Licensing Board responds to city councilor's proposal - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Licensing Board responds to city councilor's proposal

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PROVIDENCE -

The Providence Board of Licenses agreed to send a letter to all licensees in the city in response to an ordinance proposed by a city councilor looking to strip board members of their pay after what he called a "dereliction" of their duty.

The board discussed the proposal at a meeting Thursday.

City Council Majority Leader Seth Yurdin said he's upset the board didn't completely revoke the license of Cheaters Gentleman's Club after a 15-year-old girl was found working there using a fake ID.

The board voted to suspend Cheaters' license for 45 days and impose a $5,000 fine. The board found no evidence the club was operating illegally.

Yurdin said the punishment was not enough and wanted Cheaters closed for good. He argued the board members shouldn't get paid if they're not fulfilling their duties.

"I think it's clear the wrong message has been sent. We really need to send the message that we're going to protect children and we're going to make the city a safe place," Yurdin told NBC 10 on Wednesday.

Yurdin said he would introduce his proposal at a City Council meeting on Thursday night.

Licensing board members are paid about $20,000 a year. The chairman is paid more than $26,000 a year.

Board Chairman Andrew Annaldo called Yurdin's move a "threat" and "retribution" because the board didn't do what Yurdin wanted.

Annaldo said the board won't be coerced or intimidated. He said it's not about the money, but that there's a process.

Annaldo told NBC 10 he would have revoked Cheaters' license if he thought what happened was intentional.

Board members said the ordinance would essentially take their power away and that licensees would not fear a hearing if and when they face the board.

"The board will protect the people of Providence. Someone needs to protect the people of Providence from that ordinance because that is undue influence," he said.

"Councilman Yurdin and his action is wrong, and is borderline intimidation," said state Sen. Juan Pichardo.

Board members also commended the attorney general's office for pushing adult entertainment clubs to perform background checks on all dancers and hope it will soon become law.

Cheaters is appealing the board's decision.

NBC 10's Brian Crandall contributed to this report.

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