|Rhode Island Rep. Gordon Fox (right) with his same-sex partner, Marcus LaFond|
In 2004, the Journal says Fox supported legislation to award a privatization agreement of the state's lottery to GTECH, the same Italian-owned company that Indiana recently awarded control of its Hoosier Lottery. Fox later agreed to pay a $10,000 ethics fine after it was disclosed that he knew that he would get legal work from the lottery giant when he backed passage of the privatization bill. I truly believe there was similar corrupt influence involved in the awarding of the lottery contract to GTECH here in Indiana, but per usual operating procedure, nothing was done about it.
Earlier this year, Fox agreed to pay another $1,500 ethics fine for failing to report $43,000 in legal fees he was paid to prepare loan documentation work for Providence's economic development agency. Many of those loans became an issue in his last re-election campaign after it was disclosed that many of the recipients were not qualified borrowers and many defaulted on their loans. Rhode Island lawmakers are required under state law to disclose all work they do for public agencies. Fox said that he didn't believe he was required to disclose the work because he performed it as a subcontractor for another law firm, a practice that I believe happens here in Indiana quite frequently without the general public's knowledge. It's an easy way for bigger law firms and other vendors that perform work for public agencies to purchase control of other people who serve in state legislatures and as members of county and municipal councils.
The Journal notes that Fox also played a key role in securing a $125 million state loan guarantee for a video company, 38 Studios, which was owned by former Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling. The company later went bankrupt, leaving Rhode Island taxpayers on the hook to repay $100 million in debt owed by the company. Fox supposedly had close ties to another attorney who brokered the deal.
The highlight of Fox's tenure according to the Journal was the passage of the state's law in 2013 legalizing same-sex marriages, making it the 13th state in the country at the time to do so. In November, 2013, Fox married his long-time gay partner, Marcus LaFond, a hair salon owner, in his State House office. Fox is described as being African-American based on his ethnicity of his mother, who is from Cape Verde.
It's interesting that there are so many public corruption cases taking place in other states involving key state and local officials while our U.S. Attorney's Office does absolutely nothing about corruption that is equally as bad as what we read about being prosecuted in other states. Joe Hogsett should hold his head in shame at his lack of action, but he won't because he knows that he will benefit greatly in the future by protecting the corrupt ruling class that runs the state of Indiana and the City of Indianapolis.