GoLocal Goes 1-on-1 With Marrocco: He Slams Cianci and Solomon

Friday, August 01, 2014


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Marrocco (seated, right) at Wednesday's hearing

In a wide-sweeping one-on-one interview with GoLocalProv, Gianfranco Marrocco aired his grievances with Buddy Cianci, Mayor Taveras, City Council President Michael Solomon, and his Federal Hill neighbors and colleagues who have launched a full-fledged campaign to have his license revoked at the $3 Bar.

"I have a sick analogy," Marrocco said of former close friend and two-time Providence Mayor Cianci. "I say putting him back in City Hall is like putting a twice-convicted child molester in charge of Disney World."

Singled Out by Community?

Marrocco feels as though he is being used as a scapegoat for problems Federal Hill is facing as an entire community, and he lamented the fact that his colleagues in business are so passionately opposing his establishment.

"I think they should be ashamed of themselves, ganging up on another business owner," said Marrocco, who owns 8 total businesses in the Federal Hill area. "I brought this city back to life.  I was the first one in that plaza [DePasquale Plaza] with the outdoor dining."

"What really pisses me off is they keep saying, 'we want to take back our community,'" Marrocco said. "Please Mr. Tarro [referencing Chris Tarro's comments from this story], explain to me what that means. This is a melting pot. My kids are half Dominican, his kids are half Indian, I believe."

Marrocco added that resentment towards the $3 Bar was likely the result of envious business owners in the neighborhood.

"They don't like the fact that they didn't think of it first, because it's a great idea," Marrocco said. "The economy doesn't discriminate on black, white, green, yellow- everybody is affected by the economy."

Marrocco's biggest indictment of his neighbors came after Wednesday's hearing, when he declared "I'm calling them all racists." He did not back off those comments in his sit-down with GoLocalProv, and dragged Cianci into the fray as well.

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Vincent "Buddy" Cianci

"When I opened up Mediterraneo in 1997, I started out the first Latin Night. That didn't go over well when I first started. I got called in- on the same day, ironically- by Buddy Cianci and the powers that be down the street, and they both started with the same exact question. First they said, Gian, 'what the hell are you doing down there? What are those people doing in our neighborhood?'" Marrocco said. "They don't like the color of my crowd. But none of them have the balls to come out and just say it." 

Citing a New York Times article from 2011, Marrocco pointed out the Manhattan's Little Italy neighborhood had shrunk from 50 square blocks to just 2 square blocks.

"Are they marching to City Hall to drive away the Chinese?" Marrocco asked. "Nope. They understand that times change."

Marrocco was so worried for his safety at Wednesday's hearing that he says he planted people in the courtroom "in case things got crazy."

Video Evidence 

Marrocco believes that turning over the video evidence of the night in question- in which a brawl involving over 20 people spilled into the street in front of the $3 Bar- will help clear his name.

"The tapes are going to show- and make the board and police not look good- because they're referring to something called a melee.  It was two girls.  It was a cat fight," Marocco said. Marrocco said he has video evidence of the two girls being separated and kicked out of the bar, only to resume fighting, and be broken up by $3 Bar security again.

"One actually goes into the hands of a cop, and he lets her go," Marrocco said. "We have no problem presenting the video evidence to the board."

Admonishing Taveras

Marrocco showed remorse for his comments Wednesday about Taveras and the Dominican Republic, but chose to exclude the mayor from his apology.

"My kids are half Dominican. I've got nothing against Dominican people, I love Dominican people.  I've been there 54 times," said Marrocco. "I had choice words for him. First I want to apologize- not to him- but to Dominican people for making that stupid comment. And they know that I'm far from prejudiced. I'm not a racist."

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Mayor Taveras

Marracco took issue with Taveras' declaration Monday that he would fight to revoke the license of the $3 Bar.

"Even Buddy Cianci- the most ruthless mayor this city has ever seen- at least he was smart or sharp enough not to come out publicly and go so against one business owner," Marrocco said. "They're portraying me like I'm public enemy #1."

"As the mayor, he should've made a statement like, 'yes, we're having many issues in the area that need to be addressed. My administration is looking into it and we'll keep everybody abreast of what's going on," Marrocco said, before addressing Taveras indirectly. "Mayor, you appoint the board of licenses.  They serve at your will. So, before me going into that room [for Wednesday's hearing], you don't think their minds were made up?"

Marrocco felt Taveras' stand against his bar was a publicity stunt to try and appeal to voters in Federal Hill. Taveras is running for Governor this Fall. Marrocco says the problem in Federal Hill is not the $3 Bar (or any individual establishment), but the lack of police presence.

"We have the highest tax rate in the country, and the city's still going to burst any minute and go into bankruptcy. We don't have the police to patrol, so what am I supposed to do as a business owner? I'm paying the taxes, but you're not providing a service to me," Marrocco said.

Marrocco Supports Elorza, Feuds With Solomon.

With Marrocco's thoughts on Cianci, Taveras, and the state of the city apparent, GoLocalProv asked who Providence needed to turn to this Fall in the upcoming mayoral election.

"I'm supporting Elorza," Marrocco said. "I think he's the perfect candidate for the job."

Marrocco has fundraised for Elorza in the past, but said he thinks his candidate of choice needs to start doing negative campaigning on his opponents in order to win.

"When it comes time to be tough, sometimes you have to be vicious," Marrocco said. "If you don't want to get a little blood on your hands then you can't be in that position."

Marroco did nothing to hide his distaste for City Council President and Democratic Mayoral candidate Michael Solomon. Marrocco said he applied for a license to serve dine-in food until 4 a.m. for one of his businesses, but was told not to bother attempting to obtain a license.  According to Marrocco, Wes' Rib House, owned by Solomon, is one of just 4 businesses in the city that holds such a license.

Solomon has submitted a written argument to the licensing board to revoke the license of the $3 Bar.


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