Rhode Island's favorite criminal, Mayor Vincent A. "Buddy" Cianci, Jr., came to the end of the road in his appeals yesterday when the Supreme Court denied him certiorari. Serving time at Fort Dix, N.J., until July 28, 2007, Cianci was convicted in 2002 on federal corruption, bribery, and racketeering charges.
I had a few chances to see this consummate politician in action during my four years at Providence College. He was truly the type to show up at the opening of an envelope. When he stopped by a Friars basketball game for a few minutes, rowdy students always quickly vacated their courtside armchairs (you had to win a raffle to sit there) for Buddy. He lived in the Biltmore Hotel downtown, and at a freshman year dance, he stopped by, grabbed a mic in a less than coherent state, and pledged his undying love for "PC kids." And the guy has his own marinara sauce selling in grocery stores. Rhode Islanders remember him for his color, but also for his success at rehabbing downtown Providence into the jewel of a city that it is now. If Providence could elect him again from jail, they would.
And don't count him out once he gets out: he left office after a first go-'round to serve time for assault of a male friend of his ex-wife. Then he returned to office via a radio talk show. Third time's a charm?