(AP) Miffed at a critical Web site calling for his resignation, Mayor Vincent Cianci Jr. has snatched the rights to Internet domains registered in the names of prominent journalists.
Cianci said Wednesday that he paid $35 apiece for domains such as jimtaricani.com, named after WJAR-TV’s veteran political reporter, and johndepetro.com, a radio talk-show host who frequently criticizes Cianci.
The mayor said he did it to prove a point: “To show how easy it is to take someone’s name and trade off it.”
Last week, Cianci threatened legal action against the creator of BuddyCianci.com, a Web site that uses his nickname. The site, sponsored by Rhode Island Citizens for Ethical Government, is a sounding board for those who think the mayor should step down.
Cianci was indicted last April on racketeering charges in an alleged City Hall kickback scheme. He has denied wrongdoing.
Cianci’s lawyer, Joshua Teverow, said the citizen’s group can say whatever it wants, but they can’t use the mayor’s name to do it.
“He doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on, and it sounds like he’s got his dance card full,” said Harold A. Meyer III, the creator of the Web site. “Buddy Cianci has been our best publicist so far.”
As for the journalists, Cianci said he’ll sell them back their domain names for $35 — at least to those he considers “true journalists.”
DePetro wondered whether the mayor’s barbs were an attempt at subtle witness intimidation. He has been subpoenaed to testify in mid-April about evidence leaks in the racketeering case.
“I’m also just amazed that with two weeks before his federal trial, that he is concerned with juvenile hijinks concerning me,” DePetro said.