CUMBERLAND, RI (WPRI) – Former Chief of Staff to Governor Dan McKee Tony Silva listed an unregistered construction company on a document relating to a house he built in 2018 and sold the next year, despite claims the business has never been active, goal 12 has learned.
Documents at Cumberland City Hall indicate that Silva listed My Hero Construction as the company that built a single family home at 116 Canning Street in Cumberland. The notation is contained on a handwritten disclosure form from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which Silva signed on February 8, 2019.
In his mandatory financial disclosures to the RI Ethics Committee, Silva lists My Hero Construction as an income generating company he founded in 2018. However, last week he told the Providence Journal in an email, “My Hero Construction has NEVER been in operation and projects have never been started or completed.”
There is no record that My Hero Construction was ever affiliated with the Secretary of State’s office, a requirement for companies operating in Rhode Island. There is also no record of the company’s registration with the state through the RI Contractors’ Registration and Licensing Board.
Silva did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the newly discovered papers on Tuesday.
Brian Hodge, a spokesman for the RI Department of Business Regulation, suggested the state is investigating My Hero but declined to say more.
“The DBR does not comment on an ongoing investigation and possible violations are investigated impartially by the department,” he said.
McKee announced Monday that he has parted ways with Silva, effective immediately, amid mounting controversy over his longtime advisor’s efforts to develop a separate wetland property on the same Cumberland Street, Canning Street. The city’s mayor, Jeff Mutter, told Target 12 he was concerned about what Silva had told him about the project in March and later reported the conversation to the governor.
Attorney General Peter Neronha is currently investigating actions related to wetland development at McKee’s request. The state GOP has filed a separate ethics complaint against Silva.
It’s unclear how much McKee has been told about My Hero Construction. He declined to answer a question on the matter at his weekly press conference on Tuesday, referring to the written statement he made on Monday regarding Silva’s departure.
However, the governor said he would have no problem being questioned about Silva by investigators when they file an application.
“We told the Attorney General that all of our staff, all of our departments, will cooperate, and that would not absolve me as governor,” McKee, a Democrat who took office in March, told reporters. “If for any reason I’m called, I’ll be happy to go.”
Documents show that Silva purchased the original lot of vacant land at 116 Canning Street for $ 27,000 in April 2018. The following month, he received planning permission to build a new two-bedroom house there, suggesting that it would be inhabited by the owners. In December of the same year he received a certificate of residence entitlement.
Silva sold the newly built home for $ 382,950 the following March, just under a year after buying the vacant land and a month after filing the HUD disclosure form with City Hall that said it was being built by My Hero Construction .
There is also a discrepancy between Silva’s various documents regarding the location of My Hero Construction’s operations.
While the 2019 HUD Disclosure Form lists My Hero’s business address as owned by Silva in Narragansett, its ethical disclosures indicate its business address as 367 West Wrentham Rd. in Cumberland. The Cumberland City Surveyor database does not have an ownership record for the latter address.
Ted Nesi ([email protected]) is an investigative reporter for Target 12 and the Politics / Business Editor for 12 News. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesis notes on Saturdays. Connect with him Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram
Tim White, Eli Sherman, and Tolly Taylor contributed to this report.