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Council Nixes License For Pawnshop, Contractor Says Vote Won't Withstand A Challenge

Majority errs on side of caution over desire to fill 118 Main St. storefront.

 

The City Council voted against a dealer license for Spindle City Pawnbrokers/Fall River Pawnbrokers for 118 Main St. last night after a debate over the perils of pawnbrokers verses the city's effort to fill vacant storefronts.

Vincent Mesolella, principal of the construction company REI Inc., hired to prepare the Main Street storefront for the pawnbroker shop, representing the applicant, Aaron Tetrault, said he'd have to check with him to see what their next step would be.

Mesolella said if his client decided to challenge the vote, he's certain it wouldn't stand up in court. "I heard a lot of philosophical talk about the business," Meslolella said, but no legal reason to deny the license was discussed. 

Council President John Ward argued in favor of granting the license. He said the city could give the business a chance and if anything untoward were to occur at the shop, they would have the option of revoking the license. Meanwhile, he said, the city will have helped fill vacant storefront on Main Street - an ongoing challenge.

"I don't have a line of people like at a deli counter taking a number to fill a spot at 118 Main St.," said Economic Development Director Matt Wojcik. 

But the majority of the council members voiced concern over the company's unsavory reputation. Danvers, MA Police Chief Neil Ouellette backed a move by the town's board of selectmen to suspend the company's license to operate there in 2011, according to the Salem News. 

Council members Christopher Beauchamp and Albert Brien also recalled the company's 2009 application, on which the signatures of character references turned out to belong to people who had never met the applicant.

Beauchamp was also not convinced a pawnshop belongs on Main Street. "In my opinion more second hand dealers on Main Street is not going to attract the business that we want," Beauchamp said.

Councilman Albert Brien noted a story about a customer who was charged a $43 closing cost fee on a $75 loan. 

Councilman Roger Jalette wasn't only prepared to vote against the license - he suggested reducing the number of second hand stores in Woonsocket. "We have too many for a city that is eight square miles," Jalette said. Also, he said, "You will never, ever get Main Street to be as it was before," Jalette said. What the area needs to bring businesses and customers in, he said, is municipal parking lots so drivers can stop nearby.

Spindle City's cause received another blow from Dan Rocco Baldelli of Gold Loan Company at 100 Bernon St., who also noted the company's troubles in Danvers and the company's first application with the city. "If he'd changed from three years ago, I'd say fine," Baldelli said.

But, Baldelli said, when the company has a run in with the police due to receiving stolen goods, they blame their employees and don't take responsibility. 

In comparison, said Councilman Marc Dubois, speaking from his experience on the Woonsocket Police Department, Baldelli often worked to retrieve stolen property when it passed through his store, losing money in the process.

Ward argued that if Spindle City overcharged its customers or treated them unfairly, that would only serve to send them to Baldelli's business.  "I'm not willing to simply throw someone out before they show what they can do," Ward said. 

But on the vote, only Ward and Councilman Dan Gendron voted to give Spindle City the liscense. 

Paulie10 December 04, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Mr. Ward,if you think this city needs another pawn shop you are insane.Sounds like there may have been some "politics" in your approval of this license.Kudos to the Councilmen that rejected..... Dont get to say that often.
JWJ December 04, 2012 at 05:25 PM
I say give 'em a license,pawn is all the rage today.Maybe the History Channel will come to town and give us a much needed economic boost.
English first December 04, 2012 at 05:41 PM
North Attleboro has a thriving Main Street RT 1A . Not a vacancy there. What is the difference. One antique store (perhaps it is second hand, but it is beautiful).
Keep Smiling December 04, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Hopefully, you watched the council meeting and heard Dan Baldelli say that he wasn't afraid of competition. I'll say it's because he's a fair businessman. What Mr. Baldelli did was bring to the attention of the council Spindlecity Pawnbrokers' problems in Danvers and the fact that he took advantage of a person who was given a loan for $75.00 and charged a closing fee of $43.00 which is unheard of. He had a list of problems Spindle City has had but didn't get into all of them. Maybe Mr. Ward and Mr. Gendron don't have to frequent pawn shops but there are a lot of people who do and we need honest business people, like Dan Baldelli, in Woonsocket.
Still Hope December 05, 2012 at 04:06 AM
Hey! That's not me ^
la_mouffette December 05, 2012 at 05:22 AM
I've never been a fan of the copycat screen names. I much prefer the creative and funny ones.
Mr. December 06, 2012 at 12:47 PM
Correction.. This sounds like a political hack job. Isnt this the same Rocky Baldelli who is the brother of State Rep Lisa Baldelli. This is the same case where Lisa Baldelli was introducing legisllation regarding check cashing places that everyone knew was a conflict for her. Now you have council members doing the Baldelli bidding by keeping any competition out. Its disgusting. Isnt Rocky Baldelli the same brother that many said during the election was a former Woonsocket Fireman Collecting a diability pension from us. He doesnt look that disabled to me. I bet the same people could have gotten a license for any other business as long as they werent competing with the all powerful baldelli family.
steven December 06, 2012 at 06:05 PM
but you should think this over b/c eveyone need a second chance. It's not like they have lot of store in main st. first they should fill the store fron first. then you can pick and choose but now. just my 2c.
Keep Smiling December 13, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Is it that difficult to understand that Still Hope and Still Hoping are two different sign-ons. Come on people! I am still hoping for better times.
Keep Smiling December 13, 2012 at 04:57 PM
So we should ignore the fact that there are quite few ILLEGAL CHECK-CASHING stores in Woonsocket who are not paying for any licenses and there's a possibility that the money they are dealing with is going out of the country. It's time RI woke up. I'm sure there are other cash-checking facilities that are abiding by the rules. Let's just close our eyes and then complain that we're broke. If it's the state's responsibility then let them get on the stick and enforce the laws. There's no accountability without a license.
Rob Borkowski (Editor) December 14, 2012 at 01:46 PM
One way to avoid stepping on each others' user names would be to just use your real names. Unless you're disclosing whistle-blower information to the public, I'd say there's little to lose (the US is probably the safest place in the world to express your thoughts openly) as long as you're civil and thoughtful. Also, people who stand behind their views and beliefs openly are more compelling to me.
Paulie10 December 14, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Regardless of what Mr. Baldelli's motives maybe or not be,he has a valid point.We need a pawn shop in this city as much as we need another methadone clinic,bodega,dive bar etc.... Sometimes the money just isnt worth it.And also,while y'all are crying about the Baldellis,did you take the time to learn of Spindle City's history of shady business?Do we really want that for a few measly tax dollars?

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