New information from de Ramel’s official campaign Twitter account on Sunday, September 7th confirmed that Newport Hangars has an occupancy rate of 100 percent. The tweet, which came out at 3:43pm stated, “PS – Newport Hangars 100% occupancy w/people spending $$ in RI economy. No need for website.”
This new admission comes after last week’s revelations, which were confirmed by de Ramel’s spokesman Dave Hoffman, that Newport Hangars did not return a profit in 2013 and has no employees. The terms of the lease allow de Ramel to use state property at no charge if Newport Hangars does not return a profit. With 100 percent occupancy, the business cannot grow to turn a profit. With zero employees, the business cannot reduce its costs to turn a profit. As presently structured, Newport Hangars is organized to provide free use of Rhode Island state property to de Ramel’s aviation hobby for 30 to 35 years, at which time he will be 68 or 73 years of age.
“This abuse of public resources for personal gain is unacceptable under any circumstances. It’s especially disappointing that de Ramel, a candidate for Secretary of State would exploit the system in this way,” said Nellie Gorbea, Democratic candidate for Secretary of State. Gorbea went on to add that, “Something is very wrong if an airport hangar - or any business - operates at maximum capacity, has no employees, gets to use state property for free and does not make a profit. It’s looking likelier and likelier that Newport Hangars is a tax shelter designed to reduce the cost of de Ramel’s hobby at the public’s expense.”