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Board of Elections wants to move to Cranston. But a lawsuit says it’s part of a ‘sham’

PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Board of Elections is planning to vote on Tuesday to lease a new headquarters in Cranston, even as a lawsuit accuses the board of participating in a “sham” bidding process.

The Board of Elections is looking to move out of its offices on Branch Avenue, in Providence, and Tuesday’s agenda includes a possible vote to sign a lease with Dean Warehouse Services for space at 2000 Plainfield Pike, in Cranston.

“We are going to execute the lease on Tuesday, if everything goes according to plan,” board Vice Chairman Stephen P. Erickson said Friday. “Our goal is to be in the new building by Dec. 1.”

But John O. Mancini, an attorney representing two rebuffed bidders, said, “We don’t think it is prudent for them to execute the lease because we have strong grounds to believe the process was a sham.”

Paolino Properties and Mutual Properties 14 Thurber LLC have filed a lawsuit in state Superior Court, claiming the state received five bids but unlawfully abandoned the bid process in order to cut a deal for the Cranston property — even though the owner of that property never submitted a bid.

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