$3 Bar owner lashes out at mayor, business owners

Gianfranco Marrocco

The owner of a Providence bar that's been temporarily shut down lashed out Wednesday at the city, and he called some his neighbors on Federal Hill racist.

The Board of Licenses voted to keep the $3 Bar closed in the wake of two violent incidents.

"This is not a hearing. This is a witch hunt," owner Gianfranco Marrocco said.

Marrocco, who also owns eight other Federal Hill businesses, railed against the hearing process.

"The mayor is their bosses. He came out publicly on Channel 10 -- one of you -- that he wants me shut down. What are they going to do, you think? Do you think I'm going to get a fair hearing? I was guilty before I came here," Marrocco said.

Marrocco responded to allegations that the $3 Bar attracts "bad people."

"What do you mean by bad people? Define a bad person. If you think low prices, $3 prices, attract bad people, then Walmart, BJ's, every discount store in the country must be a breeding ground for vicious, violent criminals," Marrocco said.

Marrocco also had strong words for his neighboring business owners who want him shut down, claiming they're stuck in the 1950s.

"They don't want the types of people that I bring. I bring Latinos to Federal Hill. I do a Latin night. I do a hip-hop night, a black night. I do a Lebanese night. I do an Asian night," Marrocco said. "Yes, I'm calling them all racist, because, if not, they wouldn't be making this much noise."

Marrocco also had words for Mayor Angel Taveras, who wants the bar shut down for good.

"He wants to run the state. He should run back to the Dominican Republic," Marrocco said.

The mayor responded tongue in cheek that he was born in the United States. On a more serious note, his office said this is about public safety and keeping Federal Hill an inviting destination.