The Scoop: Cheaters Owner Gave Money to Prov City Council Members
Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Providence City Council President Michael Solomon and Councilman Terrence Hassett have both received campaign donations from Charles Tapalian, owner of Cheaters Nightclub, according to Rhode Island Board of Elections records.
Tapalian gave $1,000 to Solomon on March 28, 2013, and donated $250 to Hassett on April 13, 2013. The strip club owner also gave $400 to Hassett on April 26, 2006 and $250 to him on March 29, 2012, but records indicate that Hassett never deposited the later donation.
Cheaters Nightclub has been embroiled in controversy since August when police found evidence of a prostitution ring at the establishment, as well as a 15-year-old girl dancing on the premises. Police later determined that the underage girl had been dancing at Cheater’s since she was 14.
Subsequently, the Board of Licenses fined the club $5,000 and suspended its liquor, food and entertainment licenses for 45 days.
In August, Solomon, who is planning to run for Mayor of Providence in 2014, introduced a common sense ordinance requiring Providence strip club performers to undergo a BCI check to verify their age. The Council approved the ordinance in September.
Most recently, Providence Mayor Angel Taveras proposed a one-strike law that would permanently close any adult entertainment location the first time performers are caught soliciting patrons for sex.
"I have supported increased regulation of entertainment establishments since being elected to the city council in 2007," Solomon told GoLocal. "In 2009, I authored legislation prohibiting minors from dancing in nightclubs upon learning that there was no such statute in place. Earlier this year, after learning that an establishment hired a fourteen-year-old girl, I submitted an ordinance to require age verification for nightclub employees, which was subsequently supported by the Attorney General. Furthermore, at the last city council meeting, I introduced an ordinance with the Mayor that automatically revokes an entertainment establishment's license if certain illegal activities are discovered. I will continue to do everything in my power to protect the youth of our city and hold these establishments accountable for violating the law."
Councilman Hassett was unavailable for comment.
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Block to Attend Big Event
Candidate Block to attend Republican Governors Association event.
Republican candidate for Governor Ken Block has announced that he will attend a Republican Governors Association information and training session for candidates. The event will take place November 21-22 in Scottsdale, Arizona.
"I was happy to be invited and I look forward to attending," said Block. "I'll have the chance to learn from successful Republican Governors and other candidates from around the country."
Block emphasized the importance of learning from other states.
"Rhode Island must draw from lessons learned by other states," Block said. "Many of my proposals are guided by analyzing how Rhode Island ranks nationally, and then identifying best practices. This approach also applies to campaigning and finding effective ways to build support among voters."
In recent weeks Block has been meeting with Republican town committees, and he attended the recent opening of the new Rhode Island Republican Party headquarters.
"My plan to find and save $1 billion in wasteful spending is resonating with Republican voters, who are looking for a candidate with specific ideas to rebuild Rhode Island's economy," Block said.
"As I speak with Republicans across our state, I can see that the party is re-energized, focused, and ready to compete," said Block.
The current Chairman of the Republican Governors Association is Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a graduate of Brown University.
Chafee’s New Appointees
Gov. Chafee announces new appointees and two co-chairs to RI Science and Technology Advisory Council.
Governor Lincoln D. Chafee today announced that Janet Coit, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management, has joined the Rhode Island Science & Technology Advisory Council (STAC). He also appointed as the Council's co-chairs David Savitz, Ph.D, Vice President of Research for Brown University, and Gerald Sonnenfeld, Ph.D, Vice President of Research and Economic Development for the University of Rhode Island.
"With these changes, we strengthen the diversity and experience of STAC's members," Chafee said. "The new co-chairs and Director Coit bring many years of leadership experience and will move the Council forward. Director Coit provides a new key dimension with her knowledge and dedication to Rhode Island's open spaces and Narragansett Bay."
The Rhode Island Science & Technology Advisory Council (STAC) is a coalition of leaders in the field of science and technology representing business, medicine, higher education and government. STAC was formed in 2006 and is charged with advising state leadership on strategic investments that drive economic development and job creation by maximizing the economic impact of research, technology and innovation.
STAC policies and programs support the state's research and development activity and promote collaboration across institutions, encourage entrepreneurship and new company creation through the transfer of new technologies and discoveries into the marketplace, and create an environment that enables innovation to flourish. STAC serves as governing committee for the $20 million Rhode Island National Science Foundation's Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research grant.
Sales Tax Repeal
Sales Tax Study Commission to hear from members of the Division of Taxation and the Tax Foundation.
The Special Joint Legislative Commission to Study the Sales Tax Repeal will meet on Tuesday, November 19, in Room 35 of the State House.
The agenda for the meeting, the fifth of the commission, includes a discussion of youth unemployment, minority unemployment, regressivity, and lack of recovery for pre-recession job peaks.
The commission will also hear testimony from David Sullivan, Administrator of the Division of Taxation and Joe Henchman of the Tax Foundation.
The 13-member commission was created by legislation approved during the most recent legislative session to “make a comprehensive study of all aspects of the current system pertaining to sales tax, including, but not limited to, the possibility of repealing the sales tax.”
The commission is expected to report its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly by February 6, 2014. Rep. Jan P. Malik (D-Dist. 67, Barrington, Warren) is the commission chair.
The hearing will be televised by Capitol TV (Channel 15 for Cox Communications and Full Channel; Channel 34 for Verizon).