Sunday, June 4, 2017

Buddy Cianci: Intimidation, Cronyism, and Renewal

Few could doubt that the mayor of Providence was deeply invested in the city. Vincent A. Cianci, Jr., nicknamed "Buddy," spearheaded several efforts to revitalize the city and turn it into an attractive metropolis. It wasn't hard for residents to see the mayor in person; he was a frequent guest at Providence Bruins hockey games, and could even be found chatting with spectators at Little League games.

But Cianci was a polarizing figure as well. Throughout his time in office, several people close to the mayor found themselves behind bars. Cianci himself had to cut one term short after brutally assaulting a man. Critics considered him little more than a glad-handing thug.

Judge Ernest C. Torres would reference the competing aspects of Cianci's character while sentencing him on corruption charges in 2002. Torres compared the mayor to Robert Louis Stevenson's famous story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

"The first Buddy Cianci is a skilled charismatic political figure, one of the most talented Rhode Island has ever seen, someone with wit who thinks quickly on his feet and can enthrall an audience," the judge said. "Then there's the Buddy Cianci who's portrayed here. That's the Buddy Cianci who was mayor of an administration that was corrupt at all levels."

Early life

Cianci's yearbook photo from the Moses Brown School (Source)

Born on April 30, 1941, Cianci had a comfortable upbringing as a proctologist's son in Cranston, Rhode Island. He attended the Moses Brown School, a preparatory school in Providence, where he joined the football and wrestling teams. He started his college education at St. Louis University, but after a semester he transferred to a school closer to home. He completed his undergraduate studies at Fairfield University in Connecticut, earning a degree in political science.

Cianci went on to earn a master's degree from Villanova University and a law degree from Marquette University. He was drafted into the military after law school and was set to deploy to Vietnam when his father passed away. Cianci was allowed to stay stateside, spending most of his three-year Army service at Fort Devens in Massachusetts.

After his discharge, Cianci returned to Rhode Island and opened a private practice. Before long, he was selected to serve as the chief prosecutor of an anti-corruption task force established by the state's attorney general in 1973 to go after organized crime.

Cianci would play a particularly effective part in bringing down Providence mob boss Raymond L.S. Patriarca. Another mobster, Rudolph Marfeo, had been gunned down in 1969 just one month after Patriarca was convicted of conspiracy in the murder of Marfeo's brother. Prosecutors suspected that Patriarca had been involved in the killing of the other sibling as well.

Raymond Patriarca (Source)

Patriarca had an alibi. He claimed that a Washington, D.C. priest had been visiting his company at the time of Marfeo's death. It seemed almost too good to be true: a man of the cloth who was ready to testify to the innocence of a criminal kingpin.

Cianci found a way to undercut the defense's case. Examining the parish records, he found that the official record showed the priest had not been in Rhode Island on the day of Marfeo's murder, but was actually attending a baptism in Virginia. Patriarca's alibi was shattered. He would be convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The "anti-corruption candidate"

Cianci is sworn into office (Source)

Following his performance on the anti-corruption task force, Cianci parlayed his local fame into a mayoral run. Providence was a staunch Democratic stronghold, but a fortuitous division opened up during the election year of 1974. Lawrence P. McGarry, head of the city's Democratic committee, refused to endorse incumbent mayor Joseph A. Doorley, Jr., who had served in the role for 10 years.

Doorley forged on without the nomination, but the split with McGarry fractured a decades-old political machine in the city. Running as an "anti-corruption candidate" in the general election, Cianci won a stunning upset. As the Republican candidate, he edged out Doorley by 709 votes out of more than 52,000 ballots cast. He was the first Italian-American mayor to be elected mayor of Providence as well as the city's youngest mayor and the first Republican to hold the office in more than 30 years.

Many years later, Cianci admitted in his autobiography that he was inexperienced and completely unprepared for the job. "Maybe I didn't know precisely what I was doing, but I was confident I could save the city," he said.

The razor-thin victory in a strongly Democratic city in New England made Cianci something of a celebrity within the Republican party. He was able to get an audience with President Gerald Ford, and in 1976 he gave a brief speech at the Republican National Convention before introducing former Texas governor John Connally.

Buddy Cianci at the 1976 Republican National Convention (Source)

Cianci would dedicate much of his time in office to reimagining the former industrial city of Providence into a commercial and tourist center. More than $200 million would be invested in new commercial and office buildings during his term. During his first week as mayor, monkeys escaped from the city's decrepit Roger Williams Park Zoo. In 1976, he earmarked millions of dollars to improve the facility.

But while Cianci would earn a reputation as a tireless advocate for Providence, he also contemplated leaving office before he had served a full term as mayor. As the 1976 election approached, he contemplated challenging incumbent Senator John Chafee for the Republican nomination for the seat. He ultimately decided against it.

By the time Cianci was up for re-election in 1978, he was facing a number of challenges. There were accusations that he had been coercing the Providence Police Department to hire unqualified candidates. Earlier in the year, Police Chief Robert E. Ricci had shot himself in his office. Edward J. Collins, a police captain who would later unsuccessfully run for mayor, blamed Cianci for the suicide.

It was an open secret that Cianci rewarded his supporters with city jobs. James Diamond, a mayoral aide, recalled that Cianci asked him to set up a computer database of every Providence resident in 1975. He figured the technology could be useful in assessing their loyalties and determining where to mete out rewards or punishments. Diamond never carried out this request.

The city had also fared poorly during the Blizzard of 1978, which had dumped more than 30 inches of snow on Providence. When the public works department tried to respond to the storm, few of its snowplows were in working condition; those that worked weren't even able to break out of the department's parking lot. A contingent of Seabees from North Kingstown eventually had to open up the streets, long after other communities in New England had managed to dig themselves out. Critics charged that Cianci's patronage system had left the public works department woefully mismanaged during the crisis.

Vehicles abandoned on Providence highway after the Blizzard of 1978 (Source)

Perhaps most damaging of all was a cover story run by New Times magazine in 1978. In the article, a woman accused Cianci of raping her at gunpoint in 1966 while he was a student at Marquette. She said she withdrew her criminal complaint in exchange for a $3,000 payment from Cianci so she wouldn't sue. Sources at the River Falls Police Department in Wisconsin told New Times that Cianci had flunked a lie detector test three times while the woman had passed.

Denouncing the story as an "ugly character assassination," Cianci pressed a $72 million libel lawsuit against the magazine. In legal filings, he admitted that he had slept with the woman, that there was a gun in the house at the time, and that he paid her $3,000 after she dropped her complaint. It was enough for the court to dismiss the matter, but Cianci pressed an appeal. The case was settled out of court for $8,500 and an official letter of apology from New Times, which conceded that both the district attorney and Cianci's lawyer in the matter concluded that no crime had occurred.

Despite these scandals, Cianci won a second term when he defeated Democratic candidate Frank Darigan with 56 percent of the vote. But his administration was soon tarnished by new revelations of corruption. Prosecutors charged 30 city workers and contractors with criminal activity, namely conspiracy and fraud; 22 would be convicted. Cianci denied any knowledge of this misconduct and was never charged.

Cianci celebrates his 1978 win with his wife, Sheila (Source)

Cianci pondered whether to put his name into consideration as a vice presidential candidate for the 1980 election. He met with Ford as well as Republican presidential candidate Ronald Reagan, but ultimately decided to turn his sights to a local race.

In the Rhode Island gubernatorial election for 1980, Cianci challenged Governor Joseph Garrahy, the Democratic incumbent who was completing his first term. The mayor won the Republican nomination, but performed disastrously in the statewide race. Under heavy criticism for his handling of Providence's finances, Cianci mustered barely a quarter of the total vote. Worse, he didn't even win a majority of votes in any of the wards in Providence, let along in any other city or town in Rhode Island.

Other developments seemed to signal Cianci's inevitable defeat for re-election in 1982, if he even decided to enter the race. In March 1981, the mayor made the unpopular proposal to raise property taxes by 20 percent to avoid bankruptcy. Outraged residents called for his resignation, and the city council began considering whether an ordinance should be drafted to allow voters to remove elected officials from office.

Poor fiscal management in the Cianci administration had helped bring the city to the brink of insolvency in the first place. Opponents charged that the mayor had avoided more manageable tax increases in previous years for political reasons, had only hired a financial director after leaving the post vacant for three years, and had hired four times as many summer recreational workers as he had been authorized to do. While Cianci managed to put $100 million in state and federal funds toward revitalizing the city in his first two terms, these funds were facing cutbacks. The city also had to deal with the challenges of inflation and a declining population.

Things only got worse in July 1981, when municipal workers went on a 16-day strike in response to cutbacks in overtime pay and other austerity measures. The protest earned the nickname "The Great Garbage Strike" for its most pungent feature: heaps of uncollected trash ripening in the summer heat. Cianci responded by firing the striking garbagemen and hiring private crews to collect the refuse.

Tensions were high enough that these workers feared that the union men would use tractor-trailers to ram their garbage trucks. Shotgun-wielding police officers accompanied the private workers on their runs, which were conducted at night in an effort to avoid confrontation. The tactic was successful in stemming violence, aside from one angry union garbageman who smashed into one of the city trucks with his own pickup. At the end of the strike, the union won some concessions but trash collection remained privatized.

Cianci speaks with a police officer accompanying private garbage collectors during a strike of municipal workers in 1981 (Source)

A widespread effort to repave streets and sidewalks throughout Providence in the summer and fall played a significant part in Cianci's re-election in 1982. There were accusations that the work was a blatant political gesture, and that the public works department would have done the upgrades sooner if it hadn't become a den of corruption and mismanagement. But voters may well have been reassured by the improvements.

A three-way race also helped tilt the odds in Cianci's favor. Running as an independent, he faced off against Darigan and Republican candidate Frederick Lippitt. He again squeaked through to victory, defeating Darigan by 1,074 votes out of approximately 55,000 cast to win a third term.

Assault on Raymond DeLeo

While he was a gregarious character in public, Cianci could be appallingly vindictive in private. One restaurant owner recalled that the mayor was enraged when a new bouncer at the venue insisted that he pay a $2 cover charge. Cianci retaliated by having the fire department shut down the eatery. The restauranteur said Cianci threatened, "You don't want to get into a pissing match with me, because you're a cup of water and I'm Niagara Falls."

In his autobiography, Cianci himself gleefully recalls a hair-raising if dubious act of thuggery. He suspected that Ronald H. Glantz, his chief of staff, had leaked information to Garrahy to sabotage his gubernatorial campaign. During a helicopter trip to an event where Cianci was scheduled to speak, he claimed to have seized the controls and forced the aircraft into a dive. As the chopper plummeted toward the ground, he angrily demanded that Glantz admit to the betrayal and didn't relent until his chief of staff did so.

Cianci's short-tempered side became clear with a violent incident in the spring of 1983. At this point, the mayor was estranged from his wife Sheila; the couple would later be divorced. Cianci became convinced that she was having an affair with a local contractor, Raymond DeLeo. On the evening of March 20, he asked DeLeo to meet him at his rented carriage house.

Raymond DeLeo (Source)

When DeLeo arrived at the mayor's home, it proved to be the start of a three-hour ordeal. He said the mayor kept him against his will and periodically assaulted him. DeLeo said that Cianci slapped him, struck him with a fireplace log, and burned him with a lighted cigarette after trying to put it out in his eye.

Several other men were present during these acts of violence, including James K. Hassett, a Providence patrolman who served as Cianci's driver; William McGair, Cianci's attorney; and Joseph DiSanto, the city's public works director. McGair eventually became perturbed by the mayor's behavior and called Herbert DiSimone, a former Rhode Island attorney general and friend of Cianci's. But the abuse continued even after DiSimone arrived and tried to talk some sense into Cianci. He reportedly threw an ashtray at DeLeo and threatened to kill the contractor or destroy his business unless he not only signed an affidavit confessing to an affair with Sheila, but also agreed to cut Cianci a check for $500,000. DiSimone eventually persuaded Cianci to let DeLeo go.

DeLeo reported the incident to the police, and his complaint became public on April 25. About a month later, on May 24, Cianci was indicted on two charges of extortion and one each of kidnapping, conspiracy to kidnap, assault with a deadly weapon, and assault and battery. One of the extortion charges accused the mayor of threatening Lenore Siegel Sternberg, a Florida resident, to get her to make a statement about the relationship between Sheila and DeLeo. Hassett was charged with kidnapping and conspiracy to kidnapping.

Cianci quickly sought to downplay the severity of the incident. He admitted that he may have made some intimidating gestures, but that he never actually harmed DeLeo. He may have picked up a log and thrown it angrily into the fireplace, he said, but he hadn't used it to strike the contractor. Cianci claimed that DeLeo had always been free to leave his home anytime he wished.

The mayor also griped that the incident was a "domestic matter" that never should have been brought before a grand jury. "Anyone can accuse if they've got something to hide or gain from it," he said. Cianci said he would refuse to resign his office.

Trial preparations began at the end of February 1984, at about the same time that several city employees were indicted on charges related to corruption in the public works department. Three days later, petitions were delivered to City Hall demanding a recall election to try to oust Cianci; they included 19,760 signatures. The woman who had claimed that Cianci raped her at gunpoint agreed to come to Providence to testify as a character witness against the mayor.

On March 5, Cianci agreed to plead no contest to charges of assault with a deadly weapon as well as assault and battery; the remaining charges were dropped. Hassett would also plead no contest to a charge of assault with a deadly weapon and resign from the police department. However, he would later be reinstated after his attorneys argued that there was no basis for the charge if Hassett had not been convicted of kidnapping.

Cianci is sentenced on April 23, 1984 (Source)

Cianci faced up to 11 years in prison, but on April 23 he was sentenced to a fully suspended five-year term with five years of probation. The sentence raised the question of whether he could continue to serve as mayor; the assault with a deadly weapon charge was a felony, and the new city charter barred felons from holding public office. Cianci resolved the issue by resigning two days after he was sentenced. The Rhode Island Supreme Court later gave him a public censure, but allowed him to continue practicing law.

In his autobiography, Cianci expressed regret for the incident but couldn't help joking about the matter as well. "[F]ind me a man who will never admit to having made a mistake and I'll show you a successful politician," he quipped.

Return to office

At about the same time as Cianci's resignation, a federal investigation began looking into malfeasance in the Providence city government. When the five-year probe ended in 1989, it had indicted 30 people. Charges included extortion, accepting kickbacks, theft of city pavement for private jobs, and employees conducting personal business while on the clock.

U.S. Attorney Lincoln C. Almond commented that more people would have been charged but for the expiration of the statute of limitations. Those who were convicted included former city solicitor Ronald H. Glantz, who was sentenced to eight years in prison; former Democratic city chairman Anthony J. Bucci, who received the same sentence; and Richard A. Carroll, former chairman of the Providence Water Supply Board, who was sentenced to three-and-a-half years. Cianci was considered for indictment, but ultimately was not charged.

Since his resignation, Cianci had been working as a radio host. Even with the news that he had been under investigation for corruption, there was speculation that he would again seek the mayor's office in 1990. Joseph R. Paolino, Jr., the Democratic chairman of the city council, had become acting mayor after Cianci's resignation and won a special election to keep the seat before being re-elected in 1986. He wasn't running again in 1990, opting instead to enter the gubernatorial race.

Cianci hosting his AM radio show (Source)

Just 17 minutes before the deadline expired on June 27, Cianci filed his papers announcing his intention to run for mayor of Providence. He was once again running as an independent; he would again face Lippitt in the general election, along with Democrat city councilman Andrew Annaldo.

During the campaign, one of Cianci's billboards was creatively vandalized by Rhode Island School of Design student Shepard Fairey. Residents looking up at the billboard saw that Cianci's face had been replaced by a stenciled image of professional wrestler Andre the Giant, with the slogan altered to read, "Andre never stopped caring about Providence." The image became so popular that Fairey turned it into a brand, selling millions of Andre the Giant stickers as well as other merchandise. Today, Fairey is better known as the artist behind the famous "Hope" campaign poster for Barack Obama.

"Andre never stopped caring about Providence" (Source)

When the ballots were counted, Cianci had won his narrowest victory yet. About 47,000 people had gone to the polls; Cianci won by a mere 317 votes. A small group of residents challenged his victory, arguing that the state constitution disqualified felons from holding office until three years after the completion of their sentence and probation. Under these rules, Cianci wouldn't be eligible for office until the spring of 1992.

Thomas Rossi, the newly re-elected mayor's campaign advisor, responded that it was a moot point. The torrid details of Cianci's assault on DeLeo had been given national coverage, he noted, and voters would have to be "hermetically sealed in a mayonnaise jar" to not know about his past conviction; they had favored him anyway.

Cianci renewed his focus on revitalizing Providence and turning the city into a destination. One of the most ambitious projects involved an effort to draw attention to the Providence River, which had long been hidden beneath roadways and other infrastructure. Once the waterway and its tributaries were exposed, they were girded with pleasant walkways and ornate bridges. In 1994, the city debuted WaterFire, a popular semi-regular event where braziers floated down the river as gondolas plied the waters.

Downtown Providence during the WaterFire festival (Source)

The downtown was further enhanced by the opening of the Providence Place Mall and a new skating rink. A total of $300 million was invested in transportation upgrades. Several biomedical businesses opened in the city. Cianci became a tireless promoter of the city, lobbying the New England Patriots to build a stadium in Providence and frequently appearing on national programs to discuss its business development, arts scene, and historical and cultural attractions. He made a point to show his acceptance of the LGBT community, welcoming them to visit the city or make it their home.

The accelerating pace of Providence's resurrection helped improve Cianci's popularity. Critics continued to point out that the mayor's plans were doing little to help the city's poorest neighborhoods or improve its schools, or that he was taking credit for revitalization plans that were bearing fruit after decades of bipartisan efforts, but these concerns were often overshadowed by praise for the glittering new business district. Cianci further won sympathy by promising to donate the proceeds from his locally distributed pasta sauce, "Mayor's Own Marinara Sauce," to fund a scholarship assisting poor children.

In 1994, Cianci comfortably won re-election in a race against former Democratic state representative Paul Jabour as well as Republican candidate Thomas J. Ricci. In 1998, he was unopposed in the general election.

Operation Plunder Dome

This momentum may easily have carried Cianci to another term in office had he not once again been faced with criminal charges. On April 2, 2001, Cianci was indicted on 30 counts of racketeering, extortion, conspiracy, witness tampering, and mail fraud. The charges were the culmination of a four-year federal investigation, dubbed Operation Plunder Dome, which accused the mayor of essentially running his office like an organized criminal enterprise.

The indictment charged Cianci with involvement in a wide variety of schemes to accept money under the table. Between 1991 and 1999, he and two associates were said to have received $250,000 in campaign funds from tow truck operators. These companies acted as straw donors, giving the money to Cianci's campaign to ensure that they would stay on the police department's preferential tow list. Cianci was also accused of taking bribes to give out municipal jobs, give people breaks on their property taxes, or allow them to obtain vacant city properties.

Similar to the accusations that Providence had been poorly managed under Cianci in the 1970s and 1980s, investigators said there had been widespread corruption elsewhere in the city government. Cocaine and gold had mysteriously disappeared from the police department's evidence room. Manhole covers had also vanished, stolen by city workers to sell for scrap metal.

Cianci talks to the media after his arraignment on April 6, 2001 (Source)

Cianci responded with defiance. Referring to the 97-page indictment, he joked, "I'm not afraid of this. Ninety-seven times zero is zero." When he heard that former tax board chairman Joseph Pannone had said the mayor instructed him how to take a bribe, Cianci joked, "What the hell does he think, that I'm running a seminar? Stealing 101?"

Nevertheless, Operation Plunder Dome began to win convictions against those accused of malfeasance. Not long after the investigation concluded, four city officials and two lawyers were found guilty of corruption.

Cianci went to trial in June 2002, five months before an election he had every intention to enter. By the time the proceedings began, many of the criminal charges had been thrown out for lack of evidence or other reasons.

The trial focused on a number of different incidents, including the extortion related to the tow truck leases and an accusation that Cianci accepted bribes on a $1.2 million lease the School Department took out on a building owned by a convicted felon. One woman testified that she paid the mayor $5,000 to get her son a job on the police force. Another man said he had shelled out $5,000 to get a city job; he started in a temporary role that paid only $9 an hour, but was later rewarded with a full-time senior planner position. Cianci was also accused of accepting $10,000 to grant a property tax break to a resident; taking another $10,000 bribe from a person who wanted to purchase city real estate; extorting a lifetime membership to the University Club, a private club on the city's East Side; and tampering with a witness who had been summoned to discuss the extortion before the grand jury.

David C. Ead, a tax official who had been convicted of bribery as part of Operation Plunder Dome, testified that he arranged a total of $25,000 in bribes for the mayor. Another witness said Cianci had made the threat, "Be careful of the toe you step on today, because it might be connected to an ass that you have to kiss tomorrow." More than 50 witnesses testified for the prosecution, with several saying that they had feared reprisals from Cianci or his director of administration, Frank E. Corrente.

Some of the most damning evidence in Operation Plunder Dome came from Antonio Freitas, a businessman who had paid bribes for tax breaks and other rewards at the FBI's direction. He had also worn a wire to secretly record 180 conversations with city officials between 1998 and 1999. In the tapes, played during the trial, tow truck drivers and other boasted about their connections to City Hall and the schemes they had set up to benefit Cianci.

In one conversation, Pannone described the mayor as being addicted to taking money. "He needs the green. He needs to fix his hair," Pannone said. The comment may have referred to Cianci's distinctive toupee, which he had nicknamed "the squirrel."

Cianci's defense attorneys sought to undermine the credibility of the witnesses who testified against the mayor. They didn't mince words, describing the witnesses as liars and thieves. Ead, one lawyer said, had a gambling addiction and was "a pig, plain and simple." Attorney John Tarantino declared, "David Ead has said just about anything and will do just about anything to protect himself. He's lied and he's cheated and he's deceived for money."

By the end of the trial, the charges related to the tow truck operator kickbacks and the alleged witness tampering were thrown out due to lack of evidence. The charge related to the school lease was also dismissed after the judge determined that it didn't meet the criteria for racketeering.

On June 24, Cianci was acquitted of 11 charges. But the jury found him guilty of one count of racketeering conspiracy under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The RICO rules held that the leader and beneficiary of a racketeering conspiracy could be held responsible for the acts of other conspirators even if he or she did not directly take part in their criminal actions. In his memoir, Cianci agreed with state representative Steven Smith's assessment of the conviction: "They found him guilty of nothing but responsible for everything."

The conviction did little to dampen support for Cianci among the mayor's adherents. He was greeted outside the courtroom by applauding supporters, some of whom shouted, "Let him go!" Almond had called on Cianci to resign after his indictment and repeated the advice after the verdict, saying, "I think the time has come to say the capital city cannot stand this type of corruption. Enough is enough." But Cianci was not required to leave office until his sentencing, and continued to put in public appearances; he even kept an appointment to address a graduating high school class on the evening of his conviction.

Cianci leaves his hotel to begin his prison sentence (Source)

Cianci faced up to 20 years in prison, along with a potential fine of $250,000. On September 7, Judge Ernest C. Torres ordered Cianci to serve 64 months behind bars and pay a $100,000 fine. The prison sentence was squarely in the middle of the federal sentencing guidelines of 57 to 71 months for racketeering conspiracy. Torres, disagreeing with the state's contention that the corruption under Cianci had been a significant disruption to city business, rejected the prosecution's request for a 10-year sentence. The mayor was also required to serve two years of probation and perform 150 hours of community service after his release.

Having maintained his innocence throughout the trial, Cianci thanked the judge for what he considered to be fair treatment. "It's an unfortunate situation. I'm sorry, obviously, that it has come to this," he said. "My heart will always be with Providence. I never intended to do anything wrong, Your Honor."

The sentence was stayed until December to give Cianci an opportunity to appeal, but state law required him to leave office immediately. The remainder of his term, through January 2003, was served by city council president John Lombardi. After Lombardi declined to run in the 2002 election, he was succeeded by Democratic state representative David Cicilline.

Several other people were convicted as a result of Operation Plunder Dome, including Corrente, Ead, and tow truck operator Richard Autiello. A businessman named Edward Voccola was also charged with involvement in the scheme, but was acquitted by a judge partway through his trial.

Later years

While in prison, Cianci kept up with local politics by reading week-old issues of the Providence Journal. He was also inducted into the Providence Preservation Society's hall of fame while still incarcerated. He belatedly filed an appeal in May 2003, arguing that the state had not provided any direct evidence that he was involved in corruption in the Providence city government. A federal appeals court upheld the verdict against him in a 2-1 decision in August 2004.

A surprising development came in April 2005, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit threw out the sentences of Cianci, Autiello, and Corrente. The court ruled that a recent Supreme Court decision, United States v. Booker, had invalidated the mandatory sentencing guidelines used to determine the prison terms for the three men. Cianci attorney John MacFadyen vowed to press for a shorter term, while Robert Corrente, the U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island, said he would oppose any reduction in the former mayor's sentence. Torres, who was ordered to re-sentence Cianci, decided against shortening his prison term.

On May 30, 2007, Cianci was released from prison and sent to a halfway house. Four months later, he again began making frequent appearances as a radio host. He was a frequent critic of Representative Patrick Kennedy, and in January 2010 said he was considering challenging the congressman for his seat in the House of Representatives. He decided against it.

In 2011, Cianci released an autobiography entitled Politics and Pasta. At one point, he wrote, "I used my public power for personal reasons. I admit it. It probably wasn't the right thing to do, but it certainly felt good."

July 2012 marked the end of the three-year waiting period following the end of Cianci's probation. Although Providence residents wondered if he would again run for mayor in the 2014 race, many didn't expect him to do so. Despite his former popularity and track record of urban development, he would be in his early 70s with the less than reputable record of two separate felony convictions.

Cianci during his 2014 mayoral campaign (Source)

Much to the dismay of his prosecutors and critics, Cianci announced that he would indeed run as an independent and seek a seventh term as mayor of Providence. He won the endorsements of several municipal unions, including those representing the teachers, firefighters, and police department.

During his campaign, an Associated Press investigation revealed that Cianci had broken his promise to not accept any donations from city workers. Reporters also found that his pasta sauce hadn't actually generated any profits in the previous four years despite marketing that it supported scholarships. In the general election, Cianci won about 45 percent of approximately 38,000 votes cast. Several Democratic candidates had abandoned their bids to consolidate support against Cianci; the remaining Democratic candidate, Jorge O. Elorza, won the race.

In November 2015, Cianci's official portrait was unveiled in City Hall. During his remarks at the event, Cianci quipped that it was "not the first time I've been framed."

Three months later, Cianci got engaged to Tara Marie Haywood, a 34-year-old actress and model. A few weeks after that, he was suddenly stricken with severe abdominal pain while taping a TV show. He died on January 28, 2016, at the age of 74.

Sources: "Mayor of Providence Seeking Re-Election Without Nomination" in the New York Times on Aug. 25 1974, "R.I. Mayor Cianci Denies Alleged Rape Incident" in The Telegraph on Jul. 10 1978, "City Troubles Catch A Rising Political Star" in The Telegraph on Apr. 18 1981, "Mayor Indicted on Kidnap Charges" in the Lewiston Daily Sun on May 25 1983, "Legal Scrapes Pursue Mayor of Providence" in the Washington Post on Jul. 2 1983, "Kidnaping Charge is Mayor's Next Hurdle" in the Chicago Tribune on Jul. 6 1983, "Mayor of Providence Pleads No Contest to Assault Case" in the New York Times on Mar. 6 1984, "Northeast Journal - Back on the Beat in Providence" in the  New York Times on Jul. 7 1985, "Providence Journal - The Election Was Only Round One" in the New York Times on Nov. 14 1990, "Providence Mayor Indicted on Racketeering Charges" in the New York Times on Apr. 3 2001, "Providence Mayor Convicted On Corruption Charges" in The Hour on Jun. 25 2002, "Providence Mayor Convicted of Corruption" in South Coast Today on Jun. 25 2002, "A Sentence for Corruption Ends an Era in Providence" in the New York Times on Sep. 7 2002, "A Heap of Trouble" in the Providence Journal on Dec. 11 2002, "Raymond DeLeo's Nightmare on Power Street" in the Providence Journal on Dec. 12 2002, "Ex-Providence Mayor Appeals Conviction" in the Plainview Daily Herald on May 27 2003, "Ex-Providence Mayor's Conviction Upheld" in the Los Angeles Times on Aug. 11 2004, "Sentences of Cianci, Two Others Thrown Out" in the Boston Globe on Apr. 7 2005, "Cianci Will Serve Full 64-Month Sentence" in the Brown Daily Herald on Jun. 27 2005, "Buddy Cianci Is In The Lead to Become Mayor of Providence. Again" in the Washington Post on Sep. 24 2014, "Good Buddy, Bad Buddy" in the New York Times on Oct. 11 2014, "Vincent A. Cianci Jr., Celebrated and Scored Ex-Mayor of Providence, R.I., Dies at 74" in the New York Times on Jan. 28 2016, "Timeline of the Late Buddy Cianci's Political Career" in the San Diego Union-Tribune on Jan. 28 2016, "Vincent 'Buddy' Cianci, 1941-2016" in the Providence Journal on Jan. 28 2016, "Former Providence Mayor 'Buddy' Cianci Has Died" in South Coast Today on Jan. 28 2016, "Buddy Cianci, Flamboyant and Roguish Mayor Who Rebuilt Providence, Dies at 74" in the Washington Post on Jan. 28 2016, Politics and Pasta by Vincent Cianci Jr. and David Fisher, The Prince of Providence by Mike Stanton, Who We Be: The Colorization of America by Jeff Chang