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Ex-Mayor Upbeat Before Prison

November 30, 2002|From Associated Press

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Former Providence Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci Jr. bid adieu to his working life Friday as he readied himself for prison.

His last day as a talk-show host at WPRO-AM ended with a relatively upbeat mood.

"Well, this is it," said Cianci, 61, as his shift ended.

Next Friday, he reports to federal prison in Fort Dix, N.J., for a sentence of five years and four months.

Cianci was convicted in June on a racketeering conspiracy charge for heading a wide-ranging bribery scheme out of City Hall. He has maintained his innocence and held out hope for a successful appeal.

"You have to look at life as an experience," Cianci told listeners. "You believe in yourself, and you believe in the [judicial] system, and you go on and live with it."

Cianci presided over the rebirth of Providence for parts of four decades but decided not to seek reelection after his conviction. In mid-September, he accepted an offer to be co-host of a talk show for two hours each weekday morning.

It wasn't his first turn behind a microphone: He was host of a show on another station from 1984 to 1990, after he pleaded no contest to assaulting his wife's lover with a lighted cigarette and a fireplace log. Cianci was reelected mayor in 1990.

On Friday's show, Cianci said he's been preparing for his life behind bars. He said he may try to quit smoking, lose weight and learn Spanish.

"It's like going to a very inexpensive spa," he said.

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