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Woonsocket Mayor Baldelli-Hunt quits amid council probe into questionable land deal

In a letter filed with the city clerk’s office, Baldelli-Hunt cited “health concerns” as the reason for her sudden departure

Woonsocket Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt, shown in her City Hall office, was removed from her position by the City Council around 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, 2022 after a bizarre hearing that aired out some longstanding political grievances in Rhode Island's sixth-largest city.Woonsocket Harris Public Library YouTube

WOONSOCKET – Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt abruptly resigned from the city’s top job Thursday, days after the City Council launched an investigation into a land deal she made with a former business associate.

In a letter filed with the city clerk’s office, Baldelli-Hunt cited “health concerns” as the reason for her sudden departure, not the questionable land sale that was canceled after it was reported by Channel 12 last month.

“The time has come for me to address my health and the well-being of my family,” Baldelli-Hunt wrote. “As much as I love the city of Woonsocket and all of you, I must reorder my priorities to suit the current circumstances. For the first time in my decade of service to the city, my health and my family must come first.”

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Baldelli-Hunt, a Democrat, was first elected mayor in 2013 after serving more than five years in the Rhode Island House of Representatives. She has clashed with the City Council throughout her tenure leading the city, and the council voted to remove her from office last year after claiming she failed to perform her duties as mayor.

But she was reinstated a month later when she ran unopposed in the general election for mayor, garnering more than 76 percent of the vote.

The mayor came under fire last month when Channel 12 reported that she agreed to have the city pay $1.1 million to a real estate developer for five acres of land off Mendon Road that had been assessed for $200,000 last year. The news outlet reported that Baldelli-Hunt previously had a business relationship with the developer, Raymond Bourque.

The land deal has since been canceled.

Baldelli-Hunt has been dealing with health challenges this year. In April, she collapsed while speaking at an organ donor event Thursday at City Hall and was taken to Landmark Medical Center.

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City Council President Christopher Beauchamp was immediately sworn in as mayor for the remainder of the term, and his spot on the council will be vacated, according to the city charter. A special election to fill Beauchamp’s seat on the council will be scheduled.

“I want to personally thank Mayor Lisa Baldelli-Hunt for her tireless dedication to the city over the last decade,” Beauchamp wrote in a letter to constituents. “This city is in a much better place with Mayor Baldelli-Hunt’s leadership, energy, commitment, and love for this city. I will forever be indebted to her.”


Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him @danmcgowan.