NBC 10 I-Team: Providence bribery investigation closed; Cicilline law office involved


    Ada's Creations owner Acelia Terrero told the Providence Board of Licenses that she paid $29,000 in bribes, but she wouldn't say to whom.

    The police investigation into bribery claims made by a Providence business owner is closed because of a lack of new information, state police said.

    During a public meeting of the Providence Board of Licenses in September, Acelia Terrero, owner of Ada's Creations on Broad Street, made a damaging charge that she's paid bribe money, $29,000, but she did not say to whom or for what services.

    The Board of Licenses is the same board Gordon Fox served on when he admitted to accepting a $52,500 bribe to help an East Side bar get its liquor license. Ada's has been a bakery, restaurant, and nightclub over the years.

    Maj. Joe Philbin, detective commander of the Rhode Island State Police, told the NBC 10 I-Team that investigators made several attempts to reach Terrero and have received "no new information."

    "If she brings us something new, we can re-open it," Philbin said of the case.

    While Terrero has not contacted state police, her attorney John Ciolli, of the Cicilline law firm, has.

    Ciolli told the I-Team that his client was in a "state of nervousness" when she made the bribery claim because her licenses to do business were in jeopardy.

    Ciolli said Terrero "never had direct dealings with any political figures in connection to her licensing problems."

    He also said Terrero's business partners would tell her they needed a certain amount of money to deal with various violations.

    "Whether the business partners dealt with any politicians is unknown," said Ciolli.

    In other words, the partners could have taken advantage of Terrero, told her one thing while doing another.

    The lawyer claims the partners also stuck Terrero with the outstanding police detail bill of about $56,000, the reason she was before the licensing board in the first place.

    In September, Terrero became frustrated when the board decided to suspend her food and liquor license.

    "She is going to make it public so everybody will know all the things that are going on with licensing department and all the bribery," said the business owner, through her translator.

    Besides the outstanding police details, Ada's Creations is in default of $223,672 in city economic development loans. Ada's received some of the loans during the administration of former Mayor David Cicilline.

    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development had criticized Providence for its handling of the federally funded loan program. Locally, the default rate was significant, particularly with many of the city's bars and restaurants.

    Since her testimony in front of the licensing board, Terrero has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The bankruptcy ended the city's suspension of Ada's license and stopped any collection of unpaid details.

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