Front Desk

How to push the promotional envelope

Weird that Fifteen Beacon, an ultra-toney boutique hotel and politicians' hangout near Boston's highfalutin Beacon Hill, has hired former Providence Mayor Vincent âœBuddyâ Cianci Jr. for public relations, sales and marketing. Cianci's set to start the job May 30, after he gets out of prison in Fort Dix, NJ, where he was doing time for conviction on a charge of racketeering conspiracy.

Maybe not so weird. Cianci is known for reinventing himselfâif not redemption. Seems he has a good side and a bad side. He also makes news.

Paul Roif, Fifteen Beacon's owner and a Providence native, hired Cianci because, the Boston Globe reports, Roif was impressed by the way Cianci âœcleaned upâ Rhode Island's largest city and capital. Cianci was mayor from 1974 to 1984, posting the city's longest mayoral tenure. In the same era, Cianci also made news in connection with assaulting a man Cianci claimed was sleeping with Cianci's wife.

When Cianci was reelected mayor in the '90s, he won widespread acclaim for spurring the revitalization of downtown Providence. Now, he has a chance to remake himself again. He's not quite out of the shadows yet, however. For the first two months of his job, he will wear an ankle bracelet and report to a halfway house where he'll stay instead of at the hotel.

What's interesting about accounts in the Globe and the Globe's owner, the New York Times, is the different attitudes expressed. The Globe reports that several regular clients are outraged at reports of Cianci's imminent new position, a response only encouraging the hotel to dig in its heels.

The Times, meanwhile, quotes liberal Republican Lincoln Chafee. The former Rhode Island senator calls Cianci's imminent job âœperfect symbolismâ(Cianci's) a man with just enormous ability to do good things counterweighted by another side that keeps getting him in trouble, working at a five-star hotel by day, but then paying his penance at night by going to a halfway house.â

Such buzz, and Cianci's not even out of jail yet. Seems Fifteen Beacon does public relations very well.

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