City ordinance would strip pension from convicted murderer

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras has proposed an ordinance that would strip the pension of a former city police officer who is currently serving a life sentence for killing a Cranston firefighter.

Nicholas Gianquitti was sentenced to life in prison in 2008 for having shot to death James Pagano. Gianquitti has been in prison for five years. During that time, he has been collecting more than $4,000 a month in a disability pension.

"From my perspective I'm focusing on doing what I think is in the best interest of the taxpayers in the city of Providence and what is the right thing to do," Taveras said. "That's what we're doing and that's the message that I'm sending. You work hard for your money and I want to make sure to look after your money as well."

Taveras said he's been working on the proposal for months and said if he's elected governor that he would bring the proposal to the state level.

"I think it's important that we make sure that people who are receiving a disability pension are supposed to receive it and are properly qualified," he said. "Circumstances like this I think disqualify you from receiving a disability pension."

The proposal was supported by the Providence Retirement Board on Wednesday and will be proposed to the City Council next week.

"In this particular case, it's unconscionable that an individual who is serving a life sentence would be receiving a taxpayer-funded pension at the same time," said City Councilman John Igliozzi, who serves on the Providence Retirement Board and is co-sponsoring the proposal.

Pagano was killed after he confronted Gianquitti for cursing at his children during a birthday party. Gianquitti had chastised the children when a stray tennis ball struck his wife's parked car. Gianquitti said he shot Pagano in self-defense after Pagano came to his door and punched him in the face.

According to the Providence Journal, the board granted Gianquitti an accidental-disability pension in 1992, for a knee injury suffered while on duty the year before.

Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare said he's asking for the public's help to bring anyone abusing the system to his attention.

"If you think there's an abuse, you know someone is on a disability pension from the city of Providence and perhaps doing similar work or isn't entirely and permanently disabled, please let us know and we'll review it. And we'll do what we can to correct a wrong," he said.

The pension abuse tipline is 844-CAN-WORK.