I love my state: "Everyone needs a second chance..."

From today's Providence Journal:

PROVIDENCE — Rhode Island taxpayers spent a reported $95,000 over the last year on renovations and fire-safety improvements to a state-owned building housing a strip club — known as Club Desire — whose owner had been convicted of attempted arson.

[background: earlier in the week, the ProJo reported on the state's involvement in the club:

The music is audible outside the club’s black doors. And there’s no sign of the security detail provided by the club “to keep parties away from DOT personnel from noon to 5 p.m. each afternoon.”

But make no mistake about it. This is a state-owned building with a strip club, known as Club Desire, on the first floor and two dozen or so state Department of Transportation employees on the second and third floors.]

Gerard C. DiSanto, of Johnston, was convicted by a federal jury in February 1995 of twice attempting to torch his Westport, Mass., restaurant, the Galleria II, “to collect insurance proceeds in order to finance renovations and improvements at the restaurant.”

The first time he tried to set a fire in the attic of the restaurant, it burned out.

The second time, he asked a manager at the restaurant to pour gasoline in the attic in early afternoon. He planned to “return later in the evening to ignite the gasoline. However, patrons and employees at the restaurant detected the gas smell, and an employee contacted the Westport Fire Department … [which] responded to the scene and discovered the poured gasoline in the attic,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boston.

[. . .]

In response to queries about these latest revelations about the state’s status as landlord to a strip club, a spokesman for Governor Carcieri said: “The governor would generally prefer that the state not lease property to strip clubs or individuals convicted of attempted arson."

[. . .]

“You look at [all] these things with an eye towards everyone needs a second chance … ” Providence Board of Licenses commissioner state Rep. Gordon D. Fox

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