Cup o’ (Pro)Jo: September 30, 2011

Governor Lincoln Chafee ’75 P’14 announced yesterday that he will not grant licenses to three medical-marijuana dispensaries. He defended his decision with claims that issuing the licenses would place owners and anyone affiliated with the dispensaries at risk of federal prosecution. Medical marijuana advocates say they will seek to challenge the decision through the court system.

Governor Chafee and state treasurer Gina Raimondo released a joint letter to state employees today outlining what reforms will and will not be taken to fix the state’s burgeoning pension problem. Chafee and Raimondo pledged to not proose any changes in retirement age for those already considered eligible to retire. The letter addressed taxpayer contributions only vaguely, saying taxpayers will “continue to do their share” to ensure the stability of the state’s pension system. Cost of living adjustments were mentioned, but the letter gave several possibilities for limiting adjustments, including temporary suspension, reduction, and tying adjustments to investment returns. The General Assembly will convene next month in a special legislative session to consider proposed changes to the current pension system.

A federal court judge ruled yesterday to deny bail for Providence mobsters Edward Lato and Alfred “Chippy” Scivola, who were arrested last Friday for extorting protection payments from Providence strip clubs. U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge David Martin, who presided over the hearing, said the accused are a potential “danger to the community” and will remained jailed at the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls until they stand trial. Lato is described as a high ranking and “feared” leader in the New England La Cosa Nostra. Prosecutors provided an FBI transcript from a secretly recorded meeting where Scivola was given $2,000 to give to Lato in connection with Providence’s Cadillac Lounge strip club.

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