In this Aug. 8, 2014 photo, bottles of former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci's pasta sauce sits on the shelf at a grocery store in Providence, R.I. Below his photograph is printed the line “Benefiting Providence School Children.” In recent years, no money from sales of the sauce has been donated to Cianci's charity scholarship fund. (AP Photo/Michelle R. Smith)
Former Providence mayor Buddy Cianci’s sauce is not helping school children
Michelle R. Smith/AP

Former Providence mayor Vincent “Buddy” Cianci—who is currently running for a third term—has a pasta sauce company that promises to donate proceeds to Cianci’s scholarship fund.

It hasn’t in years. The Associated Press asked Cianci’s adviser Charles Mansolillo how much the Mayor’s Own Marinara Sauce, which says on it label that it is “benefiting Providence school children,” actually gave to the mayor’s scholarship fund. Mansolillo, who is the sauce company’s secretary and treasurer as well as the charity’s director and president, said the sauce only made three dollars between 2009 and 2012. That’s not three dollars a year. That’s three dollars total.

The sauce costs $6.95 a jar.

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Cianci’s website prominently advertises the sauce’s donations, saying: “The Mayor’s Own, benefitting [sic] Providence school children. Proceeds from Buddy Cianci’s own marinara sauce are used to grant scholarships to deserving kids.”

Mansolillo said the sauce “benefits the scholarship fund when it’s possible” and that the label should be changed to reflect that.

Cianci’s scholarship fund is more generous than his sauce, giving out $12,000 in scholarships in 2011, the most recent year for which data was available on Guidestar. It recorded $440,784 in assets that year.

Cianci, 73, is announced his third mayoral bid in June, running as an independent. He previously served as mayor from 1975-1984 and 1991-2002. Both terms ended ignominiously: in 1984, he resigned after pleading no contest to assaulting a man with an ashtray and threatening him with a log. In 2002, he resigned after being convicted of racketeering, for which he was sentenced to five years in federal prison.