July 28, 2009

Town sells trailer it doesn’t own

The mayor of a Rhode Island town said his administration mistakenly sold a trailer on eBay that officials later discovered was never owned by the city.

North Providence Mayor Charles Lombardi said the office trailer was sold on eBay June 30 for $1,825 and officials later realized the city had been leasing the unit for about $234 per month, bringing the total the city has paid for the trailer during the past 5 1/2 years to about $15,700, the Providence (R.I.) Journal reported Tuesday.

Talk about a bad deal, Lombardi said. We already paid $15,700.

Lombardi said officials are working with the leasing company, Williams Scotsman, to reach a settlement.

I'm not embarrassed, we sold something we knew we didn't need, Lombardi said. But we didn't know we didn't own it.

The mayor described the incident as a call to action for his administration.

Now, what it does is, we're checking every monthly payment. Every payment, I want to know what it's for. My bet is there's other things out there that we're paying a monthly fee for that we don't know about -- and probably don't need -- just like this trailer, he said.