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State House offices say no black mold has been found

Test results confirm that no black mold was found in the Joint Committee on Legislative Services office. These findings add yet another dimension to the drama that led investigators to search a dumpster at the State House.

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello’s top aides stated that black mold was what pushed an emergency renovation in the JCLS offices. The emergency renovations would include the removal of carpeting and filing cabinets, along with other materials that were located in the office. The emergency work coincided with a state police investigation, as well as a lawsuit that involved JCLS, factors that all raised questions.

After the work commenced, the Rhode Island Department of Administration – which handles the State House buildings – said that it had learned from JCLS that a mold test was not conducted before the renovations started. As such, officials ordered a test. The test, which was completed by Silva Environmental & Associates, revealed that there was no evidence of black mold in the office.

“We did not find black mold. Not at all. Completely zero,” M. Frank Silva, an industrial hygienist for the company, said.

However, the report did find that there was a “moderate” level of mold sports in the air samples the company collected from the office, but the employee who conducted the air quality test told a local news station that it wasn’t unusual and that the results did not indicate that there was a cause for concern. Additionally, some of the flooring was removed from the office before the inspection of the containment area was completed, which made it impossible to inspect the original areas.

State police officials stated that they responded to the State House out of an “abundance of caution” after they received a tip regarding the potential of inappropriate disposal of documents from the JCLS office. The local news station watched an investigator look through a dumpster outside the State House where the materials from the offices were disposed.

When asked about the renovation, Larry Berman, a spokesperson for Mattiello, said that an employee had found black mold underneath her desk. That discovery prompted the evacuation of the offices and the removal and disposal of materials. The renovations were completed by Single Source, which did not perform a mold test before they began working.

Single Source is a Warwick-based company that is owned and operated by the Pomeranz family. The family has given more than $4,000 to key members of the Democratic Party since 2005, including Mattiello and House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi.

Mike Pomeranz, the owner of Single Source, said that his company was not hired to do mold remediation. “It is not the responsibility of Single Source to request mold testing”, Pomeranz stated in an email.

After receiving the results, Berman said, “We are glad the test results came back the way they did following the steam pipe leak and water damage.”

Mold Inspection & Testing Providence is a leading mold assessment company. Despite the negative findings of the mold tests that were preformed, we urge the JCLS to arrange for regular mold testing of all of their offices to ensure the safety of those who work there. To speak with an MI&T representative, please call 401.400.1984.

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