Let’s Not Forget The Victim

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When looking at the issue of sex work in Rhode Island–something we obviously all do here a lot–it’s important to remember that we’re talking about victimized people.  You know, like Joe Paolino.

No, really, it’s true.  The real estate developer and former mayor says so himself in today’s ProJo. There’s a quote and everything.

See, when Paolino allowed the Unique Spa (now Bali Spa) to move into his Westminster Street building in 2003, he had no idea whatsoever that the services offered might include ones where some organs get massaged a lot more than others.  I mean, it seems like the sort of question a concerned landlord might ask before signing a five-year lease with a place called the Unique Spa, but what do I know?  He didn’t see it coming.

The city’s wanted the tenants of out for a while now, but since nothing illegal had ever been documented Paolino didn’t have any legal way to get evict them.  By all accounts is was clean and quiet there, and the subtle storefront was far less of an eyesore than, say, the awning on Aspire down the street.

But anyway, Bali closed for good last week.  The space is for lease, but since many other storefronts are also empty downtown we’ll probably have to wait a while to find out who would possibly want to occupy the middle ground between Dress Barn and Design Within Reach.

2 thoughts on “Let’s Not Forget The Victim”

  1. Paolino’s properties are a cancer to the city that nobody has the guts to operate on.

    Raising the tax rate on properties that have been unused or undeveloped for too long would generate some revenue for the city, or the incentive for action by the owner(s) or the sale of the property to someone who will develop it. However, now that the mini-boom is over, Providence has almost certainly missed the opportunity to capitalize on this.

    Too few people hold too much of the real estate that they got in “sweetheart” deals and they just sit around waiting for the big score while the city suffers for it. Providence will NEVER reach its potential with the status quo, but as with most everything else in RI, the elite get theirs and everybody else just lets it happen.

  2. I like how they made Mr. Paolino sound like a high-achiever who just happened to come to own giant swaths of downtown for decades. They left out the fact that his inaction and lack of vision was hugely responsible for ‘kicking Providence when it was down’ for so long by not renovating any holdings or lowering rents to levels that would actually allow business downtown.

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