“Back in the day;” as in 1986 to 1990, Joseph Mollicone Jr., was a “moving, shaking, deal making” banker from Providence, Rhode Island. Perched high upon Federal Hill (Elevation; 50’ above sea level), Joe, as President of Heritage Loan and Investment Company, swindled, embezzled, and stole upward of a “reported” $12 million dollars. His actions ultimately caused the collapse of 44 banks insured by the Rhode Island Share and Deposit Indemnity Corp; RISDIC. This may have been an impressive mild stone in the long list of corrupt deeds in Rhode Island, but Joe couldn’t stop there. One day when the bank regulators came to Heritage to review some files, they were “massively alarmed” at the state of the financial well-being of the bank. At one point, one of the regulators summoned Mr. Mollicone to the conference room and said; “Sir, there are some serious discrepancies in your books, and record keeping. We have to talk about this now.” Mollicone looked at the regulator, smiled, and spoke his most infamous words; “let’s not worry about those books just now, let’s have a muffin!” WHAT?? Oh yea, that’s what he said. “Let’s have a muffin!”
Needless to say, Joe couldn’t shake the regulators, and on November 8th, 1990, he fled the state and hid out in Salt Lake City, Utah. I guess if he was a corrupt thug for the FBI like Whitey Bulger, he could have gotten a rent-controlled apartment in Santa Monica, CA. Instead, Joe had to improvise. He changed his name to his dead childhood friend John Fazziol, and hung out as long as he could; which turned out to be about 18 months before he surrendered.
Approximately 1/3 of Rhode Islanders lost access to their money through the banks, and credit unions involved with RISDIC, so it’s no real surprise so many locals knew the story of Mollicone, and his flight to the west. I can personally say initially not everyone in Utah knew the story of Mollicone; that is until Zulu Delta rolled into town.
About 4 years after Mollicone surrendered, I was out skiing near Salt Lake. I took a day off, and was walking around “making observations.” After I came out of the local library where I had engaged the head librarian in a jovial discussion about the decline of the Dewy Decimal System, I came across a beautiful building with no obvious identification on it. I decide it was so spectacular, I had to go in, and that’s what I did. I must have come in the side door, because I was met by a rather largely built city policeman, who after I introduced myself, told me I was in City Hall. If anyone questions the probability of such a mystery building, walk by the front entrance of the very beautiful but nondescript Providence City Hall. He told me how the building was recently refurbished, and I was so impressed, I asked if he would allow me to look around. “No problem “he said.
I walked the halls, and climbed the stairs with curiosity, and respect. The building turned out to be the marvel of architecture that I hoped it would. Entering into one hallway I looked left; Tax office; “no thank you, exit stage right!” I looked the other way, and suddenly saw a door that said; Office of the Mayor.
RIGHT NOW; everyone reading this who thinks the Mayor definitely wanted to see me, raise their hand!
TO BE CONTINUED……….