PAWTUCKET, RI (WPRI) – The Pawtucket Board of Solicitors received an updated version of Rep. Carlos Tobon’s voter registration card overnight Tuesday, eliminating the need for a hearing next week.
Pawtucket Registrar Kenneth McGill told Target 12 the new card was placed in a city drop box Tuesday night, showing the Pawtucket Democrat now listing his Lawn Avenue home as his place of residence rather than her parents’ home on Bloomingdale’s Avenue.
Tobon had been registered to vote from his parents’ home, although he freely admitted to living at the Lawn Avenue address since at least 2013 – all the time he was a member of the RI House of Representatives.
The updated registration card comes after a Target 12 investigation raised questions about Tobon’s home address, prompting the city’s canvassing board to send a letter to both addresses, asking him to correct his registration on the electoral lists or to appear at a meeting next week.
After receiving the new map, McGill said the meeting would not be necessary and any further action would be left to law enforcement.
“It’s the board’s job to get the voter to the right address and make sure our voters lists are correct,” McGill explained in an email. “Anything that legally should be prosecuted through the [R.I. Attorney General’s] Office. These are the normal steps we would take for any voter. Thank you and WPRI for raising this issue with the Board of Directors so that we can correct the Pawtucket voters rolls. I expect there will be no further action.
This story was updated on Wednesday, May 11. The original story is below
PAWTUCKET, RI (WPRI) – The Pawtucket Board of Solicitors has hand-delivered a letter to two addresses where State Representative Carlos Tobon claimed to live, saying the embattled lawmaker must correct his voter registration or stand appear at a hearing next week.
The letter was sent just days after a Target 12 investigation examining Democrat Pawtucket’s financial troubles raised questions about whether the lawmaker lives where he is registered to vote.
Tobon, first elected to the RI House of Representatives in 2014, listed 30 Bloomingdale Ave. on all national and local election documents during his tenure. But according to two sworn depositions, a 2019 bankruptcy filing, and an interview with Target 12, Tobon actually lived at 104 Lawn Ave., which is two blocks from Bloomingdale’s and still in his neighborhood.
“It has come to the attention of the Pawtucket Canvassers Council through a report on WPRI 12 that you may not be living at the address you listed on your voter registration card,” a Board of Solicitors President Maria Pavao writes in the letter.
Pawtucket ordered the city sergeant to hand-deliver two versions of the same letter to 30 Bloomingdale Ave. — which is owned by Tobon’s parents — and 104 Lawn Ave., which is owned by the lawmaker’s wife through a collapsing limited liability company in good standing with the state.
The letter cites a state election law that requires a person’s residence for voting purposes to be their “fixed and established domicile,” and Pavao pointed out, “A person can have only one domicile.”
The council ordered Tobon either to correct his voter card and return it to the council or to appear for a hearing on May 17 at 1:30 p.m. and explain why his list is correct. According to the city, Tobon has voted in 14 separate elections since 2013, and he has always listed the Bloomingdale Avenue address as his home during that time.
Separately on Tuesday, Attorney General Peter Neronha weighed in on the Tobon revelations for the first time, saying there was “a lot to go through” in Target 12’s report while declining to go into specifics.
“Just speaking very broadly, when you have the allegations, the reports that you’ve made, there’s a combination of things that raise,” Neronha said during a live interview on 12 News at 4. “Some are political obviously, some are civil – and a lot of these things are before the courts – and there may be things that other law enforcement officials may need to look into.
“I have read the reports with interest, and there have been other questions that have come to us from the media in the past,” he said. “So we are following a process and I may be able to comment later.”
The action by Pawtucket election officials came after Mayor Donald Grebien called the new information about Tobon “discouraging”.
“It was extremely disappointing to find out and my heart goes out to those who were hurt by this,” Grebien said over the weekend. “When something like this comes to light, it really affects the community as a whole.”
House Speaker Joe Shekarchi requested and received Tobon’s resignation from various legislative positions hours after the Target 12 report, including his positions as subcommittee chairman on the influential Finance Committee of House and Deputy Majority Leader.
Shekarchi also quickly drafted a new policy that prohibits State House attorneys from representing House and Senate lawmakers in private disputes — a rule that was spurred by the fact that House attorney John Manni was defending Tobon in a civil dispute involving a 17-year debt. he owed a friend.
On Monday, Manni filed a motion to step aside as Tobon’s attorney, citing the new policy.
Tobon was absent from Tuesday’s House session, which was the first time the body had met since he resigned from the finance committee.
In an interview with Target 12, Tobon admitted he made mistakes, but said he never meant to deceive anyone. He did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday evening.
Eli Sherman (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Target 12 investigative reporter for 12 News. Connect with him on Twitter and on Facebook.
Tim White (email@example.com) is the editor of Target 12 and chief investigative reporter for 12 News, and host of Newsmakers. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook.
Ted Nesi (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and a 12 News political/economics editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Twitter and Facebook
Kim Kalunian contributed to this report.