Brett Smiley today challenged Buddy Cianci to a debate on the topic of ethics, government accountability, and the cost of corruption to the city.
Smiley commented, "We are still recovering from the damage inflicted by the widespread and systematic corruption that defined Buddy Cianci's tenure as mayor. There are still businesses weary of locating or expanding in Providence because of our reputation for corruption, and Buddy Cianci is at the heart of it all. After two stints as mayor both ending in felony convictions, we can't afford to give him a third shot. Cianci is already trying to rewrite history and understate the harm he did to our city, and it's time we make him answer for what he did -- not to a federal judge, but to the people of Providence."
Smiley added, "I challenge Mr. Cianci to a debate -- at the time and place of his choosing -- on questions of ethics, government accountability, and the cost of corruption to our city's reputation and economy."
In 2002, Buddy Cianci was brought down by the FBI in "Operation Plunder Dome," in which it was revealed that Cianci was running City Hall as a criminal enterprise. At his trial, the sentencing judge declared that Cianci "presided over an administration that is rife with corruption at all levels." Cianci was convicted of racketeering and spent almost 5 years in a federal prison, and eight other members of his administration were also convicted. This was the second time that Cianci was forced to step down as mayor on a felony conviction. Two decades earlier, Cianci was driven from office on an assault charge after overseeing an administration that was also riddled with corruption.
Earlier this week, Buddy Cianci declared his candidacy for mayor once again, reopening a dark chapter in Providence's past that many hoped had been permanently closed. Brett Smiley has been the only Democratic candidate to take Cianci on directly and address the corruption that plagued the city during his time as mayor, and Smiley looks forward to debating these issues with Cianci in the coming weeks.
Brett Smiley is running in the September Democratic primary for Mayor of Providence.