PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island — Buddy Cianci mounts a comeback, a tentative settlement with a law firm is reached in the 38 Studios case, and the former House speaker takes a long-term loan from a registered lobbyist. Here are five things to know in Rhode Island:
The man who led Providence for six terms, but who was twice convicted of felonies, wants a third stint as mayor of the capital city. Buddy Cianci says he knows he has baggage, but he's got what it takes to run the city and hopes voters will give him another chance. Cianci made the announcement on his WPRO-AM radio talk show, where he's worked since he got out of prison for corruption in 2007. He joins a field crowded with several candidates, and is likely to face a four-way race in November against Republican Dan Harrop, independent Lorne Adrain and the winner of the Democratic primary: Jorge Elorza, Brett Smiley or Michael Solomon.
Word came late Friday of a $4.4 million settlement agreement in the 38 Studios lawsuit, the first such deal with any of the several defendants. The law firm Moses Afonso Ryan and one of its lawyers agreed to the deal with the state's economic development agency. The firm maintains it is not liable for breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, malpractice, negligence and other wrongdoing, but says it wants to put the matter behind it. The settlement must still be approved by a judge. Gov. Lincoln Chafee called it a step in the right direction.
Former House Speaker Gordon Fox revealed in documents filed this week that he took out a previously undisclosed personal loan from a registered lobbyist. Fox and the lobbyist, Ray Rickman, a former deputy secretary of state, did not disclose the amount of the loan. Rickman said in an interview with The Associated Press that he gave the loan to Fox in 2009. The state's ethics law does not prohibit an official from borrowing money from a lobbyist, but it must be disclosed.
Rhode Island's most popular tourist attraction is mostly open again for visitors, after Superstorm Sandy washed away several parts of the 3.5-mile Cliff Walk. Officials held a ribbon-cutting this week to mark the end of the $5 million repair and rebuilding project on the trail, which runs between the ocean and spectacular mansions including the Breakers. A small portion of the walk is still closed and expected to reopen next month. For now, tourists have an unbroken 2-mile walk to enjoy.
SQUID GETS ITS DAY
Calamari is the new official state appetizer of Rhode Island. Chafee signed a bill Friday to give the tasty treat official recognition in a nod to its importance to the state economy — both to the fishing industry and to tourism and restaurants. The governor says about 125 fishing boats in Rhode Island catch half of all the squid brought in on the East Coast annually.