PawSox, strip club among recipients of coronavirus loans

The minor league affiliate for MLB’s Boston Red Sox and an infamous Providence strip club are among nearly 2,500 companies in Rhode Island that were awarded emergency loans of more than $150,000 as part of Congress’ $2 trillion stimulus package to blunt the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Pawtucket Red Sox received a loan worth $900,000 through the federal Paycheck Protection Program that helped keep roughly 40 front office staffers employed, team spokesman Bill Wanless confirmed.

The SBA data lists two separate loans to the team, each worth between $350,000 and $1 million, but Wanless stressed that's incorrect.

“We’ll look into it on our end as well, but we definitely only received the one loan,” he said. SBA spokespersons didn't respond to emails seeking comment.

The team, which is co-owned by former Boston Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino, is decamping to Worcester, Massachusetts, next season after efforts to get public financing for a new stadium in Rhode Island fell through.

Luccino has been a major Democratic Party donor for years, including stumping for his former Yale Law School classmate Hillary Clinton in her failed presidential campaign against President Trump in 2016, and donating to the campaigns of former President Barack Obama, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Congressman Joseph Kennedy III, among others in recent years.

Meanwhile, Gulliver’s Tavern, Inc. the corporate name for the Foxy Lady strip club in Providence, received a loan worth between $150,000 and $350,000 to help preserve more than 150 jobs, according to the federal data.

Leaders of the Patriarca crime family, including the then-acting head of the New England Mafia, pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges in 2012 for extorting the Foxy Lady and other Rhode Island strip clubs for protection payments.

Club manager Richard Angell, whose father founded the club decades ago, also pleaded no contest to bookmaking charges in the 1990s and early 2000s, and the strip club was briefly shut down in 2018 following a prostitution sting.

The company didn’t immediately respond to messages seeking comment.

Medical practices staffed by Brown University-affiliated doctors also qualified for significant loans.

Among them was Brown Medicine, a nonprofit medical group that was among about a dozen entities in the state approved for the largest category of loan issued, between $5 million and $10 million. The loan helped preserve more than 400 jobs, according to the data.

Brian Clark, a university spokesman, stressed that none of the entities listed, including Brown Neurology, Brown Dermatology, Brown Urology, and Brown Emergency Medicine, are operated by the university or its medical school, even though some have offices on or near campus.

“These are not-for-profit medical practices that are their own organizations and serve their own patients directly,” he said in an email. “They are distinct from the university.”

Prominent Rhode Island schools also received smaller loans. Among them was Moses Brown, a Quaker prep school near Brown whose alumni include former Providence Mayor Vincent Cianci.

The school, which didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment, received a loan worth between $2 million and $5 million to help preserve more than 400 jobs, according to Monday’s data.

Roughly 14,700 other Rhode Island entities received loans worth less than $150,000, according to the SBA data. The agency did not list their names, however.

A look at other virus-related developments in Rhode Island:

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COURT REOPENS

Providence Municipal Court, which handles disputes involving parking and traffic enforcement in the city, reopened Monday after closing in mid-March because of the coronavirus.

Walk-in hearings for parking, red light and speed camera violations will be heard starting at 7:30 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, according to WJAR-TV.

Moving violations will be heard on Tuesdays only for people who have a hearing scheduled.

Only one person at a time is allowed in the courtroom to address the judge to maintain proper social distancing and night court remains closed.

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Associated Press reporter Mark Pratt in Boston contributed to this story.