Two Rhode Island officials may have gotten a little too salty for New England when they traveled to Philadelphia to study a possible development, sparking outrage and investigations.

Lindsey Scannapieco, managing partner of Scout Ltd., which oversaw the redevelopment of the Bok Building in Philadelphia, has invited Rhode Island officials to visit — David Patten, director of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance ; and James Thorsen, now a former director of administration — hoping to raise money for a project in Providence, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

But the alleged behavior of Ocean State officials during the visit was deemed “bizarre, offensive and unprofessional,” prompting Scannapieco and colleague Everett Abitbol to document the incidents in emails that eventually reached Rhode Island’s governor.

According to the outlet, the email contained the following access details:

  • Before the tour, Patten allegedly demanded fresh coffee, croissants and six-packs of Diet Coke, giving Scannapieco a three-hour deadline to convince them to provide $55 million in funding.
  • During the tour, Patten made inappropriate comments about Scannapieco’s appearance and questioned her husband’s absence. He also made offensive remarks about others, including a health care professional and an Asian American staff member.
  • Patten and Thorsen reportedly made demands and solicited gifts from various tenants they visited, raising ethical questions.

Patten is currently on paid administrative leave, while Thorsen resigned before his trip and is now working at the U.S. Treasury Department.

The revelations sparked two investigations, one led by the Rhode Island State Police and the other by the governor’s office.

Scannapieco said she was disappointed by the officers’ actions and stressed her commitment to maintaining the Bok as an inclusive and safe space for the community. She said she hoped the incident would not jeopardize funding and support for the Rhode Island development.

Lawyers representing Patten attributed his actions to a mental health event characterized by acute stress. In the years leading up to this trip, Patten experienced significant personal loss.

The parties involved have yet to comment on the matter.

— Ted Glazer

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