‘I’ve been framed’ felon ex-mayor quips at portrait reveal

20 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Eventful event for Cianci as portrait is unveiled at Providence City Hall.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A portrait of former mayor and two-time felon Buddy Cianci was unveiled at City Hall, and Cianci couldn’t resist telling a one-liner referring to his criminal past. The portrait includes references to some of Cianci’s triumphs as Providence mayor, including a book about the Providence Renaissance, when the city’s downtown was revitalized. The privately funded portrait would be presented during a ceremony sponsored by the city archivist’s office, according to city reference archivist Britni Gorman. Beryl Kenyon, a public information officer for the state Executive Office of Health and Human Services and a former press secretary for Cianci, said he arrived at the Atwells Avenue restaurant at about 8:15 p.m. He was known for wearing a toupee in office but now refers to it as “the squirrel.” Cianci, who spent 21 years in office and is the city’s longest-serving mayor, noted he had only been back to City Hall once since he left office in 2002 and that was a brief visit to register to vote.

The 5:30 p.m. ceremony was over before 6, and Cianci was accepting congratulations and speaking with well-wishers when he “sort of fell back” into one of the room’s padded benches, said Artin Coloian, a lawyer and former Cianci chief of staff. “It was really, really warm in there,” Coloian said. Cianci was forced from office twice, first in 1984, when he pleaded no contest to assaulting a man with a fireplace log, an ashtray and a lit cigarette. When asked what Elorza thought about hanging Cianci’s portrait in City Hall, spokesman Evan England first referred calls to the archivist and the City Council. Paolino opened the ceremony by saying that no matter where you go or who you talk to about Providence, “They all ask about Buddy.” Paolino also observed that “the best friend you can have is someone who has been your greatest foe.” Saying “so much of our careers have crossed,” he recalled becoming mayor after Cianci and finishing some of the work Cianci started, then watching Cianci become mayor again and finish some of the work he started.

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