes moot.

And so, dear readers, we write now to let you know that if you would like to hear more about this already settled matter – and you can certainly expect to – you may have to hear the plaintiff’s piece elsewhere. Expect more salacious headlines, commenters in a battle of wits, and proclamations of guilt for an issue that never got its day in court.

We, meanwhile, will strive to continue telling a fair and balanced story despite the overt lack of cooperation.

For now, we move on, and will continue bringing you the most up to date and relevant content you can find on your community.

Your publisher, founder, and unrelenting newshound,

Sandy Hall

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42 COMMENTS

  1. In this Town of MisFits this is NO surprise that things are not getting told the way they should be!

  2. It would be nice if we knew who the players are in this boxing match. Transparency? Why just initials? Sandy does her due diligence for the news. AND the correct news. Whether NRInow was first to publish, is there now a news contest? I would love to know who you “initialed” people are.

    • I never got in the war on who started the disclosure and when. That was nothing I cared about. Only the settlement disclosure and thank you for not butting in….further on facts you obviously messed up and attributed to the wrong person. As for my name, my business, my choice. You no like, then mind your business.

      • Gail: Did you know you were chatting with……ida have to think about it….could it be .. not her again ….a curious cookie cooked by Winnie the Pooh wants to know!!

        • What a hateful little set of ppl you are.Jealous little ppl who love to make stuff up. Name call. Assume. You cannot discuss a damn thing like adults, without ganging up like you did on the military guy. You pick on anyone disagreeing with you. If you are so darn good, run for office. Unhappy ppl dissatisfied with your lives. No wonder your town is in such a debacle, and no one wants to run. You love to gossip, create madness. It’s about time you heard that. Your TC can never make you happy, your TA is never good enough, your finance director never good enough. Two applied, interviewed, and ran off. Even the appraisal companies do not want to do work for the town. You gripe about every single thing. No matter who you will ever have in office, and try as hard as they do, you dislike. They’re never good enough. I would suggest some hefty doctor appts. I laugh at you because your immaturity is so obvious. And you think that your behavior is mature. Run for office. Then see a shrink. Because obviously you’re disappointed with me too. Not a surprise. I expected it, purposely baited you…..now tell me who the fool is.

          • Quote
            “As for my name, my business, my choice. You no like, then mind your business.”
            End Quote

            • Then don’t make an issue if those of us who also do not use our real names…..hypocritical.

    • Gail – The question of where the information was first published comes from my assertion that NRI NOW broke the story. It’s not a race, no, but my point is in the news business if someone isn’t watching and/or willing to take the initiative/risk of being first than many stories go completely unreported. Corruption thrives in the darkness and in these days of shrinking news budgets, what passes for reporting on the state level is often just a regurgitation of press releases and a re-writing of the stories you will find here. BM, however, feels an obscure comment left by some anonymous “truth teller” carries the same weight as publication in an established news source.

      • Well that’s a gross misinterpreted recollection of events that happened while putting words in my mouth.

  3. I try very much not to get involved in these types of conversations, because after all but begging readers to keep the comments civilized, stick to the topic at hand and not make it personal, I’ve realized that there are very few individuals who even attempt to abide by the rules, and I don’t have time for a full time babysitting job. The policy now is I will remove comments upon request only under the condition that the individual making the request has not engaged in the same behavior.
    That said, I definitely have some things to address here.
    First, I have absolutely never said I or this publication leans in any direction. I do all that I can to be as fair and neutral as I can be and keep any personal biases completely out of all stories, a policy throughout my career. The goal is always and has always been to shoot straight, although that gets tough in the political times we live in, as people more and more often seem to demand you “go after” individuals more aggressively …. essentially, pick a side. This has changed significantly for the worse during my years in journalism. The assumption is that if they can’t read in clear bias to the left, my stance must be to the right. Sorry BM, but you have absolutely no idea where I stand politically and that is exactly how it will remain.
    I hope, always, that what you get here from both me and my contributors is straight facts that allow you to form opinions on your own. Again, others often seem to be looking for judgement – they won’t get it here.
    And finally, I did not learn of the suit from a comment section. These days, everyone with a keyboard claims to publish the “truth.” Actual news is a clearinghouse for that gossip and requires facts and documentation.

    • I would like to remind you of a comment you made when another conservative journalist commented on an article however long ago, and you replied saying you even met this individual, and even said it leaned that way. So….. did you mean something else when you said that? I don’t know your political views, nor do I care what ‘side’ you are on.

      As for the comment section portion, I also fact checked what they said, only to confirm it. I have also never said you got your information from there, so please stop trying to put words in my mouth. I was just pointing out the fact that it broke there first, conflicting with the article above. I just want cold hard facts.

      • You are referring to a previous editorial and my response to Pat Ford. I have zero idea how you interpreted that to mean I was saying I lean right. Here’s the exact quote, directed to Mr. Ford:
        “I’ll note that the link you shared to a “national report” is indeed for a far right leaning publication. And my whole point is that this topic is important enough to be of general interest and should not be relegated to the fringes of conventional media.”
        And here’s the link in case anyone is curious what we’re talking about: https://www.nrinow.news/2023/12/26/from-the-editors-desk-are-we-alone/
        The point of that editorial was that politics should not affect what journalists choose to cover and that our job is to give the facts, and let readers make up their own minds. No offense BM, but you are WAY WAY off in your interpretation – to the point where it’s almost offensive.

        • The news didn’t “break” in an anonymous comment. The news broke when someone with accountability provided the public with factual information taken from documentation. When you give gossip the same level of credibility as a news source that actually ASKS to be held accountable and stands behind every published fact – or makes public corrections in the instance it’s not 100% accurate – I imagine it’s easy for you to get confused.

          • Does that person not have accountability then? Do they not ask to be fact checked when making a comment? I also wouldn’t consider it gossip, when going to a website for documentation to fact check.

        • Then I’m sorry to have read that that way, especially with “No, we’re not completely alone…” as it is to be interpret that you were to follow that way, given how fringe and how many right leaning publications went after that.

          • Your comment is barely coherent, but because of the importance to me of making this 100% clear, unfortunately I’m obligated to reply.
            The headline to that piece was “are we alone?” and what followed was a very clear statement about media having an obligation to cover all news – not just news that fit a popular political narrative. Mr. Ford had covered the story extensively, albeit quite under the radar, so some kudos were in order out of respect.
            I’m not sure if you’re intentionally trying to misinterpret my words but it certainly feels that way. My entire livelihood and career have been based on a commitment to non-bias journalism, transparency and integrity. Of course I’m imperfect, and human… but I do hope you realize the type of insult you’re hurling with the insinuation, and take a moment to think about what you are saying.
            This will be my last response to you as I believe my position is pretty clear. We don’t take sides. Period. And anyone who claims we do is likely saying it because they have an agenda. Ours is just to tell the truth.

            • My only agenda is that the news be covered without bias and truthful, while giving equal coverage and no bias toward all individuals. Thank you for trying to make your point as clearly as possible now.

            • BOOM!! mic drop
              BM – I think someone is taking multiple of your proverbial victory laps around you right there!

    • Who actually has the audacity to “throw stones” in the commentary and then run back to the teacher and claim “someone is picking on me”. That’s some hypocrisy.

      Sounds like the recess tattletale!

  4. You have gone unprofessional. This is journalism to you? You griped about posters not being nice. Censored then allowed the ugly back. Who you cozying up to to have spilled the beans on the amount settled on? Have you given the respect to the former town employee you seek in posters towards each other? I think not.

    • Tsk tsk tsk transparency, why would anyone fault her for bringing the public the truth and the facts in a case against a public elected official? Seeing you use the name “transparency”, isn’t that what the public deserves?

      Secondly, as you question whether this is journalism …. this is a letter from the editors news desk or formerly known as , a letter from the editor.

      Sounds like you’re upset that she shared the truth, details and didn’t create clickbait or assumptions of guilt…..very telling.

      • I would like to point out some edits that are needed in this letter, as it’s not true.

        1. News about the settlement was first discovered in VB comment section. Then about a day later, if not two, the details came out via here. Yes, nri was the first to ‘publish’ the details, some of which should have probably stayed hidden.
        2. The headline of the article reads as if nri is choosing not to publish, not the other way around of not getting the story.
        3. I don’t fault her for possibly not choosing this publication. Also, the comments get fiesty when someone, even when they’re in the wrong 100%, will still go and bring support for the accused instead of holding them accountable. As it shows with HR, whoever that may be through lack of transparency, and other commentary persons using fake names.
        4. I would not say fair and balanced, this publication definitely leans heavily to the right, and tries to protect that side more. Fox entertainment used to use that term but got in trouble for it.

        Sorry Sandy, even though we’re related, still keep at it. You’ll get the next big news break, hopefully nothing involving any more lawsuits against the town, or how a town meeting went off the rails.

        • A few questions for you “BM”

          1. How does this news publication “lean to the right”. ?

          2. Just so you know, anonymous comments by “not her again” is “not breaking the story” or considered news. You consider that “news” but don’t call for transparency and call out using a fake name?? Only if it’s an argument against you call out fake names? So safe to assume you know Not Her Again, DaveJ, Kevin Mutto, Harley53, Bob Simpson, Truth Seeker and now Transparency as good friends in your internet land of make believe?

          3. What details should have been kept out of the public purview ?

          The other column still awaits your coaching notes for each member of the
          Meeting as you said you were going o share.

          • Took a day off yesterday as I had other things to work on.

            1. Sandy has said it does.

            2. Breaking a story via comments does count. I know of not her again, harley53, and truthseeker. As for the others I do not know.

            3. I would say the monetary amount, as you and others have dragged the accuser over this. Even going so far as saying since it’s a low amount, she was just looking for money.

      • Let me suggest you leave your mom’s house, get a job and get your own car. Your past posts indicate lack of knowledge on ins premiums etc so that was a clear sign of your age.

        • Weren’t you just complaining about nastiness and ugliness ???

          Or maybe someone challenged your insinuation narrative that you were attempting to cement about rates going up and why? I see you have a crystal ball and can predict the future.

          …Not Her Again..????? Is it ??

            • You should look up consistently playing the victim when challenged and see what profile that fits.

              No hate at all here my dear. 🙂

              • Yes HR you go after everyone about everything. You cannot discuss without attack or attack questions. Need to simply discuss. And yes, look at coastal ins, middle of the US ins, all either leaving areas and states altogether. Why? Claims, high claims, tons of claims due to weather, legalities, you name it. Ins will go up. That is why they ask the state ins commissioner if they can raise it first, and by what percentage allowed. Ins companies are not out to do anyone any favors, you make no money that way. Profit. BM answered you as he did, nicely. So I will say, it is going up. Never down. There you go. And if no more posts suit your fancy, leave them alone. Tons of other good things to read.

          • The article says the rates may stay the same, or it may go up. In normal practice, yes, rates do go up to make up for their loss. It also depends on a numerous amount of other factors. Also, depending on how many lawsuits happen, they could decide to not insure the town anymore, as they said this for the police building before, or just hike rates to something we can’t afford. Regular insurance companies do this all the time, unsure about this one. I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if that happens if the town doesn’t change its ways.

            • Thank you for pointing out and admitting you don’t exactly know that the rates will go up and if they do, you don’t exactly know WHY they will go up. So it’s fair to say we can’t tell what will happen and we can definitively say this settlement will have a financial impact to the town.

              At least you tell the truth unlike your other 3 comrades.

              • What are you even talking about HR? What comrades? What am I admitting to and pointing out? What wild insinuations are you trying to grasp at? Do you need a wellness visit? Is this your call for help?

    • Transparency, HR is correct. This is an opinion piece and is clearly labeled as such. As far as my sources, I would never reveal them, but you should know there are always many – more numerous and varied than you likely think.
      And I’m unclear why you feel I have not given this individual respect. I have made no judgements or statements against her. Some questioned my publication of the settlement amount, and that is a decision I will absolutely defend as relevant news for multiple reasons. First, because there are few things more relevant to most citizens than their bottom line. And secondly., discussion of how this issue would cost taxpayers has been near constant. It would be downright negligent not to explain that we have been told it will not. Unfortunately, RI Interlocal does not seem to engage with press, which is different, btw, from only speaking to a source you believe will give you favorable coverage.

      • There is dismissal and then there is dismissal with prejudice. 2 separate issues legally, technically. So your article title does not fully describe that. Yet. One has to read further.
        It took both sides to agree, to dismiss, in this case, via a settlement. Hence, DWP.
        Then there is a separate action of/by a court, to dismiss against a defendant sans settlement, sans action against a defendant. Technically, different.
        So many go into reading, assuming she may have had no evidence, poor evidence, or just gave up, so it was dismissed. Apples and oranges.
        So my point is, title could mislead some to thinking she brought a frivolous action. We await her full disclosure.
        And by you saying above, that certain statements put out, “may have been issued by defendants attorney as a strategic move,” was not without showing bias. May have been your point of view, your narrative, but uncalled for as to class and dignity. Finger pointing. Let’s be real here.
        And, you had inside information that it was “on the verge of being settled.” No one knew that except the TC and TA. Private discussions because all that was noted was private TC meetings to discuss the case. You cannot assume it was leading to settlement, but discussion on the lawsuit itself only taking place. Technically different again. Which leads me right back to coziness with a certain TC member.

        • Wow – must be hard living live being that paranoid!

          There was a case, it got settled, the amount was disclosed – end of story. Only the 4 of you are dissecting every word in the article. And now it’s the media that’s conspiring against you? LOL

          • Actually HR you dissect us all. Look in the mirror. Paranoid? Lol. That is all you do is name all. Funny thing I am able to predict it!

            • Will continue to dissect or call out flat out lies, half truths, misguided insinuations among other tactics that you attempt to deliver. Thankfully the voters of NS can see through your “transparency” tactics.

              John Beauregard should be servicing a life sentence for all the crimes and atrocities he has committed and Paul should be his cell mate!

              It’s amazing and sad to see the national media tactics being let loose in this small town.

              • Everything I have ever said, done, predicted came true. And I now know exactly who you are. No lies, no nothing that suits your narrative hate and misinformation deflection. You cannot manipulate some of us who are well schooled in abnormal psychology and its definitive behaviors. Go beyond the deck; open the curtains, mow for your mom now and then, and get a job instead of staying on the computer all day in your room which, your mom pays for. Then you will experience the real world, and might even learn about how insurance, policies and premiums, work.

        • Transparency, you are certainly entitled to your opinion on this and my intent is not to argue about it. But if you look up news articles on similar lawsuits you will consistently find the same information, stated much the same way as it was in my short story on this settlement – including the terms when known. There was nothing unusual or intrusive about my reporting. From a news perspective, it was pretty standard.
          The editorial (opinion) piece here is definitely less standard and I debated publishing it, but when we do not publish the statement from the Ms. Rovedo, I will be asked why. so I needed to let readers know that wasn’t by choice, and that I have actively pursued the information. It is not normal or standard at all to release information weeks or months after settling a matter to a specific news source that will offer more favorable coverage.
          You are incorrect regarding your assumption on where my information came from. The reality is that doesn’t matter – what’s relevant regardless of the source (or sources) is that the information accurate. But so you are aware, your implication here is not on point at all.
          Which leads me to the last I intend to say on this matter: If we published factually accurate information in a standard way, which we did, the criticism here is only about how those facts might be interpreted. I do not control how straightforward and accurate information in a case could “make it look” and in this instance, I have also been excluded from the opportunity to provide more balance.

  5. Good for this publication to be as truthful and forthcoming in its published stories. An excellent source of local info.

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