Convicted Mob Drug Dealer is East Side Mansion’s Suboxone Developer

Wednesday, December 28, 2016


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The elegant yellow brick Tillinghast Mansion on the corner of Lloyd and Thayer Street is being transformed into a Suboxone clinic by one of Rhode Island’s most notorious criminals.

Richard Dion, who manages the corporation Oxford Investment which purchased the East Side mansion where the drug treatment facility is being advertised, is a former Providence Police officer, has deep ties to organized crime, and in 1999 was convicted by federal prosecutors for cocaine dealing, extortion, and racketeering. 

As GoLocal first reported on Monday, “One of Providence’s most acclaimed historic mansions is being transformed into a Suboxone clinic..the mansion was purchased for $1.6 million from Deborah Zaki. Zaki is the widow of Hani Zaki, who was murdered in 2001 and the crime has never been solved. He was killed in his home on Prospect Street, just two blocks up the street from the Lloyd property.”

Leading Rhode Island law enforcement officials tell GoLocal that Dion has close ties to Eddie Lato — an identified Capo in the New England crime family.

Federal Cocaine Conviction

According to Federal court documents, “Richard A. Dion pled guilty to five counts of an indictment charging him with distributing cocaine, and to three counts of a separate indictment charging him with racketeering and extortion. Because the quantity of cocaine distributed was more than 500 grams, the Federal Sentencing Guidelines call for a sentence of 63-78 months, mandates a sentence of at least five years in prison.”

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The federal racketeering indictment charged that Dion was "part of a wide-ranging conspiracy to collect gambling debts by extortionate means. Specifically, it alleges that Dion acted as an enforcer and threatened at least two people with physical harm if they failed to make payment. One of the victims was Robert Atamian, who Dion learned was addicted to the prescription drug Vicodin. When Atamian became fearful for his safety, he sought protection from the FBI. Agents persuaded him to begin purchasing Vicodin and, later, cocaine from Dion who was under investigation for his role in the racketeering activity.”

Elected Officials and Residents Caught Off Guard

The Providence City Councilman who represents that area was unaware of the sale of the property to Dion and the building's transformation into a Suboxone facility.

“I learned about the proposed clinic from GoLocalProv – thank you for informing the community.  I look forward to consulting with the College Hill Neighborhood Association to learn their assessment of local impacts and concerns,” said Councilman Sam Zurier.  “I also will discuss the proposal at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Ward 2 Committee which will take place in a couple of weeks.  Based on that feedback and a better understanding of the regulatory process, I will develop a position and a plan that best addresses the legitimate concerns of my constituents.”

Similarly, Josh Eisen who heads the College Hill Neighborhood Association tells GoLocal, “CHNA was not notified of the plans. We will need to research and discuss before we can comment further.”

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Does the Facility Face Any Regulation?

Dion’s proposed Suboxone clinic may face little regulatory review if his facility is tied to a licensed physician.

According to the Rhode Island Department of Health’s Joseph Wendelken, "Someone who is licensed by the Rhode Island Department of Health as a physician, and who is waivered by the federal government to prescribe buprenorphine, can prescribe that medication without getting a separate facility license from the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals.“

The impact on the neighborhood - one of the most expensive and historic in the region -  may be significant.

“There used to be a day spa there," said Sharon Steele, a leading East Side real estate consultant. "What I don’t understand, is how it goes from a day spa to a Suboxone clinic? What kind of zoning is in place?  Wickenden is at least commercial. This is smack in the middle of a residential area."

“From a real estate consultant standpoint, my immediate reaction was, what happened in the dark of night? Clearly this didn’t happen in 24 hours, but it was all kept under wraps — until it became public,” added Steele.

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The Second East Side Suboxone Clinic Involving a Former Convict

As GoLocal reported this summer: A former Rhode Island tax preparer who was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison by the Department of Justice has opened a suboxone therapy clinic Wickenden Street in Providence.  Neighbors have taken to social media as a number of people were victims of his tax scheme are concerned about the new venture.

Michael Brier, who in 2013 pleaded guilty to underreporting over a million dollars in income and violating a federal court order that had permanently barred him to preparing tax returns for others, opened Recovery Connection in Providence in June, to "provide counseling services to those with opioid and drug addiction issues," at the same location where his tax preparation services had been.



Related Slideshow: 25 Interesting Americans Tied to Raymond Patriarca

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Frank Sinatra had an ownership interest in Patriarca's Western Massachusetts race track.

Berkshire Downs Track  Owners Included B.A. Dario, Raymond Patriarca and Frank Sinatra

FBI documents unveil the elaborate financial issues tied to Berkshire Downs — a race track run and financed B.A. Dario (Dario Bacciocchi) who owned Lincoln Downs (today, Twin River) and was one of RI’s largest auto dealers. In addition, Patriarca was tied to the ownership.  According to a Albany University Law School document - Singers Frank Sinatra and Tony Martin both had ownership interests in the track.

“Since it was a no-lose proposition, Berkshire Downs also likely had serious mob involvement. While ostensibly run by Rhode Island entrepreneur B.A. Dario (who also operated Lincoln Downs in Rhode Island) there was apparently significant involvement with Raymond Patriarca who was considered the longtime overall leader of the Mafia in New England.4 Interestingly enough also somewhat involved was Frank Sinatra who served for a time as a vice-president of the track. 

Singer Tony Martin was also a director of the track. Dario claimed that he had interested the two performers in a meeting in Miami in the winter of 1962. Sinatra at a Congressional investigation in 1972 claimed to have made a $55,000 investment in Berkshire Downs in 1962 which he sold in 1963 after finding out that the without his knowledge he had been named a vice president of the track. He claimed to have bought the 5% interest in the track after the track‟s president Salvatore Rizzo had approached him in a nightclub in Atlantic City in August of 1962.7 Patriarca was alleged to have invested $215,000 in Berkshire. He denied the investment, and further denied ever meeting Sinatra,” according to the Albany Law paper.

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Governor John Notte had close ties to Raymond Patriarca and documents from the FBI link the Governor to payoffs and prositutes.

Governor Notte Clears the Way for Patriarca

“Informant stated that at the present time he has heard the Patriarca has an interest in a crap game being operated somewhere in North Providence, Rhode Island that the crap game has the approval of the Governor of the State of Rhode Island, John Notte, along with Chief of Police Jack De Stafno of North Providence Police. Lieutenant Peter O’Connell of the Rhode Island StatePolice is also aware of the game and none of the police mentioned will take any action against the game.”

Informant said that Colonel Harrie Gill of the Rhode Island State Police is the appointment of Governor Notte, that Gill may be also aware of this crap game but is taking a passive action towards gambling because of the approval of Governor Notte.

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There were multiple references to Duddie Massad and his close relationship to Raymond Patriarca.

Another tie between Duddie and the Patriarca Crime Family

Associates of Patriarca drive a car tied to Duddies in Worcester, according to an FBI memo — this is another in a series of connections between Patriarca and Duddie.

“revealed that Massachusetts Registration “D8A” is issued to Duddies of Worcester, Inc, doing business as Duddies Cadillac City, 616 Park Avenue, Worcester, Massachusetts.”

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B.A. Dario owned car dealerships and race tracks - he was closely tied to Patriarca.

Governor of Massachusetts’ Father Brought in Dario

Dr. Charles Furcolo — the father of the former Governor of Massachusetts — brought in Dario too help fund the rest of the construction as Furcolo and his group of investors had run out of money.

Other members of the ownership group, “alleged that Dr. Furcolo boasted that his son controlled the State Racing Commission and the track would not get any race dates unless he, (former State Senator Joseph) Murphy, sold out resigned.”

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The Patriarca organization and the Winter Hill Gang are two of the most infamous crime organizations in American history. These two groups are both linked together and yet widely different.

“The difference most notable was the area they controlled.  Winter Hill Gang was pretty much Metro-Boston based. The Patriarca La Cosa Nosta (LCN) was part of a national and international crime family with history going back many years.  Winter Hill was a strong, dangerous, calculating group of criminals that could rival the LCN in the area,”  Retired Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police Tom Foley tells GoLocal. “They were not able to compete on a national level. Even though Winter Hill would venture into other jurisdictions if the money was there; they didn't have control of those areas (i.e. Florida, Connecticut).”  Foley is the author of"Most Wanted - Pursuing Whitey Bulger, the Murderous Mob Chief the FBI Secretly Protected."

"In RI we were aware of Howie Winter and Jimmy Bulger, but there was very limited contact with Winter Hill members. The RI State Police Intelligence Unit would share information during that period of time with the Mass State Police and FBI, but it was difficult as those relations north of Providence were strained," said Brendan Doherty, former Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police. "Frank Salemme who became the boss of the New England La Cosa Nostra after Raymond Jr. (Patriarca) and Nicky Bianco were incarcerated, spent considerable time between Boston and Providence. Frank was close to Stevie Flemmi and Flemmi was Jimmy Bulgers guy. I would send my information to Tom Foley because he had a better handle on Boston than anyone. When it came to criminal intelligence information Tom Foley could hear the grass grow."

Whitey Bulger emerged as the boss of the Winter Hill gang in 1978 after Howie Winter went to prison. 

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Meyer Lansky and Raymond Patriarca

A memo from Director J Edgar Hoover to the New York office of the FBI outlines the Department’s priority for an “all-out investigation,” on ten “hoodlums across the country.  The was lead by Patriarca, Meyer Lansky, and Anthony Corallo.  One of the ten names was redacted by the FBI — the leader in of Detroit. 

The memo outlines that previously targeted include Thomas Luchese, Sam Giancana, and Santo Trafficante.

Giancana of course was tied to Frank Sinatra as well as dated Judith Campbell Exner (who was also a mistress of President John F. Kennedy).

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MA Attorney General Edward Brooke Launches Investigation Into Racing Commission

Ed Brooke who would go on to to be the first black United States Senator as then AG in 1963 started an “inquiry into additional racing dates by ‘phantom’ fairs, in particular, the 12 racing days awarded in the fashion to the Hancock Raceway.”

Patriarca had significant financial interest in the track at the time.

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Patriots Gambling Controversy Expands

“Boston informants advises that REDACTED and REDACTED Boston Patriots football players betting large sums of football games with REDACTED bookmaker. In Boston-New York Titan game of 11/30/62, players bet on Titans in view of point spread favoring Boston . Boston beat Titans 24 to 17 and players won their bets. REDACTED Boston REDACTED, sidelined with REDACTED and did not play.” See pages 34 and 35.


The American Football League is Notified of Gambling by Patriots

FBI Asks American Football League to Investigate Patriots Gambling

“Prior to this game the Oakland Raiders of the American Football League had lost 19 games in a row. Prior information has indicated Boston Patriot players have been wagering on outcome of games and at times have bet against themselves. Dallas has been instructed to call this situation to attention of Joe Foss, President of American Football League. Boston Office being instructed to press investigation of this situation.”

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Patriarca to Host Sinatra and Bennett Fundraiser for Gov. Notte

“Another UNMAN discussed with PATRIARCA the possibility of running a big show with name personalities such as SINATRA and TONY BENNETT to raise funds for the Governor NOTTE (Rhode Island) campaign,” said the documents.

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Federal Magistrate Hagopian rules Patriarca is too sick to stand trial.

The controversial decision is laid out in the FBI documents procured by GoLocal via a FOIA request in 2015.

PAGE 82 United States Magistrate Jacob Hagopian “stayed indefinitely his order to remove Raymond L.S. Patriarca to the Southern District of Florida for the purposes of arraignment relating to Labor racketeering charges due to Patriarca’s serious medical condition.”

“United States Magistrate Hagopian rendered his decision after a lengthy hearing held on October 13, 1981 at which Patriarca’s REDACTED (two of those who testified were Dr. Barbara H. Roberts and Dr. Michael J. Faella), and three other physicians testified to Patriarca’s failing medical condition and the high probability that the stress of traveling REDACTED.

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Another Connection with Dean Martin

“REDACTED also advised PATRIARCA that he was offered the Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut territories for the distribution of TV juke boxes. The company is being backed by FRANK SINATRA and DEAN MARTIN, in addition to top hoodlum REDACTED…”

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Chief Justice

Raymond Patriarca dominated New England organized crime for nearly half a century and during much of that time, Joseph Bevilacqua rose to become the most powerful force in the Rhode Island judicial system. According to FBI documents and reports of informants, Patriarca and Bevilacqua had a long-standing relationship.

This week's FBI documents have allegations of a deep and inappropriate and, even criminal relationship between the two. There are numerous insights into there ties, here are two:

PAGE 21 “State Commission on Judicial Tenure and Disciplne is currently conducting closed hearings concerning Chief Justice JOSEPH BEVILACQUA, Rhode Island Supreme Court, regarding the facts that BEVILACQUA wrote a letter to the Rhode Island Parole Board prior to RAYMOND PATRIARCA’s January, 1975 parole supporting the parole for PATRIARCA.”

PAGE 26 “A second source advised during 2/77 that contact between PATRIARCA and Chief Justice JOSEPH BEVILACQUA R.I. Supreme Court, are handled through REDACTED in Providence, R.I. State Police currently investigating allegations that BEVILACQUA,in 1964, received part of the loot from armed robbery of Outlet., Co. Providence, R.I.

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FBI files unveil that Raymond Patriarca did not appreciate it if you killed someone without his permission. Joe Barbosa was a vicious hitman. Often, his murders were without permission from the organization.

On page 66 of this week's document we learn, “…BARBOZA, killed JACKIE FRANCIONE…PATRIARCA again became enraged that REDACTED had the audacity to order a ‘hit’ without RAYMOND’s knowledge.”

The documents unveil the "rules" to kill someone, "ANGIULO gave REDACTED a lecture on killing people, pointing out that he should not kill people because he had an argument with him at any time. If an argument ensue, he should leave and get word to RAYMOND  PATRIARCA who, in turn, will either ‘OK’ or deny the ‘hit’ on this individual, depending on the circumstance.”

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Joseph Valachi called to be deposed in Patriarca’s lawsuit against the Boston Herald.

“VALACHI explained a deposition is being taken from him, inasmuch as he, VALACHI, is in a position to identify PATRIARCA as a member of La Cosa Nostra.”

“VALACHI stated that he is not in a position to identify PATRIARCA as a Cosa Nostra boss but only as a soldier at the time, he, VALACHI met him.”

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Jack Witschi’s Sports Arena

FBI documents track the relationship between the Patriarca family and the famous Jack Witschi Sports Arena - the home to profession wrestling matches for decades.

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MA Gov

Raymond Patriarca is tied to numerous Rhode Island politicians through massive campaign donations and bribes -- including prostitution. This week's Patriarca Papers unveils greater details about Patriarca's organization influence in the Massachusetts Governor's race in 1964.

This week's collection of papers unveils that as much as $250,000 may have been parceled out to the campaign of Francis X. Bellotti - the then-Lt. Governor who was challenging Endicott Peabody, the siting Governor in the Democratic primary. 

Patriarca had a strong dislike for Peabody as he was supported by the Kennedys. Bellotti did defeat Peabody in the Democratic primary, but then he was defeated in the General Election by Republican John Volpe.

The are numerous references to the race and the efforts by the Patriarca to influence the outcome and one of the most important is:

PAGE 91 “decided that they would attempt to knock out present Governor ENDICOTT PEABODY as Governor of Massachusetts in the primary election. I this manner, the KENNEDY family would be embarrassed and lose some prestige  because they endowed PEABODY as their candidate for Governor. BELLOTTI was successful over PEABODY in this election. ANGIULO stated that he realized BELLOTTI was ‘very weak.’”

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John O.

Patriarca Claims He Paid Off John O. Pastore

In one of the biggest blockbusters of the FBI Files, an April of 1963 FBI Memo from the Boston Office of the FBI to the FBI Headquarters, Director J. Edgar Hoover in the document states:

“PATRIARCA stated that many years ago when the now U.S. Senator JOHN PASTORE was Assistant District Attorney in Rhode Island, he got plenty of money from PATRIARCA and his associates and particularly when he, PATRIARCA was concerned with a jail break which resulted in a murder charge. PATRIARCA said that after that they helped PASTORE become Governor for the State of Rhode Island.”

The Memo went on to state:

When PATRIARCA and his attorneys were in Washington, D.C., apparently referring to the time he testified before the McClellan Committee, they attempted to see PASTORE in the U.S. Senate Chambers. PASTORE apparently found out they intended to visit him and took a plane to New York before they arrived. PATRIARCA was very critical of PASTORE because of this.

At the same time, they happened to meet U.S. Congressman John Fogarty, and this time invited PATRIARCA and his attorneys to a party. PATRIARCA declined the invitation because of the possible bad publicity. However, his attorney CURRAN and CURRAN’s associate did attend the party. 

They then continued to discuss Rhode Island politics and RAYMOND stated it would be a long time before an Italian is again elected to the Governorship of Rhode Island.

Pastore served two terms in the Rhode Island General Assembly - elected in 1934 and 1936. “Mr. Pastore then gained an appointment as an assistant state attorney general, and by the early 1940's his oratorical skill was winning over juries in criminal cases,” wrote the New York Times at the time of Pastore’s death in 2000.

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NJ Gov

“On May 12, 1980, REDACTED Advised that REDACTED currently under indictment by the State of New Jersey concerning unreported Gubernartorial election campaign donations, traveled to Palm Beach, Florida, on or about Febraury-March, 1976. At that time REDACTED Democratic party and reputedly one of the most successful fundraisers for New Jersey Governor Brendan Byrnes.”

 “In view of the above record review, it now appears that the alleged payoff to Governor Brendan Byrne at Palm Beach, Florida may have occurred in the latter part of January or early part of February, 1976.”

Allegedly brides were paid to New Jersey Governor so COIA could receives approval of the New Jersey Insurance Commission — $50,000 paid in cash.

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FBI documents unveil the relationship between Raymond Patriarca's organization and George Lincoln Rockwell and the American Nazi Party. 


“REDACTED states that he is closely associated with GEORGE LINCOLN ROCKWELL, the American Nazi Party leader. He pointed out that the U.S. Army now has 30% Negroes, and that the draft boards are taking many more Negroes than whites. He estimated that in a few years the armed services will be comprised of over 50% Negroes, and warned PATRIARCA that at this time the Negroes having control of the armed forces, will take over the United States.

He stated that ROCKWELL has intentions of running for Governor of Virginia. He is well received in Virgiana and has high hopes of becoming Governor there.

REDACTED had just returned from ROCKWELL’s headquarters in Virginia and described to PATRAIRCA the physical layout. He stated that there are many individuals dressed as storm troopers upon entrance to the headquarters.

REDACTED intends to travel to Dallas and Los Angeles in the near future in behalf of the American Nazi Party (ANP). He has been to Canada and Chicago during the recent past. He told PATRIARCA that REDACTED desired to furnish funds to the ANP and in order to avoid any complications and tax problems, ROCKWELL has requested REDACTED to find a location in Maine where the ANP can open a seminary and thereby become known as a religious organization. In this way, REDACTED could furnish a substantial amount of money to the seminary which, in turn, would be used for the ANP.”

George Lincoln Rockwell, head of the American Nazi Party

“Concerning GEORGE LINCOLN ROCKWELL, ANGIULO mentioned that REDACTED has a machine gun, as he has shown JERRY this gun.

PATRIARCA advised that the seminary that is to be opened by REDACTED in Maine will be called the WHITE CHURCH of America of Maine.

REDACTED also stated that as soon as EDWARD W. BROOKE, Negro Attorney General of Massachusetts, runs for Governor for the State of Massachusetts, the ANP will infiltrate Massachusetts.”

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Vincent Vespia and Raymond Patriarca are inexplicably linked together.

In the early 1980s, Vespia, then a top State Police organized crime investigator, and Richard Tamburini of the Providence Police Department, arrested Raymond Patriarca — an event that led to the beginning on the demise of the New England Crime family.

Vespia, who had a storied career with the Rhode Island State Police and then served as Police Chief in South Kingstown, announced his retirement late last week.

“Vespia was a kick-ass cop who had grown up on the Hill, playing in the street with some of the wise guys he now pursued,” wrote Mike Stanton in The Prince of Providence. 

“One night Vespia came crashing through the second-floor window of Willie Marfeo’s crap game on Federal Hill from the bucket of a cherry picker, waving a machine gun at two dozen stunned dice players," wrote Stanton.

Former State Police Col. Brendan Doherty

“Vinny Vespia applied constant pressure on Rhode Island mobsters. He played mind games on them and was often able to figure out their next move. He understood their world and what would entice them to pursue a particular shakedown, beating or even the planning of a murder. He was on top of his game. When it came to mob activity Vinny could hear the grass grow,” former State Police Colonel Brendan Doherty told GoLocalProv on Sunday. 

"Vin Vespias energy and enthusiasm were contagious-----It was inspiring to watch him work. Patriaca and his crew knew to put their hands in  the air. They were no match," said Tamburini, now the Police Chief in Johnston.

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On going battle between Bobby Kennedy and Raymond Patriarca

Patriarca pleased that Robert Kennedy is leaving as Attorney General — Speculation that Speaker John McCormack would replace Kennedy as AG.


“He (PATRIARCA) said that this was a move by ROBERT KENNEDY to get him  before KENNEDY leaves office and he would like to see KENNEDY lose in New York.”

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"Arthur E. Coia, was close to Raymond Patriarca, the legendary boss of the New England Mafia. According to an FBI informant, Coia Sr. once described Patriarca as a ""saint.'' Coia Jr. says he never met Patriarca, but he does allow that he tried to breed champion show dogs with Patriarca's son, Raymond Jr. (The dogs, Rottweilers, failed to mate.) Patriarca Sr. and both Coias were indicted in 1981 for allegedly taking kickbacks, but the case was dismissed because the statute of limitations had run out, Yabberz wrote about the relationship between the Patriarca and Coia families.

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Rocky Marciano needed help with stolen furs

The files unveil that Patriarca is allegedly involved with fixing the professional football game involving the New England Patriots and trying to recover stolen furs for heavyweight boxing champ Rocky Marciano.

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Baby Shacks

Luigi Manocchio—often referred to as “Baby Shacks”—the former Rhode Island organized crime boss, was released from a federal prison in North Carolina to a halfway house today, according to Ed Ross a spokesman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Manocchio, 87, is finishing out the remaining months of a five-and-a-half year sentence that was given to him as part of a plea deal three years ago this month, for his role in an extortion plot that demanded Providence strip clubs pay him thousands of dollars in protection money on a monthly basis as part of a scheme that took place over decades.

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Payments to Providence Mayor Joe Doorley

“REDACTED had given JOSEPH DOORLEY, newly elected Mayor of Providence, R.I., $500 for his campaign. He has contacted DOORLEY concerning these contracts (demolition contracts), and DOORLEY statd that he will assist REDACTED in obtaining these contracts but wants all matters pertaining to the contracts to be purely business deals. 

REDACTED estimated that he would obtain approximately $80,000 to $100,000 in demolition contracts.”


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