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Cicilline Ally Pichardo Overrules Providence Police, Reopens The Vault After Shooting

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

 

The Providence Board of Licenses voted on Monday to reopen The Vault, a week after a shooting outside the Federal Hill club -- which is located in a building that until recently was owned by Congressman David Cicilline, and is currently owned by his brother, convicted felon John Cicilline.  

GoLocalTV: See Video of the Shooting Outside The Vault -- and More -- ABOVE

The shooting occurred early Tuesday morning last week, just days before Rep. Cicilline joined a group of Democrats on the U.S. House of Representatives floor to stage a sit-in in support of gun control.

Read: Cicilline Helped Lead House Sit-In, Family Owns Building Tied to Repeated Violence HERE

Board Chair Senator Juan Pichardo (left) and Former Mayor and now Congressman David Cicilline, whose brother owns the building where gun violence occurred last week.

The Board of Licenses shut down the The Vault for five days following the incident in the early morning on June. Assistant City Solicitor Mario Martone recommended on Monday that the club remain closed for ten days, incur a fine, and be made to provide police detail moving forward. 

The move by Martone came following video footage of the incident from security cameras across the street on Atwells Avenue, as well as testimony by Sgt. David Tejada on the incident broaching greater public safety issues associated with the club. 

"People who are behaving appropriately are not removed by security with their arms around their necks," said Martone, following the footage of the hours leading up to the shooting being shown at the Board of Licenses Monday, which showed the shooter waiting outside the club after he had been removed by bouncers. "The board has on numerous occasions said if there's an issue, call the police - let the police let you take care of the issue."

Cicilline ally and Board of Licenses Chair Senator Juan Pichardo motioned to re-open the club immediately however -- with detail on weekends and holidays -- which was approved by the board, with the exception of Board member Johanna Harris, who was the lone dissenter. 

"To me, [the safety issues] are directly related to the club," said Harris during the meeting. 

Sparring Over Safety

The streets outside The Vault had been the scene of a double stabbing in September 2014, but as the incident did not happen directly inside the club, it was not listed as part of the club's legal history at the Board of Licenses meeting on Monday. 

Video footage was shown Monday of a patron leaving The Vault - and soon after shooting onto Atwells Avenue.

Both Martone and Tejada spoke to their concerns about public safety and the response from the club Monday, including the fact that the gunman is still at large, and the gun, which wounded one, has not been recovered. 

Lawyer Peter Petrarca for The Vault argued that the event was "not foreseeable," and the club should not be penalized. 

"It's not the responsibility of the licensee," said Petrarca. "There's no way they could have stopped it."

Pichardo, who was appointed to the Board of Licenses in 2013 and became President last year, was first elected to the Rhode Island Senate in 2002.

On Monday, Pichardo ruled that the club should be reopened immediately, and that police detail is to be provided by the club on weekends and holidays. The board voted to review The Vault again in ten days. 

 

Related Slideshow: Violence on Federal Hill:  A Chronological History

“There is a perception that things were less violent on Federal Hill during the Raymond Patriarca era but I disagree since it is only the NATURE of the violence that has changed," argues former Attorney General Arlene Violet.  

To see a brief chronological history of the history of violence on Federal Hill -- from the 19th century through the 1990s -- check out the slides below.   

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Murder of Waterman Irons

1888:  Murder of Waterman Irons by Dennis "Spiker" Murphy and "Pete" Hackett

In 1888, an 82 year old leather merchant named Waterman Irons was murdered by Dennis “Spiker” Murphy and “Pete” Hackett.  According to a Providence Evening News article from April 27, 1912 Irons' murder:

“..took place at the man’s little shop on High Street, now Westminster Street and Dean Street.”  [1]

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Ethnic Tensions on Rise

Late 19th Century:  Tensions Rise Between Irish & Italian Immigrants

Federal Hill was initially settled by English immigrants.   Irish immigrants began settling on the Hill during the 1830s and Italian immigrants followed suit later in the 19th century.   By the 1880s tensions between the more established Irish and the new Italian arrivals began to erupt on Federal Hill resulting in acts of violence like the "stab and shoot" referenced in the accompanying photo.    

Photo Courtesy of Providence City Archives  

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Macaroni Riots

1914:  The Macaroni Riots 

The Macaroni Riots of 1914 began when a local wholesaler on Federal Hill, Frank P. Ventrone raised the price of macaroni by 50 percent.   A monthlong series of labor unreset and riots ensued on the Hill.   As Tony Marrocco(“Monaleek”) wrote at that time in the Italian Echo:   

“It was Sunday afternoon when about 12 immigrants held a rally in Olneyville Square and then marched to Federal Hill. They proceeded to Ventrone’s Grocery on Atwells Avenue to protest the rise in the price of macaroni. They smashed windows and stole cheese, macaroni, salami, capacollo and most anything in sight.   Twenty mounted police put a stop to the riot in two hours. The riot made a point and the price of macaroni returned to its pre riot price.” http://www.italianamericanwriter.com/?p=2672">Source

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Frank P. Ventrone

Frank P. Ventrone:  The "Macaroni King" of Federal Hill 

Federal Hill shopkeeper Frank P. Ventrone's wholesale shop was boarded up during the Macaroni riots.   

According to Providence City Archivist Paul Campbell:

"At the end of it Ventrone agreed to lower his prices, and things quieted down around the World War I period when the Providence Police Department started to bring in Italian speaking police officers.” 

Photo Courtesy of Providence City Archives  

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"Daddy" Black Murder

1932:  Murder of Arthur "Daddy" Black 

From Providence Police Department [Campbell, P., Glancy, J., Pearson, G.(2014), Arcadia Publishing]

"The Jazz Age in Providence produced many great personalities, but none greater than Arthur"Daddy" Black who, during the 1920s, was kingpin of an illegal numbers pool that offered local blacks the long-shot opportunity to win big. A 20-year Navy veteran who was cited twice foil bravery during World War I, Daddy Black's investments included sponsorship of black and white professional baseball and basketball teams. His entrepreneurial skills earned him the accolade "Providence's Richest Negro," but his success in the numbers racket earned the attention of a new generation of violent gangsters. On September 24,1932, Black was shot to death in his office on 160 Cranston Street by a group of black assassins working under the direction of Italian mobsters. An estimated 3,000 mourners attended his funeral."  

Photo Courtesy of Providence Police Archives  

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Raymond Patriarca

1954:   Raymond Patriarca Becomes Mob Boss 

Excerpt from ​Rhode Island Monthly Federal Hill Timeline 

1954 Organized crime boss Philip Buccola flees New England for Sicily, leaving Raymond Patriarca in control. Patriarca becomes a notoriously ruthless mob overlord and is ultimately arrested twenty-eight times.

Source

Photo Courtesy of Providence Police Archives

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Tiger Balletto Murder

1955:  Mob Hit on George “Tiger” Balleto at Bella Napoli Cafe

From Providence Police Department [Campbell, P., Glancy, J., Pearson, G.(2014), Arcadia Publishing]

"A victim of a period of mob violence in the 1950s in Providence under the consolidated power of crime boss Raymond Patriarca, George "Tiger" Balletto was shot in the back several times on the night of August 10, 1955 while drinking an orangeade and vodka at the end of the bar at Bella Napoli Cafe on 93 Atwells Avenue.  Police reported that a dozen witnesses of the shooting "had been sticken with total loss of memory." 

Photo Courtesy of Providence City Archives 

 

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Marfeo & Malei Murder

1968:  Mob Hit on Rudolph Marfeo and Anthony Melei inside Pocasset Avenue Grocery Store

Marfeo and Melei were gunned down inside grocery store on Pocasset Avenue on April 20, 1968.

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RI v. Raymond Patriarca

1973:  State v. Raymond Patriarca

Excerpt from STATE v. Raymond L.S. PATRIARCA. No. 1566-Ex. &c. Supreme Court of Rhode Island. July 20, 1973:   

"It appears that at about 2:30 on the afternoon of Saturday, April 20, 1968, Rudolph Marfeo and Anthony Melei were shot to death while shopping in a market on Pocasset Avenue in the city of Providence. Apparently, it was Marfeo's custom to shop for groceries in that market on Saturday afternoons, and while he and Melei were in the market two masked gunmen entered and shot them both.

Thereafter, on June 2, 1969, as a result of these homicides three indictments were returned by the grand jury. Indictment No. 69-769 charged the appellant here, Raymond L.S. Patriarca, with conspiring to murder Rudolph Marfeo. Others named in that indictment were Maurice R. Lerner, Robert E. Fairbrothers, John Rossi, and Rudolpho G. Sciarra. In Indictment No. 69-767 the appellant here and Sciarra were charged with being accessories to the murder of Marfeo, while Lerner, Fairbrothers, and Rossi were charged with the murder of Marfeo. In Indictment No. 69-768 the appellant here and Sciarra were charged with being accessories to the murder of Anthony Melei, while Lerner, Fairbrothers, and Rossi were charged with Melei's murder."

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Dickie Callei Murder

1975:  Mob Hit on Dickie Callei at the Acorn Social Club

From a Providence Journal article on March 15, 1975.    

"Police say Callei was killed sometime overnight and his body driven into the woods and buried between 1:30 and 6:30 yesterday morning. Rehoboth Police Chief Raymond McKearney said snow lined the bottom of the grave, leading police to conclude that the grave might have been dug hours or even days before Callei was buried in it. Police said Callei was clad in a blood-soaked white shirt and green tie and buckskin shoes. A green and white sports coat was buried beside him. He was wearing a watch and two rings with initials on them.

Chief McKearney said it appeared from the marks and blood stains in the snow that he was dragged from the car by more than two persons, but wouldn't say how. There were blood stains between the tire marks at the end of the trail, indicating the body probably was taken from a car trunk. Chief McKearney called the slaying "brutal" and said it appeared to be a gangland killing. Dr. Shamey said Callei suffered three skull fractures caused by blunt instruments, stab wounds in the face, chest and abdomen and several bullet wounds in the back, the bullets going through the heart and lungs. He said shots were fired from close range."

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Joe "Onions" Murder

1978: Mob Hit on Joe “Onions” Scanlon at Andrew Merola’s night club.

From the New York Times (In Rhode Island, an Old Mobster Lets Go of a Long-Kept Secret, 21 December 2008) 

Thirty years ago, organized crime in Rhode Island was still like a rogue public utility. Raymond L. S. Patriarca, the old man with bullet tips for eyes, still ran the New England rackets from a squat building on Federal Hill. And men, from the merely dishonest to the profoundly psychopathic, still followed his rules.

Among them was Nicky Pari, who supposedly declined the honor to join the Mafia because he preferred the freelance life. If not made, he was known, in part because he had done time for helping a Patriarca lieutenant hijack a truck with a $50,000 load of dresses.

In April 1978, he and another freelancer, Andrew Merola, decided to address the delicate matter of a police informant within their ranks, a droopy-eyed young man from Hartford named Joseph Scanlon. The theories behind his nickname, “Joe Onions,” are that he made the girls cry or, more prosaically, that his surname sounded like scallion.

One morning Mr. Pari lured Mr. Scanlon and his girlfriend, who was holding their infant daughter, into Mr. Merola’s social club, in a Federal Hill building now long gone. Mr. Pari struck Mr. Scanlon in the face. Then Mr. Merola fired a bullet that shot through the man’s head and caught the tip of one of Mr. Pari’s fingers.

The girlfriend was ordered to leave the room. When she came back, her child’s father was wrapped in plastic near the door, his jewelry gone, his boots placed beside his body. A package, awaiting delivery.

The girlfriend, once described as a “stand-up girl” who wouldn’t talk, did, and the two men were convicted of murder in a case lacking a central piece of evidence: the body. They successfully appealed their convictions, but in 1982 they pleaded no contest to reduced charges in a deal that required them to say where the body was.

Dumped in Narragansett Bay, they said.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/22/us/22land.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0">Source

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"Slick" Vecchio Murder

 1982:  Mob Hit on Raymond “Slick” Vecchio

According to a Rhode Island Monthly Federal Hill timeline, in 1982: 

Raymond “Slick” Vecchio is shot at Vincent’s restaurant on Atwells by two masked men. Police suspect mobster strongman Kevin Hanrahan, who himself is shot outside of the Arch restaurant, also on Atwells, in 1992. 

http://www.rimonthly.com/Rhode-Island-Monthly/October-2007/Federal-Hill-Timeline/">Source

Prev Next

"Bobo" Marrapese

1987:  "Bobo" Marrapese Charged With Slaying Callei 12 Years After Murder 

According to a March 13, 2005 Sun Chronicle article:    

"Frank L. “Bobo” Marrapese, who reputedly ran gambling and loan sharking operations in Providence, was charged with Callei's slaying 12 years after the murder.  Despite the age of the evidence, a 29-year-old Rhode Island prosecutor named Michael Burns was able to convince a jury that Marrapese had stabbed, bludgeoned and shot Callei in Providence's Acorn Social Club." 

Prev Next

Keven Hanrahan Murder

1992:  Mob Hit on Kevin Hanrahan Under the Arch on Atwells Avenue

Allan May writes:  

"On September 18, 1992, after having dinner with Buehne, Paulie Calenda, a millionaire businessman and mob associate, and others, Hanrahan went to a North Providence bar called The Arch, where he told several people he was expecting a "big score." After leaving the restaurant Hanrahan was walking down Atwells Avenue when two men confronted him. One pulled a .38 and fired three bullets into his face ending the life of the Irish tough guy."  

 
 

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