Operation Plunder Dome, a Loss for the People of Providence
On September 6, 2002 with the sentencing of Providence Mayor Vincent Cianci, Francis Corrente, and Richard Autiello the fbi's "Operation Plunder Dome" case came to an end. Many of the people in Providence saw this as the federal government's cleaning up supposed corruption in another sordid chapter in Rhode Island's history. The reality is that it was the federal government breaking all the rules to remove a popular, progressive city government that served the people very well in order to replace it with a more compliant one. In a city where the federal government is hated by most of the people, from ordinary citizens to cops and public officals, and anti-government activists are treated as folk heros the conviction was a win for big government since it removed a long serving city government which served the people of Providence well. The government's win in the case was achieved by manipulating facts and a few disgruntled people into screwing the public under the guise of looking out for their interests. Here I shall give the facts as well as what the media left out of the sordid dealings that created a government win
The case was first in the public's eye on April 28, 1999 when federal agents raided Providence city hall and arrested the Tax Board chairman and Vice Chairman Joseph Pannone and David Ead. Both men were charged with taking and laundering bribes. On May 27 Rosemary Glancy, the Deputy Tax Assesor, was arrested by federal agents and charged with extortion, conspiracy, and mail fraud. On September 21 city collector Anthony Annarino also was charged on the same counts as Glancy. On November 24 Providence businessman John Scungio agreed to cooperate with the fbi, but he was soon accused of lying to the fbi and was charged as well. In the trial that ensued evidence was presented against all individuals that made them look in the worst possible light before Judge Lageux, the jury, and the public. So bad than when Lageux found all the accused guilty he took time in his sppech to them to call Providence's city administration the most corrupt in Rhode Island's history the public's reaction was divided and muted.
With Ead, Pannone, Glancy, and Annarino out of the way the government was free to charge Providence mayor Cianci, his former chief of staff Frank Corrente, and Providence businessmen Richard Autiello and Edward Voccola on racketeering and conspiracy charges, claiming they ran a criminal enterprise out of Providence's city hall. Though the evidence was circumstantial, some of it tampered with by assistant us attorney Richard Rose, it was presented so as to look convincing enough to make most of the accused and the media made the accused look guilty before the verdict had been reached. Though Voccola was acquitted on all charges and some of the charges against Cianci and Corrente were dismissed Corrente and Autiello were found guilty and Cianci guilty on a lone racketeering charge on June 25 2002 by Judge Torres. On September 6 Cianci was sentenced to 64 months in prison, Corrente to 63 months, and Autiello to 46 months. Each also got 2 years probation and were heavily fined. As far as the government wanted the people to know justice was served.
However when the background of what really went on and of the people involved is revealed the reason why the people tried are considered folk heroes emerges. For instance while surveillance videos showed David Ead taking bribes the videos alleged to show Corrente taking bribes show no such thing when examined. Rosemary Glancy, who the media portrayed as some corrupt cow, regularly cooked meals for poor people in Providence and was a much loved figure who had two relatives on the Providence Police force, and when accusations during the trial surfaced of her bribing her relative's promotions in the Police force they turned out to lack substance. When her health began to deteriorate at the start of her prison sentence public pressure helped obtain her release on grounds of her being terminally ill. Cianci and Corrente poorly exploited this however when Cianci used the media to slam Lageux over his sentence on Glancy and Corrente made an attempt at a change of venue citing Lageux's biased opinions.
Their moves were short sighted since it drove Lageux off the case, replacing him with Judge Torres who put a gag order on Cianci and allowed all sorts of judicial violations on the prosecution's part to occur. Edward Voccola has relatives who hold positions of influence in the legal and judicial system who are popular and his indictment was probably meant to target indirectly his relatives. Providence Mayor Cianci has even obtained light sentences for people who have made attempts on his life. The help Richard Rose had in tampering with the evidence is vital for one of his partners in crime in doing this was State representative David Cicilline, a man who has repeatedly raped other men and who owes his position to connections in the legal system to shady characters, and who had prepared to run for Cianci's mayoral position right after Cianci's April 2 2001 indictment. The behavior of Cicilline and Rose was interesting to watch. While Rose was committing acts that denied the accused a fair and impartial trial, such as not allowing the defense adequate time to examine the evidence, Cicilline was preparing his campaign by making inroads into voter communities that had issues with Cianci, mainly gay, afro, hispanic and other cliques that are comprised of voters who had bullshit issues with Cianci and enough clout to secure him the votes necessary for his campaign.
While Rose was helping put Cianci out of office by helping getting him convicted Cicilline was moving progressing in a campaign which he could not win with Cianci as a political force. This was shown in the election primaries on September 10 in which Cicilline beat Joe Paolino, a former Providence Mayor and Knight of Malta who used criminals and harassing tactics in his 2002 campaign, Keven McKenna, a former Rhode Island District Court Judge and onetime classmate of Bill Clinton's who promised real reforms, and David Igliozzi, who focused on reform and highlighted misconduct done by Cicilline and Paolino, for the Democratic party nomination. And with few competitors who can offer strong opposition Cicilline's win is almost assured. Whether he would have won without his backdealings we will never know but they played an important part in removing a government that was popular and helped the people. And since Cianci's conviction crime has increased in Providence with crimes committed against progressive activists being virtually neglected and the criminals themselves rarely arrested and prosecuted, something which would never have happened in Providence 4 years ago.
Folks, this is one more example of the brotherhood's manipulations into controlling the masses and the people not acting enough to stop it.
By Peter Zendran II
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