Friday 7 April 2023
In 2017, GoLocal’s investigative series documented how Jorge Elorza management’s contract to lease a restaurant space in Waterplace Park to Michael Mota and his associates was not properly approved by the city’s Contract Supply Board. I questioned how I pushed forward.
One of Mota’s associates in Skyline’s launch was David Pontarelli — he had been fired from the city as a no-show worker Exactly 4 years ago.
After that, the city of Providence repeatedly forgave rent arrears and lowered the rent.
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All the while, Mota and his cronies were funneling tens of thousands of dollars into political campaigns for Elorza, newly-elected mayor Brett Smiley, and then-city councilor David Salvatore. Elorza received over $10,000. Smiley received $2,000 just days before his inauguration.
After years of delinquent payments, Providence city officials are now demanding proof that Mota’s Skyline is in compliance with its lease.
Million contracts, city employees fired
In 2017, Skyline won a 10-year contract and will pay $91,250 in the first year, with provisions for a second 10-year contract. Under the lease dated May 23, 2016, Skyline will pay the City of Providence over his $1 million over his first ten years.
The Errolza administration has repeatedly refused to answer questions about Mota’s outstanding payments.
When the Errolza administration first gave Mota, Pontarelli, and crew the lease on the Waterplace skyline, GoLocal revealed Pontarelli’s checkered backdrop.
In 2012, Pontarelli was fired from the City of Providence for being a “no-show” worker and seizing city property for use in a nightclub he managed at the same time.
As reported by GoLocal, Elorza’s administration has awarded a multi-million dollar lease to a group of companies including Pontarelli, giving him control over Providence’s iconic Waterplace Park.
The contract was issued by the Park Service and approved by the Contracts and Supply Committee, chaired by Elorza at the time.
A 2012 Target 12 study tracked Pontarelli for a total of 120 hours and found that during Providence taxpayer hours, he repeatedly shaved his eyebrows, worked another job, and went shopping.
Of Pontarelli, WPRI’s Tim White said, “Soak up the sun and eat on the hills.”
In a press release about his latest venture, Pontarelli said, “The Waterplace Skyline breathes new life into Providence…you can clearly see how the Waterplace Skyline will take Providence to the next level. ”
At the time of the WPRI investigation, Pontarelli’s actions were heavily criticized.
“It’s outrageous and infuriating,” said then-mayor Ángel Taveras after being shown Pontarelli’s video. “This is a terrifying example. I do not endorse it.
Pontarelli was reportedly suspended by the Taveras government and later fired.
Pontarelli has since left the group running Skyline.
Unpaid and Forgiveness by Elorza
It didn’t take long. By December 2017, Waterplace’s Skyline was months behind on rent payments, and Elorza had already cut his lease payments by $70,000. This came at about the same time that club owners poured thousands of campaign donations into Elorza.
In a sophisticated May 2016 announcement, Elorza announced the club’s opening at a press conference alongside Mike Mota, Pontarelli, a fired city employee. Joseph Rich and Chuck Delpidio, owners of a construction company and Mota’s father-in-law; Delpidio is associated with a controversial Boston nightclub group.
After the press conference, while the club was under construction, Skyline defaulted on its lease payments to the City of Providence in 2016. According to former Mota officials, Mota and his associates were always in a rush to pay.
By June 2017, the Skyline crew had renegotiated with the city of Providence, seeking forgiveness for $35,000 in late payments, after thousands were late on payments.
From August 2017 to February 2018, the monthly lease fee has been reduced from $7,604 to $2,404 per month. This was a windfall for Mota and Pontarelli, who also made $35,000. But Skyline was three months behind him, despite the newly reduced rent.
Mota and Pontarelli will pay less than a third of the first year’s payments. According to a lease signed with the City of Providence, the lease could end 15 days after he fails to make payments.
Simultaneously with the negotiations, Mota, Pontarelli, Rich, Luis Delpidio (Chuck’s brother), and Mota’s wife (Ricci’s daughter) donated $4,100 to Elosa in 48 hours, according to campaign finance documents.
At the next parks board meeting, the lease change was approved, and Mota and his team received a $35,000 lease reduction and a $35,000 reduction in future rent. The lease amendment was signed by Elorza, chairman of the city’s parks commission.
Then, just five months after the reduction, Skyline failed to pay the city in October, November and December of that year.
Elorza Gives Mota and Skyline $15,000 New Year’s Party
Despite the $70,000 concession and payment of Skyline’s rent for three months, Elorza Administration gave Mota a $15,000 contract to host the New Year’s party.
Skyline advertised the party as “Providence’s first-ever outdoor ball drop, laser light show and spectacular fireworks display.” GoLocal reported that no fireworks permits had been issued, and that the “ball drop” would be lights shone on adjacent buildings.
Now the city makes a threat
In a letter sent to Skyline on April 3, 2019 by Jillian Barker, the city’s senior assistant solicitor, Barker outlines what the city is looking for in a business.
According to Section 9.01 Maintenance, Skyline will “at its own expense and expense, at all times during the term of this lease, repair, maintain, maintain, or maintain the building and the building in good condition.” I shall do it,” he wrote. You shall take reasonable precautions to prevent waste, damage or injury. “
“We have received many complaints about the condition of the Skyline grounds, including garbage, waste, furniture and kitchen utensils left outside (on public roads), and balloon material being discarded. has made multiple requests for Skyline to maintain the area and keep its facilities clean. Skyline has failed to do so and this continues to be an ongoing issue and concern. Pursuant to environmental remediation, Skyline has violated this section of the lease.”
Barker then requests Skyline to provide documentation of the repairs made by Skyline. Otherwise, Skyline will have to pay back the rent because it broke its contract with the city.
“The lessee is obligated to provide the lessor with documentation of all improvements, maintenance, repairs, etc. made between December 1, 2019 and the end of the lease term. is not provided by the lessee, the contract will terminate. [of] Further reductions and rent payments under this third lease amendment shall commence pursuant to the December 1, 2019 lease,” Barker wrote.
“To date, your client has not provided the City with the required documentation.Therefore, this letter states that improvements, maintenance, repairs, etc. Please act as a request for documents, if the client does not submit the above documents within 31 days from today’s date, the city will seek payment of rent from December 1, 2019 to August 1, 2023 ’” writes Mr. Barker.