Cianci on Providence Corruption Charges (posted March 8, 2000)

With five guilty pleas in Providence City Hall corruption cases and another trial currently underway, speculation is centering on what Mayor Buddy Cianci knows about the allegations of bribery and extortion. On March 7, WJAR-TV reporter Dan Jaehnig interviewed Mayor Cianci about the charges. Here is what Cianci said:

Q. [What about the recent Joseph Pannone charge linking you to Providence corruption?]

A. That's absolutely false. That never happened. I hardly know Mr. Pannone. I have known him over the years, but I have no social relationship with him, no business relationship with him. He was appointed to an independent board. And I categorically deny that. That's just absurd.

Q. And you never have accepted any kind of money from any city employee to keep their job?

A. Absolutely not.

Q. [What about the charge of bribery?]

A. No one ever paid me. No one ever came to me and said give you money to do this. That's just false. It is totally unbelievable. What I really believe is that they did use my name.

Q. What about Mr. Corrente? Do you have any knowledge that he was involved in anything?

A. I can't believe that Frank Corrente was involved with anything like that.

Q. It long has been reported and it was mentioned in the indictment that the only way to get promoted in the Providence police and fire departments is to contribute to your campaign. True or false?

A. Ask the police, ask the individual ones who were promoted in the past whenever. That is just false, that is absolutely false.

Q. There is some speculation that this is the tip of the iceberg and eventually the connection will be made that Buddy Cianci was involved in this corruption scheme. And you said since day one and you say tonight?

A. That's right. I am not involved in any corruption scheme.

Source: WJAR-TV