09-10-2004, 09:11 AM #1
- Join Date
- Jul 1999
- Flanders, NJ
Corruption in RI Nightclub Fire Investigation?FBI Agent Assigned to Review Nightclub Fire Corruption Allegations
RICHARD C. LEWIS
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- The FBI will review allegations made by the father of a nightclub fire victim that corruption and politics are the reason town fire inspectors were never indicted in the case.
David Kane, the father of 18-year-old Nicholas O'Neill, who died in the February 2003 fire at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, and a candidate for state attorney general, acknowledges, however, that he doesn't have any evidence to back up his claims of political motivations and corruption.
The Feb. 20, 2003, fire killed 100 people and injured nearly 200 people attending a concert by heavy metal rock band Great White. A state grand jury has indicted club owners Jeffrey and Michael Derderian and Daniel Biechele, the tour manager for the band whose pyrotechnics sparked the fire. Each faces 200 counts of involuntary manslaughter - two counts for each death.
Kane contends West Warwick fire inspectors - who failed to note the existence of highly flammable foam on the walls of the nightclub or other violations in inspections before the fire - should also have been indicted.
Foam was placed on the walls at the club to muffle the sounds from bands that played at the club.
``I want to know who was it that interfered with them doing their job,'' he said.
Kane also said he wants to know whether the inspectors were called before the state grand jury, and what they said if they testified. Kane said he'll run as an independent for state attorney general in 2006, based on his frustration that more people were not indicted.
State Attorney General Patrick Lynch, a Democrat, had just taken office when the fire took place. He had no comment on Kane's allegations or the FBI review, according to Lynch spokesman Michael Healey, who said the attorney general will seek re-election.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Gerard Sullivan, chief of the criminal division for the U.S. Attorney in Rhode Island, told Kane in a letter dated Sept. 1 that FBI Special Agent Dennis Aiken will review Kane's allegations. Sullivan stressed that no formal investigation has been launched.
U.S. attorney spokesman Tom Connell said the office receives thousands of requests, and decides which should be reviewed. He said Kane's request was forwarded for review ``out of respect for the families who lost loved ones'' and the fire's impact on Rhode Island.
Aiken was the chief investigator of the FBI's probe into corruption at Providence City Hall that led to the conviction of former Mayor Vincent ``Buddy'' Cianci.
09-10-2004, 09:26 AM #2David Kane, the father of 18-year-old Nicholas O'Neill, who died in the February 2003 fire at The Station nightclub in West Warwick, and a candidate for state attorney general, acknowledges, however, that he doesn't have any evidence to back up his claims of political motivations and corruption.
It looks to me like he his going for the sympathy vote... pathetic."The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY
09-12-2004, 10:09 AM #3
- Join Date
- Jan 1999
In Massachusetts, wall covering are not in the perview of the Fire Inspector. It's a Building Department issue. I wonder if it is the same in RI.
Shame on the media(ok what am I thinking) for even publishing his statements since he admits he has no proof.
09-12-2004, 11:09 AM #4
The only place in the Ohio Code that deals with wall covering is in schools, limiting them to 20% of the surface to be covered with combustible materials like paper and cardstock. A similar situation as The Station would be dealt with under the "General Precautions Against Fire" section.
This tactic would be the only way that the Inspector could be held responsible (at least criminally) in Ohio, to prove that a bribe or some other form of corrupt activity had occurred preventing a citation. They're admittedly grabbin' at straws here, though.
The part of the statement that Gonzo quoted gives the whole thing a really strong smell of politics to me. I can't believe the FBI is involved without any evidence.
Aiken was the chief investigator of the FBI's probe into corruption at Providence City Hall that led to the conviction of former Mayor Vincent "Buddy" Cianci.Steve Gallagher
"I don't apologize for anything. When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes
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