Attorney General Peter Kilmartin has brought together business leaders from a broad spectrum of industries in Rhode Island to form a Task Force to identify ways the Office of the Attorney General can support the Rhode Island economy.

“Wherever I go, business owners ask me what the Office of Attorney General is doing to improve the business climate to foster the creation of good jobs in Rhode Island.  While the Office of Attorney General traditionally does not play a leading role in economic development, it is incumbent upon all elected leaders to help move Rhode Island in the right direction and to advocate for policies that result in a stronger economy,” said Kilmartin.

The goal of the Task Force is to ensure a level playing field for all businesses, to make sure laws are equally applied and equally enforced, to review laws that may be an impediment to businesses, to make Rhode Island more competitive and to help existing businesses begin to grow and hire again by creating a fair, honest and predicable business climate.

“Each member of the Business Task Force is invested in Rhode Island and wants to improve the economic climate to ensure that the state, as well as their own business, succeeds,” continued Kilmartin.  “In order to affect change, we need to work together to first identify the problems in the current system and second, develop concrete solutions that will have a real and positive impact on our business climate and our economy.”

The Task Force includes representatives from small, medium and large businesses and covers multiple business sectors including hospitality, insurance, finance, retail, renewable energy, medicine, manufacturing, and labor.  Recently the Task Force met to identify its top priorities, which include:

Public Corruption: it is critical for businesses to have confidence in elected officials, free from insider deals and quid pro quo and politics.

The Underground Economy: to work with law enforcement and other state agencies to prosecute individuals and businesses that compete unfairly by using schemes to conceal their activities and their true tax liability from government licensing, regulatory, and taxing agencies.

Business Fraud: to prosecute individuals and business that hurt legitimate businesses and consumers by violating the law.

Streamlining Regulatory Requirements: to use the authority of this office to help remove onerous regulatory barriers and licensing requirements, allowing business to operate freely without unnecessarily burdensome government interference.

It is the intention of the Task Force to develop a set of concrete recommendations and propose legislation to strengthen our economy and to help make Rhode Island a more competitive place to do business.  “We have targeted key areas in which the Office of Attorney General can tackle, including rooting out abuse, fraud and political corruption and prosecuting those who subvert the economy,” concluded Kilmartin.

Members of the Task Force include:

Ernest Almonte CEO Almonte Group, LLC

Bernard Buonanno Managing Director Riparian Partners

Robert Chew Chief Energy Consultant R.W. Chew, LLC.

Edward Cooney Sr. Vice President and Treasurer Nortek, Inc.

Jeremy Crisp Managing Partner Nail Communications

Steve Cronin President and CEO Mercury

Ken Cusson Director of Business Development Newport Harbor Corporation

Irene Fasano Director of Administration Piccerelli, Gilstein & Company, LLP

Ray Fogarty Director Bryant University

Mark Hayward District Director US Small Business Administration

Kerry McKay Owner McKay’s Furniture

F. Paul Mooney President George Fuller & Sons

Edward Quinlan President Hospital Association of Rhode Island

Armand Sabitoni General Secretary/Treasurer Laborer’s International Union of North America

Brian Spero Vice President and General Counsel Beacon Mutual Insurance Company

Denice Spero Co-Director Institute for Immunology and Informatics iCubed

Robert Suglia Senior Vice President and General Counsel Amica Mutual Insurance Company

Barbara Thornton Principal Brewster Thornton Group Architects, LLP

Vanessa Toledo-Vickers President Virtual Marketing Associates

Laurie White President Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce

For more information about the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Business Task Force, please visit