Nominee declines I-195 commission post

Rogers cites potential conflict of interest between his law firm and the commission’s work

Senior Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Patrick Rogers, Gov. Lincoln Chafee’s ’75 P’14 P’17 nominee to serve as one of seven commissioners on the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission, declined the offer last Thursday, on the day of his proposed confirmation, citing concerns about the potential conflict of interest between service on the Commission and his work with Hinckley Allen and Snyder L.L.P.

Rogers was Chafee’s first chief of staff and worked in the governor’s office through 2011, before beginning work in early 2012 at Hinckley Allen and Snyder, serving as chairman of the firm’s Providence Strategic Growth Committee and focusing on “generating more clients, helping businesses grow and recruiting others to work at the firm,” the Providence Journal reported Thursday.

In his letter — addressed to both Chafee and Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed — Rogers wrote that “it has been an honor to have been asked to serve on the Commission,” but declined the offer after further consideration of the interests of his firm’s clients and Commission precedent, “which would effectively prevent any Hinckley Allen lawyers from representing any current or future clients before the Commission.”

The Commission, formed in 2011, owns the 21 LINK land parcels that now stand in place of the I-195 highway, and is tasked with managing “the sale, marketing and oversight” of the land, according to the group’s website.

In his letter, Rogers wrote that this decision would not only allow Hinckley Allen and Snyder to “take seriously (its) ethical obligations to clients,” but would also ensure that the Commission could function “with integrity and transparency,” without “the appearance of any possible conflict.”

Though the Senate Committee on Commerce unanimously approved Rogers’ appointment, it will relaunch the review process following Chafee’s next nomination.

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