Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza has filed a petition requesting that the city licensing board declare that all licenses held by the Shark Bar & Grille on Thayer Street near Brown University be declared void.
The mayor’s reasoning comes as no surprise because owners of the Shark paid a $52,000 in bribe in 2008 to former House Speaker Gordon Fox, who at the time was vice-chair of the Providence Board of Licenses. After the bribe was paid, the Shark obtained a liquor license despite opposition from East Side residents and Brown officials.
``Public corruption at any level of government is unacceptable,’’ Elorza said in a statement. ``I was disturbed to learn that the Providence License Board was used as a platform for bribery.’’
The petition filed by the Elorza Administration at today’s meeting seeks to have Shark licenses declared void back to the approvals the tavern was given in August, 2008.
Fox has cut a plea deal with the U.S. Attorney’s office under which he acknowledged his guilt in accepting the bribe in exchange for supporting the Shark application for a liquor license. Fox was appointed to the licensing board by former Providence Mayor David Cicilline.