Excerpt Divine Providence: The Mayor, The Mob, and the Man in the Middle

Here’s an excerpt from the book Divine Providence: The Mayor, The Mob, and the Man in the Middle. The book takes you inside the world of mob-controlled nightclubs, backroom deals, and political corruption in the times of Buddy Cianci and his turbulent administrations as witnessed by the man in the middle, Pat Cortellessa.

Divine Providence: The Mayor, The Mob, and the Man in the Middle release date August 16, 2021. Order it here.

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In the 1950s, Providence, Rhode Island, a gritty, working class city striving to compete with its big brother, Boston, and not-so-distant cousin, New York, had one thing neither of those cities could claim.

Providence had Raymond L.S. Patriarca, the head of the New England Mob and one of the most respected (among those in the organization) and feared (among those who crossed him) bosses in Organized Crime.

Nothing happened in Providence, at least in the criminal underbelly and backroom politics, that Patriarca didn’t know about, manipulate, control, or profit by. All one had to do was invoke the name, Raymond. No last name or further explanation was needed.

Into this world, two men, Vincent Albert “Buddy” Cianci, Jr. and Pat Cortellessa grew up. While Buddy was fifteen years older, their paths worlds apart—Cortellessa came from the West end of Providence and went to public schools. Cianci was born into an upper middle-class family and went to Moses Brown—their lives would be intertwined in ways neither could have imagined.

And the organization controlled by Raymond would cast a shadow over both men.

Pat Cortellessa was born in 1956 and lived on the corner of Chapin Avenue and Messer Street in Providence, Rhode Island. It was a neighborhood of mostly Italian families, triple decker houses, and neat yards. Where the grandparents were on one floor and their kid’s families lived above them. Even if the family outgrew the house, they didn’t move far. Staying in the surrounding streets of the west end of Providence. 

When Pat was a kid an older neighbor, Joe Paris, would load up his car and take the neighborhood boys to the Rhode Island Red’s hockey games at the R.I. Auditorium on North Main Street. The Red’s played in the old AHL (American Hockey League), the original feeder system to the NHL. The days of the Red’s playing at “the Arena”—as the place was known—offered kids and adults a chance to see hockey played in all it’s original, often bloody, glory.

No masks, no helmets, few pads. Lots of action between big men on skates and the only thing separating them from the crowd was a short wall and chicken wire.

But before there was the politics of Cortellessa running against Cianci, there was the Providence Club scene, the payoffs and bribes of liquor licenses, the “rent” paid to the mob for protection, and the always volatile mix of alcohol, pretty women, and testosterone-fueled muscle heads with too much brawn and too

Joe Broadmeadow, Divine Providence: The Mayor, The Mob, and the Man in the MIddle

No one worried about letting their kids go to the arena. It was a different era in a city and country where World War II was still a powerful memory, the Korean Conflict became the forgotten war, and Vietnam was a place few Americans had even heard of let alone find on a map.

The West End of Providence in the 1950s and 60s was a world away from the East side where Buddy Cianci, already fifteen years old when Pat was born, would attend private school, followed by college and law school. Pat would take a more pedestrian public-school path. Yet their respective careers, politics for one and running restaurants and clubs for the other, would culminate in first a business association, then a friendship, then a break that would drive them both to face each other in the political arena.

One would end up in prison, the other would dance a fine line between the world of the wise guys, the seductive lure of the nightclubs and bars, and the world of politics. Their unlikely association would forever intertwine them in the history of Providence.

But before there was the politics of Cortellessa running against Cianci, there was the Providence Club scene, the payoffs and bribes of liquor licenses, the “rent” paid to the mob for protection, and the always volatile mix of alcohol, pretty women, and testosterone-fueled muscle heads with too much brawn and too under-utilized brains.

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JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

Divine Providence: The Mayor, The Mob, and the Man in the Middle

The friend of a conqueror is but the last victim…”

 Isaac Asimov, Foundation and Empire

During the 70s and 80s, Providence experienced the demise of one empire and the rise of a new one. They both bore the outward veneer of honor and respectability. One criminal at its core, the other did a better job of concealing its genuine nature.

In 1970, perhaps the most powerful man in Rhode Island, with influence extending far beyond the borders of the state and even New England, was Raymond L.S. Patriarca. Respected within Organized Crime by more than just those who worked for him, many considered him a man of honor in an organization with a warped sense of the concept.

But he made no bones about what he was. He ran the family with a ruthless intensity masked by neighborhood generosity and concern for his domain, Federal Hill. All knew him as “the old man,” with a smile and a wave for most and a disdainful look for the cops and prosecutors who targeted him and his organization.

But like all things, after attaining the height of control within the organization, he began the inevitable decline until his death in 1984.

While the Patriarca legacy was reaching its zenith, an unknown phenomenon entered the scene. An up-and-coming lawyer—with a penchant for flair, a quick wit, and an uncontainable ego—began his own rise to prominence in Providence.

A man who, in that unique Rhode Island way, as an assistant Attorney General, once prosecuted Raymond Patriarca.

His ability to draw people to him, to gain their loyalty, brought him from the small city of Providence to the national stage of the Republican National convention where Gerald Ford considered him for the position of his Vice-President running mate.

Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci began his rise to legendary status as a prosecutor, then turned his sights on politics. As the “old man” faded, “Buddy” began his rise.

The smallest state in the union offers every Rhode Islander unique access to the inner workings of the state. Almost to a person, the people of Rhode Island knew who “Raymond” and “Buddy” were with no need for a last name.

Many, if not most, had a story of encountering one or both men. Yet few people penetrated the inner circle of both empires.

Except for one man.

Pat Cortellessa—businessman, club-owner, entrepreneur, politician — is one of the few who rubbed shoulders with the wiseguys in joint businesses, worked alongside Buddy for mutual benefit until Buddy decided Pat was no longer useful, opposed Buddy in runs for the office of Mayor, and lived to tell the story.

Divine Providence: The Mayor, The Mob, and the Man in the Middle is the story few have ever heard, taking you inside the backroom deals, shady operations, and blood politics that was the Patriarca and Cianci eras.

Pre-order coming soon. Look for more announcements on sales, books signings, and media appearances.

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JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

Excerpt from Divine Providence

Coming this fall from JEBWizard Publishing, a new book by Joe Broadmeadow with Pat Cortellessa

Divine Providence: The Mayor, The Mob, and The Man in the Middle

Here’s the excerpt. To be notified of updates, author appearances, and pre-release discounts sign up for our email list here.

This is the story of a Mayor who would be King, The Mob, who would demand its share of the kingdom, and a man caught in the middle. A story so unique, so endemic to the city, so uniquely Rhode Island, that it casts a spell even to this day.

Divine providence: The mayor, the mob, and the man in the middle
by joe broadmeadow

Introduction

The echo of the court clerk’s announcement of guilty on the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) count still reverberated in the halls of  Judge Ernest Torres’ court as the implication ricocheted at the speed of light throughout Providence.

The King is Dead, Long Live the King!

Vincent A. “Buddy” Cianci, the inimitable, affable, yet darkly complex Mayor of Providence, tarnished forever as a convicted felon. The Providence Renaissance, forever linked to Buddy in fable if not reality, now facing having the curtain pulled back on the myth enveloping the man..

As Shakespeare said, “the evil men do….” The good Buddy would now be buried in the Federal Prison system, removed from the City he loved almost as much as he loved himself.

All that remained now was for someone to pick up the pieces in City Hall and steer the City forward.

Pat Cortellessa—the long-time nemesis of Buddy, fresh from the courtroom where he watched the trial and verdict unfold— now stood in city hall with the man who would bear the burden of acting Mayor, John Lombardi. The scene was surreal, unimaginable just a few short months before. Few expected Buddy to be convicted. Most thought Buddy would emerge dirtied but otherwise unscathed, back in the Mayor’s office once again running his domain. Now the celebration of what many viewed as the end of corruption in City Hall was on.

Pat made his way to the Mayor’s office and walked into what was once the exclusive domain of Buddy. The office, trashed by the celebration, held echoes of so much promise and so many disappointments. Pat wandered over to the window overlooking Kennedy Plaza. The Cafe Plaza building, a prominent place in the plaza, the site of so many battles with Buddy, stood as a reminder of the now former Mayor’s penchant for exerting his control wherever he saw an opportunity.

Pat wondered if it had all been worth it. All those battles fighting for what he believed was right for the city, now mere memories. Buddy was no longer a force to be reckoned with, the conviction took that away. Where it would lead was anyone’s guess.

What lay ahead for Pat, he could only guess. But the memories of the war with the City and Buddy had taken its toll. How had it all come to this?

This is the story of a Mayor who would be King, The Mob, who would demand its share of the kingdom, and a man caught in the middle. A story so unique, so endemic to the city, so uniquely Rhode Island, that it casts a spell even to this day.

And Buddy was now out of sight…but he was far from finished.

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JEBWizard Publishing (www.jebwizardpublishing.com) is a hybrid publishing company focusing on new and emerging authors. We offer a full range of customized publishing services.

Everyone has a story to tell, let us help you share it with the world. We turn publishing dreams into a reality. For more information and manuscript submission guidelines contact us at info@jebwizardpublishing.com or 401-533-3988.

Signup here for our mailing list for information on all upcoming releases, book signings, and media appearances.