Last fall, a lawyer for a local union pension fund came across a puzzling entry on the fund’s federal tax return — a $100,000 commission that had reportedly been split by Daniel DaPonte and Stephen D. Alves.
DaPonte and Alves, Rhode Island state senators and financial advisers who worked at UBS Financial Services, didn’t handle any of the pension fund’s investments. So why, the fund’s trustees wondered, did the return say that they had each received $50,000?
That question set off a chain of events that has led federal investigators to examine the circumstances as part of Operation Dollar Bill, the wide-ranging probe of influence-peddling at the State House.
The explanation from Prudential Financial, which oversees investments for the annuity fund of Local 99 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Cranston, only deepened the mystery.
The $100,000 payment, responded Prudential in a letter written last fall, was a one-time finders fee to UBS for introducing Prudential to the possible opportunity at IBEW Local No. 99 Annuity Fund. [full text]