In the aftermath of the removal of records from the office of the Joint Committee on Legislative Services, House GOP Leader Blake Filippi is calling on the head of JCLS to preserve the records.

Filippi, who last week filed a lawsuit against House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello, accusing him of abusing his power as chairman of JCLS, sent a sharply worded letter to JCLS head Frank Montanaro.

In particular, Filippi said he objected to the removal of records and hard drives from the JCLS without any notification to members of the committee.

Later, Montanaro wrote back to Filippi, assuring the items about which he expressed concern were secure.

Rhode Island State Police responded to the Statehouse Monday night to examine the contents of a Dumpster. A spokesman for House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello attributed the visit to renovations in a legislative office.

State Police Col. James Manni confirmed that troopers responded to the Statehouse, but he declined further comment.

Mattiello’s spokesman, Larry Berman, said the visit came after an evacuation of the Joint Committee on Legislative Services, or JCLS, the hiring and spending arm of the legislature.

Berman said the evacuation was due to the discovery of mold caused by a steam leak. He said carpeting, furniture and partitions contaminated by the mold were thrown out.

The State Police inquiry was first reported by WPRI.

Filippi said it is "beyond the pale" for those materials to have removed without notification in the face of a pending lawsuit.

"I urge you to consult with your attorney regarding your obligation to preserve records under state law and the Superior Court Rules of Civil Procedure," Filippi said in his letter.

Filippi asked for a written log of the records, and a written commitment that they will be preserved. If that doesn't happen, the House GOP leader wrote, he will seek relief in court.

In a written response, Montanaro said, "Please be advised that no documents were disposed of nor were any computer or computer hard-drives disposed of in the [mold] abatement process."

Berman added this comment on Filippi's letter: "It is political nonsense. All the documents, computers and hard drives were relocated into the very next office due to the mold abatement project. Nothing was removed other than rugs, partitions and debris related to the mold problem."

The suit filed on Filippi's behalf charges that Mattiello abused his authority by claiming he could make decisions for the five-member JCLS since he’s the committee’s chairman.. The suit is still pending in court.

Mattiello had asked the state auditor general to audit the convention center, a move that coincided with the disciplining of a friend of his who works there. He cancelled the request after it became a controversy.

Meanwhile, five Democratic state representatives who were among a larger group last year that didn't support Mattiello's ongoing rule for speaker called for a Democratic caucus.

“When is enough, enough?" Rep. Kathleen Fogarty of South Kingstown said in a statement. "It is probably when the Rhode Island State Police are searching State House dumpsters in the dead of night. It seems like every week there is a new inquiry or investigation into unethical or illegal behavior in the House. We are calling for a Democratic Caucus to address the current state of affairs in the Rhode Island House of Representatives."

Also signing on to the request were Reps. Teresa Tanzi of South Kingstown and Moira Walsh, John Lombardi and Ray Hull of Providence.

“The governor and the Republican Party have both filed suit against Speaker Mattiello,” said Tanzi. “These suits are in addition to the Shawna Lawton money laundering case, the cannabis license insider dealing investigation, and the $1 million give away to the Cranston chiropractor to name but a few of the recent scandals. This behavior is unacceptable and has been going on for too long.”