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August 19, 2014

Ex-Providence, R.I., Mayor's Charity Pasta Sauce Generated No Donations

A pasta sauce marketed by former Providence, R.I., Mayor Buddy Cianci as a fundraiser for his scholarship fund made a total of $3 in profits from 2009 to 2012 and gave no money to the charity in that time, according to the Associated Press.

The label for the Mayor's Own Marinara Sauce states that sales are "Benefiting Providence School Children" and have helped hundreds go to college. Mr. Cianci began selling the sauce in 1995 during the second of two stints as the city's leader, both of which ended in felony convictions. He served a prison term in the 2000s and is running again in this year's mayoral campaign.

Charles Mansolillo, a longtime Cianci adviser and an official with both the sauce company and the scholarship fund, said the firm often loses money. He acknowledged the label could be misunderstood and said it should be changed.

"People are thinking that every time they are buying a bottle of [sauce] they're making a contribution. That is not necessarily the case. That's got to be clearly stated," Mr. Mansolillo said. "It benefits the scholarship fund when it's possible."