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An alternative theory on A. Duie Pyle

Jeff Britt, a central figure in the FBI's investigation of possible State House chicanery and A. Duie Pyle's non-receipt of a $333,000 tax break, was previously Governor Carcieri's liaison to "dissident Democrats" in the General Assembly.

A few years ago, these dissident Democrats mounted an unsuccessful challenge to House Speaker William J. Murphy.

Today, Mike Stanton reports,

Though Rhode Island House Speaker William J. Murphy says he didn’t know about a proposed tax break for a Pennsylvania trucking company, a Johnston lawmaker says that he told a federal grand jury recently that he spoke to Murphy in the waning days of the 2007 session about the legislation.

Rep. Stephen R. Ucci, D-Johnston, testified that he took his concerns to Murphy that Senate Finance Chairman Stephen D. Alves was purportedly opposed to the tax break because the Town of Johnston had failed to invest pension funds with Alves, a stockbroker. The legislation — which would have granted a $330,000 tax break to A. Duie Pyle for bringing jobs to Johnston — died at the State House in June and has since become the subject of an FBI corruption investigation.

Could the demise of Duie Pyle's tax break, perhaps, be related to Murphy's presumed pique toward Britt? This theory has gained at least a little consideration at the State House.

Stanton's story includes this:

Murphy declined to talk to The Journal yesterday, instead issuing a statement that the House Finance Committee, after a public hearing, determined that the tax break for Duie Pyle “was not worthy of further consideration.”

“If circumstances should change, the matter could be revisited in the future,” Murphy’s statement continued.

As for whether he or other House leaders have been contacted by federal investigators or subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury, Murphy’s statement said, “Unlike others, I will not comment on any questions involving purported court proceedings in the above-entitled matter.”

 I placed a call this morning to Larry Berman. If he gets back to me with comment, I'll post an update.

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