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Thanks for nothing: Rhode Island Turkeys 2010

In our second annual list of Rhode Island Turkeys, the Phoenix fingers 12 people and institutions who committed crimes against the state
By PROVIDENCE PHOENIX STAFF  |  November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving has arrived. And you know what that means: dinner with your boorish uncle, the disturbing quiver of canned cranberry sauce, and the Phoenix's second annual list of Rhode Island turkeys — people and institutions who committed crimes against the state in the past year.

Some of those crimes were, quite literally, crimes. This is Rhode Island, after all. But there were other infractions, too: attacks on the local economy, affronts to free speech; the long arm of Rhody Ridiculousness even reached the White House at the height of campaign season.

Yes, the flock of turkeys was unusually large this year. So grab a fork and dig in — with so many to choose from, we've got some particularly choice birds.

FOOT, MEET MOUTH After his outburst, voters told Caprio to “shove it.”

Frank Caprio, ertswhile Democratic candidate for governor, is no bird brain.

But he sure looked like one when he went on talk radio and told President Obama — who had declined to back the would-be-gubnah — that he could take his endorsement and "shove it."

Yes, with just two inglorious words, Caprio managed to:

a) squander whatever chance he still had to win,

b) embarrass a state with a pretty high threshold for embarrassment, and

c) give hecklers and wiseass columnists fodder for a lifetime.


"Shoveitgate" began with an interview on talk-radio host John DePetro's show. But it wasn't the only controversy the morning-drive squawker would court this fall.

WJAR-TV reported a couple of weeks ago that documents in a divorce proceeding suggest DePetro had an affair with a married woman — and threatened her family via text message when the jig was up.

Now, extramarital activity is not, in and of itself, grounds for turkeydom — though DePetro's fondness for exploiting others' domestic disquietude on-air makes his own infidelity borderline birdy.

But DePetro does get a turkey for this text message, which he allegedly sent to his paramour: "ri monthly has a story coming out where i am listed as one of the top 10 most powerful in ri. If they" — his lover's family, apparently — "try to f*** me I will kill them."

Oh, John, there is so much wrong with that message. Not the least of which is this pleasing little factoid: you didn't actually make the Rhode Island Monthly list.


For months, Rhode Island politicians have been kicking the stuffing out of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation for approving a $75 million loan guarantee for former Red Sox pitcher and insufferable blowhard Curt Schilling's 38 Studios video game company.

And rightly so. The deal represents a big bet on a single company, operating in a highly competitive sector, with no track record.

It is, in other words, a perfect symbol for something much larger and more worrisome, something that goes beyond the EDC: Rhode Island's haphazard, pin-the-tale-on-the-turkey, is-this-really-the-best-we-can-do? approach to economic development.

Gobble, gobble!


Lincoln Chafee, our turkey-elect, was not the gaffe-a-minute candidate we were all hoping for. But he had one doozy.

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Related: Not tough enough?, The next Scott Brown?, Might as well jump, More more >
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