After significant local and national news coverage about the tragic death of a detainee, Hiu Liu “Jason” Ng, the board of the Wyatt Detention Facility last night fired its executive director and his management firm, stressing his role in creating economic problems for the Central Falls prison.
In a sweeping denunciation, the Central Falls Detention Facility Corporation board unanimously passed a series of motions that terminated Anthony Ventetuolo Jr. and his Warwick-based real estate management firm, Avcorr Management LLC.
Bruce Corrigan, board vice chairman, issued a blistering condemnation of Ventetuolo and accused him of trying to intimidate the newly reorganized board by bringing in a video photographer, stenographer and lawyers to meetings.
He also accused Ventetuolo and various spokesmen that he has employed of questioning the intelligence of the board members — working-class people, including two retired firefighters, a prison guard, a janitor and a factory floor manager.
Meanwhile, Corrigan said, under Ventetuolo’s management, the city-owned jail continues to bleed money and costly criminal and civil investigations have been launched into the death of a Chinese national who died while in Wyatt custody last summer.
“While all this exists, Avcorr has disappeared and provided us with no answers,” he said. “What we need now is leadership.”
Neither Ventetuolo, nor his lawyer, Joseph J. McGair, of Warwick, attended the board meeting. Afterward, McGair, who was reached by telephone, was highly critical of the board and its actions. He accused the board of carrying the water for Mayor Charles D. Moreau, who has been intent on ousting Ventetuolo and his firm.
“I think this is reckless,” McGair said. “We have tried to cooperate with them since day one. They aren’t interested in cooperating with us. They are interested in a political witch hunt.”
McGair said he has no intention of going to court on Tuesday to seek a restraining order that would block the board from terminating Ventetuolo and Avcorr. But he said that the firing is illegal and a court battle will ensue.
The board voted to have Warden Wayne Salisbury Jr. and Tammy Novo, the jail’s chief financial officer, handle all of Wyatt’s “operational and administrative matters.” Those duties include having Salisbury and his staff secure all documents, disks and corporate assets belonging to the board or jail that are in Ventetuolo’s possession.
This move comes on the heels of a federal lawsuit filed by Ng’s family against Wyatt and others.