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buddy cianci Tag

Former Providence Mayor Vicent "Buddy" Cianci, Jr. has died, The Providence Journal reports. He was a lovable rogue, but definitely a rogue. He transformed Providence from a washed-out industrial blight to the jewel of New England. He was larger than life, and came to epitomize both the power and excesses of personality. My prior post about Cianci's 2014 failed run to serve a third (not consecutive) term summarized his history:

You may not fully appreciate this unless you are from my former home State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. As mentioned here before, twice-convicted former Providence Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci not only is running for Mayor a third time (as an Independent), he is leading in the polls. Buddy's first conviction during his first term as Mayor was for beating his wife's alleged paramour with a fireplace log and assaulting him with a lit cigarette. His second conviction was for running a criminal enterprise (under the RICO statute), namely, Providence City Hall. Mike Stanton, author of the definitive chronicle of Buddy's years in office (The Prince of Providence book and later movie), has a column in The New York Times this weekend, Good Buddy, Bad Buddy:
Stories of the Good Buddy and the Bad Buddy are legion, and legend. He moved rivers. He took bribes. He built a mall. He was accused of raping a woman at gunpoint in law school. He championed WaterFire, the festive floating bonfires on downtown rivers. He assaulted a guy and tried to jab a lit cigarette in his eye while a police bodyguard stood by. He raised a city’s self-esteem. He turned City Hall into a cesspool. The judge who sentenced him to five years in prison, for running City Hall as a criminal enterprise, called him Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. (The ever witty Buddy cracked, “He didn’t give me two [expletive] paychecks.”) He belongs to that great American pantheon of rogues whose corruption was tolerated because of their populist appeal to voters and the perception that they “got things done” — Boss Tweed, Huey Long, James Michael Curley, Edwin Edwards.... A city is like a woman you make love to, he once said. But he was an unfaithful lover.
Yet Buddy remains a beloved figure because he was larger than life, a superb retail politician, and the man who transformed Providence from a dying industrial city into the jewel of New England.

Oh man. Good times could be just around the corner in the Capital city of my former home State of Rhode Island and [if you don't know by now how it ends, you obviously haven't been paying attention]. Remember, I said it: Buddy Cianci running for Mayor of Providence again, and he can win:
In his first act as Mayor of Providence, Buddy resigned in 1984 after being convicted of assaulting his wife’s alleged paramour with a fire log and lit cigarette. (Seriously.) Buddy had a comeback but in 2002 was convicted of running a criminal enterprise, namely, Providence City Hall. Cianci was found not guilty of 26 specific criminal charges. The only charge on which he was convicted was RICO conspiracy.... He can win. He absolutely can win. And that would not be a bad thing for Providence, which has been in a funk since Buddy went to the Big House.
That prediction appears to be coming true, as a Providence Journal / News 12 poll shows Buddy in the lead running as an Independent:

I saw this bumper sticker over Labor Day weekend in downtown Providence, in my former home State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. My wife had seen one on a different car a couple of days earlier. Former Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci has been covered here before regarding his conviction under the Racketeer Influenced  and Corrupt Organizations Act. In his first act as Mayor of Providence, Buddy resigned in 1984 after being convicted of assaulting his wife's alleged paramour with a fire log and lit cigarette.  (Seriously.) Buddy had a comeback but in 2002 was convicted of running a criminal enterprise, namely, Providence City Hall. Cianci was found not guilty of 26 specific criminal charges. The only charge on which he was convicted was RICO conspiracy. Buddy has been out of federal prison for several years, and has a very successful radio show.  He is still adored by many, regardless of his legal problems.  He is a natural retail politician. Politics is in Buddy's soul, and he's running for Mayor again as an Independent:

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