County Superior Court.
Plaintiff: Mark J. Trovato, Esq.; Ryan D. Stys, Esq.; J.
Patrick Youngs, III, Esq.
Defendant: Chip Muller, Esq.; Kevin J. Bristow, Esq.;David A.
Levy, Esq.; Gary G. Pelletier, Esq.
Leadership Building & the Board of Directors of the
Institute for International Sport
years ago, philanthropist Alan Shawn Feinstein created the
Feinstein Foundation with the objective of empowering
"youngsters to do good deeds for others and hopefully
make a positive difference in the world." A very important
initiative of the Feinstein Foundation was the
"Feinstein Hunger Challenge, " a coordinated
fundraising effort among nonprofit agencies "in an
attempt to alleviate hunger throughout the country." The
Institute for International Sport (IIS or the Institute) was
brought to Mr. Feinstein's attention by Alan Hassenfeld,
and Mr. Feinstein assessed that "it had a great deal of
promise, and they were going to bring youngsters from many
foreign countries and enable them to . . . have sports
activities and . . . react positively on the world
of 1996, Mr. Feinstein and the Defendant Daniel E. Doyle, Jr.
(Defendant) entered into a "Memorandum of
Agreement" (Ex. 1) in which Mr. Feinstein pledged one
million dollars for the construction of the
"International Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame"
building, to be referenced to and identified as "The
Feinstein Building." (Ex. 2.)
Feinstein pledged additional monies in October 2005 for a
second building, the still incomplete Leadership Building,
according to the following payment schedule: $42, 000 upon
the signing of the contract; $43, 000 on December 3, 2005;
and $83, 000 on June 30 of each of the following five years
(building and signage to be completed prior to the first
payment) "upon presentation of the reports every year
from all Games' attendees those years, showing what they
and their schools did in the Feinstein Hunger [Challenge]
that past March and April, what was raised and what agencies
were the recipients of it with instructions to apply it
toward the Feinstein [Hunger] Challenge." (Ex. 3.) Mr.
Feinstein did make two payments on his pledge, in October and
December of 2005, for a total expenditure of $85, 000. Mr.
Feinstein halted his pledge payments after receiving the
"Feinstein Hunger Program" letter falsely
attributed to Mr. Hassenfeld and bearing the latter's
forged signature. (Ex. 6.) According to Mr. Feinstein's
pledge terms set forth in the Memorandum of Agreement (Ex.
1), all participants in the World Scholar-Athlete Games were
required to complete and document all anti-hunger community
service projects in their respective countries. Mr. Feinstein
testified that the letter (Ex. 6) "was quite a blow to
us because we had given funds with the understanding that all
these students would do something that warranted their
attendance at the game, not to come to the games with the
understanding they could do it once they got here." Mr.
Feinstein, rightfully so, explained that "this was
completely contrary to our agreement and the trigger to us
saying we would not make any further donations."
December 15, 2005, sixteen days before Mr. Feinstein made his
last donation, the Defendant, on behalf of the IIS, entered
into a contract with Alfred Amore's building corporation
to construct the Leadership Building for $466, 500. (Ex. 8.)
Mr. Amore acknowledged the receipt of three payments as
follows: $26, 000 in January of 2006 (Ex. 9); $70, 000 on
June 5, 2007 (Ex. 10); and $30, 000 on June 28, 2007 (Ex.
12). Mr. Amore's company never completed the building due
to "lack of payment." He was told by the Defendant
that he, the Defendant, "was waiting for funding."
White, formerly a member of the Joint Committee on
Legislative Services (JCLS), personally observed-initially in
late 2007-that the building was unfinished and "reported
her concerns to the Speaker's Office." She
emphasized that the $575, 000 legislative grant was to be
utilized exclusively for the construction of the Leadership
Building. See also Ex. 18, Letter from Speaker
Murphy to Defendant. Ms. White's reportage of the
condition of the building ultimately triggered an
investigation by the Auditor General, Dennis Hoyle.
early August of 2011, Thomas Falcone, the Executive Director
of JCLS, requested that Mr. Hoyle review the grants provided
to the IIS in 2007. Mr. Falcone specified that the
"grants . . .were provided with the intention
construction [sic] of a new building . . . [which was] still
not complete as of August 2011." (Ex. 26.) Mr. Hoyle
recalled telephoning the Defendant on September 2, 2011, and
the Defendant representing to him that construction had to
stop due to a "land lease issue" and that $425, 000
of the $575, 000 had been expended. (Ex. 29.) The Defendant
also indicated that there would be a "reconfiguring [of
the] board" and the establishment of an audit committee.
October 3, 2011, Mr. Hoyle formally requested that the
Defendant provide him with a list of expenditures for
construction, contracts, purchase orders, invoices, cancelled
checks, estimates for completion of the building, audited
financial statements of the Institute and recent 990's.
Defendant hand-delivered to Mr. Hoyle a Construction Report
on October 5, 2011. Payments on construction were identified
as follows: JJO, Inc. (Builder): $19, 400; Armore Bldg. Corp.
$126, 000; Richard Cardarelli, AIA $21, 477; Construction
Advisor, Clerk of the Works and Attorneys' Fees $34, 460,
for a total of $201, 337. (Ex. 36.)
Construction Report contained an assurance that a forthcoming
updated audit was "being overseen by the Board's
Finance Committee, along with three distinguished individuals
who are volunteering their time, all of whom have extensive
background [sic] in finance and audit." Id. The
projected cost of completion of the building project was
stated as $435, 000. Id.
e-mail to Mr. Hoyle, dated October 24, 2011, purportedly from
Laurie DeRuosi, the head of the above-referenced financial
team was Jack Hines. (Ex. 41.) A subsequent e-mail dated
November 3, 2011, purportedly from Jack Hines to Mr. Hoyle,
states that the "[team] ha[d] held two meetings [that]
week" and assured Mr. Hoyle that the team was working
"as expeditiously as possible to bring the books
up-to-date and get the audit finished." (Ex. 46.)
Hines testified that he was never a member of any
"team" or Board and that "none of this [was]
true as it relates to [him]." He never dictated any
documents or sent any messages nor authorized anyone to do so
on his behalf.
Hines is further referenced in a so-called Board of Directors
Report provided to Mr. Hoyle via e-mail on November 7, 2011.
(Ex. 47.) The e-mail purports to memorialize a November 4,
2011 Board of Directors "meeting" at which Mr.
Hines, "Chair of the Finance Team that Dan Doyle has put
together, [was instructed by the Board] to proceed with the
audit requested by the State of Rhode Island, and to finish
the audit by no later than December 15, 2011."
Id. In fact, on the day of the "meeting"
Mr. Hines was cruising in the Caribbean with his wife. Once
again, he testified that "none of this as it relates to
me is true."
additional sham e-mails directed to the IIS Board of
Directors, with counterfeit attribution to Mr. Hines,
discussed, in part, the Defendant's
"contractual" rights and tuition remission. (Exs.
68, 69.) Mr. Hines, who saw these documents (dated late Fall
2011) for the first time during the trial, testified that he
did not author these documents nor direct anyone to prepare
them on his behalf.
February of 2012, Mr. Hoyle completed his grant review
report, and it is this report (Ex. 62) which triggered the
Rhode Island State Police investigation which culminated in
the Grand Jury indictment of eighteen charges against the
Office of the Auditor General concluded, in material part,
that, "[a]s of January 2012, [IIS] owed the University
of Rhode Island [URI] [approximately $380, 000] for
unreimbursed payroll costs and other services provided to the
Institute. Most of this [debt] was incurred during fiscal
years 2007 to 2009 and represents (1) salary and benefits
paid to the Executive Director through the State's
payroll system and (2) dining, lodging and other services
provided by the University to the Institute during the World
Scholar-Athlete games.'" Id. at 8.
formal organization of the Institute, a nonprofit
corporation, took place at its first Board of Directors
meeting on May 26, 1987 at Trump Tower in Manhattan. (Ex.
107.) In addition to the Defendant, the following individuals
were in attendance: Dr. Edward D. Eddy, Dr. Americo W.
Petrocelli, Mr. Russell E. Hogg, Courtney F. Jones, Nicholas
R. Tomassetti, Dr. J. Richard Polidero, Dr. Thomas R.
Pezzullo, Ambassador Thomas Estes, and the incorporating
attorney, John J. Partridge. Attorney Partridge, after a
unanimous vote, was appointed "Secretary pro tem"
for the purpose of the taking of minutes at that meeting. The
following officers of the Institute were unanimously elected
"to serve until their death, resignation or removal, or
until their successors are duly elected and qualified,
whichever shall first occur: Chairman: Russell E. Hogg; Vice
Chairman: Dr. Edward D. Eddy; Secretary: Courtney F. Jones;
Treasurer: Dr. Americo W. Petrocelli." Id. An
additional unanimous vote resulted in the appointment of the
Defendant as the "Executive Director of the Institute to
serve until his death, resignation or removal or until his
successor is duly appointed . . ." Id. In
tandem with this appointment was a provision designating Dr.
Eddy to be "authorized, empowered and directed, in the
name of and on behalf of the Institute, to negotiate, execute
and deliver an employment contract with Mr. Doyle on such
terms and conditions as he, in his sole discretion, deems
necessary, advisable and convenient, and further that this
resolution shall not be deemed to grant any additional
employment rights than those to be the subject of the
employment contract." Id.
Board of Directors, pursuant to Article IV of the adopted
by-laws, had the power and responsibility to "establish
the duties of and have general control over the Executive
Director." (Ex. 106, Art. IV § 1(ii).)
IV further provided that the directors of the corporation
could consist of up to "fifteen (15) persons,
(2) of whom shall be the President of the University of Rhode
Island and the Vice President For Business and Finance of
said University of Rhode Island. (The President and Vice
President for Business and Finance of the University of Rhode
Island from time to time shall be referred to as
'ex-officio directors' who shall have the same voting
rights as the other directors.)" Id. at §
2. The directors' terms limited their service to three
years, except for the ex-officio members who were authorized
to serve two consecutive terms.
by-laws mandated that "[d]irectors . . . be elected from
among the Trustees at the annual meeting of the
Trustees." Id. at § 3; see also
Art. III § 2. Attorney Partridge testified that an
Executive Director who "runs day-to-day operations"
has no power to appoint individuals to the Board of
pertinent provision of the by-laws adopted in 1987 provided
that "[n]o loans shall be contracted on behalf of the
Corporation and no evidences of indebtedness shall be issued
in its name unless authorized by a resolution of the Board of
Directors." (Ex. 106, Art. VI § 2.)
F. Jones, the original Secretary of the Board of Directors,
testified that he first met the Defendant through his
daughter's volleyball coach at URI. At this time, around
1985, Mr. Jones was working full-time as a Vice President at
Merrill Lynch. Mr. Jones was very experienced in corporate
governance and recognized that he, or his designee, would
have had the responsibility of taking notes and preparing the
minutes of any Board of Directors meeting. He testified that
he "never prepared any agendas, took any minutes or sent
out any notices." Mr. Jones was completely unaware that
he had been identified as the Treasurer of the Institute for
the years 1990 through 1999 in the Secretary of State annual
filings. (Ex. 273.) He had no recollection of voting for any
bonus for the Defendant and stated that he "absolutely
did not remember any tuition [reimbursement] discussion, it
would be highly improper."
Nicholas Tomassetti, who had been in attendance at the Trump
Tower incorporation meeting explained that no "official
board meetings" were conducted; there was "no roll
call . . . no quorum . . . no minutes were kept . . . The
record was your memory." Mr. Tomassetti had no knowledge
that he "became" Vice-President of the
Institute's Board of Directors from 1990 to 2009 until
the prosecutor displayed the annual filings to him. He also
testified that he never participated in any discussion where
the Board of Directors unanimously approved the purchase of
Bald Head Island.
Mr. Tomassetti was shown, at the trial, the "Minutes of
Meeting, Institute for International Sport Board of
Directors, June 26, 2006, " purportedly submitted by him
as "Acting Secretary for the Board, " he said he
had never seen them before. (Ex. 127.)
was not aware, until the trial, that he was listed as a
member of an oversight committee which was to "monitor
all construction costs" of the building on URI's
campus. (Ex. 15.) The Defendant submitted this "Budget
Report" in October 2006 at the JCLS's request for
supplemental information regarding the $575, 000 grant
Mr. Tomassetti denied being aware of an ostensible Board of
Directors meeting on November 4, 2011, the report of which
references the completion of the state audit by December 15,
2011. (Ex. 47.)
David Esty, in his "85th year, " as he would say,
travelled here from Seattle to speak about his involvement
with the Institute. Mr. Esty is truly an extraordinary
gentleman; he, a combat veteran and cancer survivor, offers
counseling to brave people of similar experiences. Mr. Esty
met the Defendant in 1999 through an Amherst College
classmate and accepted the Defendant's invitation to be
on "the Board, " finding the Defendant to be
"a mesmerizing presence." When asked about
"sitting down with his fellow members for a Board
meeting, " he responded, ". . . we never had a
Board meeting. We had some working lunches." He did meet
and was in the company of Mr. Hogg about ten times during the
years of his service from 1999 to 2005. These contacts with
Mr. Hogg included "some of the events, the scholar
athlete events and Hall of Fame induction ceremonies."
When asked if at any time while in Mr. Hogg's company
there was a formal Board of Directors meeting, Mr. Esty
replied, "[w]e never had one of those." Mr. Esty
never discussed finances with either Mr. Hogg or the
Defendant and never discussed or negotiated an employment
contract for the Defendant with Mr. Hogg or any other members
of the Board of Directors.
asked if to his knowledge he ever held an executive position
on the Board of Directors, the forthright witness answered:
"No, not that I was ever told other than it was to me,
it came to me like a latrine rumor." He was then shown
the 2002 corporate filing (Ex. F) identifying him as the
Secretary and Treasurer of the Institute. His reaction, in
part, was: "I am astonished . . . [w]ow . . .
[t]hat's me? . . . I never knew . . . I never performed
any secretarial or bean counting . . . in the operation . . .
I'll be damned."
the fact that Mr. Esty told the Defendant that "maybe we
ought to have a meeting, " he was "never invited to
anything resembl[ing] a Board meeting" over the six-year
Esty described as "absurd" the document (Ex. 121)
professing the "Board's" unanimous approval of
the purchase of the Bald Head Island property to create an
of 2005, Mr. Esty's concerns regarding the operation of
the Institute and its lack of a functioning Board of
Directors had escalated to the point that he felt compelled
to tender a resignation letter. (Ex. 124.) In his July 4,
2005 letter to the Defendant, he expresses these concerns, in
part, as follows: "Secondly, because of some issues which
have not been resolved, it is time for me to resign from the
IIS board. At top of the list, and the only one to which I
will refer, is the fact that IIS does not have a functioning
board. I have been a director for a long time and, to my
knowledge, we have never had a board meeting during that
period. Under the 501c3 law [sic], as provided by the IRS,
this has been a serious mistake. I only am accustomed to
operating organizationally and otherwise in the sunshine.
Some other things have concerned me but it is the board
matter which is the most compelling reason for me to resign
from it, effective immediately." Id. In
closing, Mr. Esty writes: "I wish you nothing but the
greatest imaginable success, Dan. Please stay in touch."
Mr. Esty, other putative Board of Directors'
"members, " such as Rose Styron and Robert
Fiondella, did not even know they were on this imaginary
"Board of Directors."
Styron, a writer, poet and human rights activist, widow of
novelist William Styron, testified that she met the Defendant
"years ago." He telephoned her to ask if she would
like to participate in an Irish American writers'
conference, "which would mean a week in Ireland with
writers who were friends of [hers], Frank McCourt, William
Kennedy, Joyce Carol Oates." Sometime between 2002 and
2005, she met the Defendant at a sports event at URI and
never saw him again. Ms. Styron "absolutely" did
not know she was named as a member of the IIS Board of
Directors. She never received minutes of any meetings nor
"any sort of documentation from the Institute."
When the Rhode Island State Police called her to inquire
about her status she was "totally baffled" and
"had no idea what they were talking about."
Nonetheless, she was identified as being a Board of Directors
member in the Institute's 990 filings in the years 2003,
2004, 2005, 2006, and 2008. (Exs. 141, 142, 143, 144, 146.)
Robert W. Fiondella, retired Chairman of the Board and CEO of
Phoenix Home Life, had also served as a Board of Directors
member for nonprofit organizations such as Special Olympics
International and University of Hartford's St. Frances
Hospital. Also, Mr. Fiondella knew the Defendant and was
familiar with the World Scholar-Athlete Games and had
sponsored a student participant. He was never asked to serve
on the Board of Directors. He never received any agendas or
minutes and never attended any meetings with his named fellow
Board of Directors members; he did not even know them. He
first learned that he was listed as a Board of Directors
member from a reporter "years ago." Yet, he was
identified as such on the 990 filings of the Institute for
the years 2003-2008. (Exs. 141-146.)
Rodney Steier, who has known the Defendant since 1994, did
agree to serve on the Board of Directors sometime in 2004 and
testified that "theoretically [he] is still on the
Board." Over the course of twelve years, he recalled
participating in five meetings, three held in person and two
conducted by teleconference. During his tenure, he never
served as Secretary or Treasurer. For the first time, at
trial, he was shown a number of documents identifying him as
Secretary of the Institute and purporting to bear his
signature. He signed none of them. The signatures were
counterfeit on the following: (1) a corporate authorization
resolution for Port City Capital Bank in North Carolina,
certifying Mr. Steier as secretary of the Institute, dated
September 29, 2004 (Ex. 203); (2) a promissory note in the
amount of $382, 500, obligating the Institute to Central
Carolina Bank, dated October 29, 2004 (Ex. 204); (3) a
guaranty of payment of the foregoing, same date (Ex. 205);
(4) an accompanying Deed of Trust (Ex. 206); (5) a corporate
resolution authorizing "Dan Doyle to sign on behalf of
the Institute for International Sport for a financing loan
for the purchase of a van and Saab automobile, " dated
June 18, 2005 (Ex. 208); (6) "Loan from Doermann Family
Trust to Institute for International Sport" stating that
in October 2005 the Trust loaned the Institute $25, 000 and
confirming that the loan was repaid with 6% interest, dated
June 30, 2005-note that this date predates the referenced
loan, id.; (7) a document stating that the
"Institute for International Sport does not owe Mr.
Halas any further payroll, " dated June 30, 2005,
id.; (8) "Investment Policy of the
Institute" declaring that said policy "is to stay
strictly with land in Bald Head Island, North Carolina for
the foreseeable future. The Institute's policy does not
encompass any other investments, including stocks, bonds or
other real estate. This is due to the extremely high rate of
return the Institute has already received on its investment
portfolio in Bald Head, North Carolina, " dated June 30,
200(uncertain of last digit), id.; (9)
"Vehicles Owned/Leased by the Institute for
International Sport as of December 31, 2004" stating the
IIS owns a 1996 Maxima without a loan and had leased a 2002
Saab with lease ended in May 2005, dated
30, 2005, id.; (10) "Regarding Documentation
for State Grant, " noting that the IIS received $550,
000 in state grants in 2004 and that "[b]ecause these
grants are taken from the State's Grant Appropriation
account, the Institute simply submits an invoice, and
receives payment, " dated June 30, 2005, id.;
(11) "Loan from Walter Halas to Institute for
International Sport" indicating that a loan from Mr.
Halas in October 2005 for $25, 000 had been repaid with 6%
interest, dated June 30, 200(last digit could be 4 or 7),
id.; and (12) "Corporate Authorization
Resolution" stating that the resolutions in said
document were "adopted at a meeting of the Board of
Directors of the Corporation duly and properly called and
held on January 28, 2010." (Ex. 209.)
is also an unsigned Board Resolution (Ex. 207) which was not
authorized by Mr. Steier which lists him as
Secretary/Treasurer. The document states that the Board of
Directors authorized the Institute in April of 2005 to
"purchase a lot on Bald Head Island, North Carolina, as
part of the Institute's endowment portfolio."
Id. Other unsigned documents falsely attributed to
Mr. Steier include: (1) Minutes of a Board of Trustees
Conference Call Meeting, March 18, 2005
"authoriz[ing]" the Defendant to purchase three to
four more properties on Bald Head Island, listing Mr. Steier
as "Secretary, Board of Trustees." (Ex. 123); and
(2) "Minutes of . . . Board Meeting, July 18, 2005"
pretending that the "Board" unanimously approved
the purchase of "up to six more building lots on Bald
Head Island in 2005." (Ex. 126.) Said minutes purported
to have been submitted by Mr. Steier, Secretary.
Mr. Steier is not designated as the Secretary of the
Institute in the annual filings with the Secretary of State
(which commenced in 1988) but for the years 2012 and 2013. In
2004 and 2005, Mr. Esty was listed as Secretary, with Mr.
Cleary succeeding him for the years 2006 through 2009. During
the years that Mr. Cleary was designated as Secretary, Mr.
Steier was listed as the Treasurer, and also in the years
2012, 2013, and 2014. (Exs. 125, 273.) In the 990 filings for
the years 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008, Mr. Steier is
identified as a "Board Member" but with his first
name as "Ronald" and his surname misspelled as
"Stier." (Exs. 143-146.) In the 2007 and 2008
filings (Exs. 145, 146), Vice Admiral William P. Lawrence is
designated as a "Board Member" even though he had
passed away in December of 2005.
Alan Hassenfeld, who was "passionate" about what he
perceived the Defendant's "vision" to be,
testified that he never joined the Board of Directors of the
Institute nor attended any meetings. Nonetheless, he appears
as President of the Institute and its "Chair" on
the 2009 and 2010 annual reports. (Exs. 75, 125.) Mr.
Hassenfeld testified that the documents do not bear his
signature or printing, and he did not authorize their
production. Nor did he author the "Feinstein Hunger
Program" letter which refers to him as "Chair,
Hasbro, (Toys) Inc." and "Chair, World
Scholar-Athlete Games." (Ex. 6.) Mr. Hassenfeld
explained that he never uses the term "Chair, "
only Chairman. He also refers to his company as "Hasbro,
Inc." not Hasbro Toys. Once again, the attribution of
authorship and the signature on the letters were spurious.
conclusion is inescapable, beyond any doubt, based on the
documentary and credible testimonial evidence, that the
"Board of Directors" was a chimerical product of
the Defendant's incessant and far-flung chicanery.
believers in the Institute's mission, supporters of the
Defendant, routinely shared organizational suggestions with
him to enhance the function, finances and future of the
Institute. The Defendant's consideration and
implementation of their ideas was a complete masquerade. The
Defendant's solitary, unrestricted course of conduct and
the manufacture of fictionalized and forged documents were
essential to the insulation of his perfidy.
this Court rules on a motion for a new trial, the Court
"'acts as a thirteenth juror and exercises
independent judgment on the credibility of witnesses and on
the weight of the evidence.'" State v.
Guerra, 12 A.3d 759, 765 (R.I. 2011) (quoting State
v. DiCarlo, 987 A.2d 867, 870 (R.I. 2010)). The Court
considers "'the evidence in light of the jury
charge'" and assesses witnesses' credibility and
"'the weight of the evidence.'"
Id. (quoting State v. Morales, 895 A.2d
114, 121 (R.I. 2006)). Then, if the Court finds that it
"would have reached the same result as the jury did or
that reasonable minds could differ as to the result, the
motion for a new trial must be denied." State v.
Imbruglia, 913 A.2d 1022, 1028 (R.I. 2007).