Kenneth Guarino owns 100% of the capital stock of Capital Video, the company planning to locate a hard-core porn shop at 135 King Street. We have documented his background and attitude in these previous posts:
The Providence Journal’s archives supply additional details in “R.I. pornographer pleads guilty” (1/11/97):
Kenneth Guarino, whose multimillion-dollar erotic empire has gone global, is going to prison…
The plea, after four years of delays, averted a two-month trial that
would have shed light on Guarino’s multifaceted adult entertainment
business, and his ties to the underworld…
Last year, Guarino launched two web sites on the Internet and expanded
distribution of his X-rated videos, magazines and CD-ROMS from a chain
of stores in the United States into Europe and South Africa.
He opened a foreign sales office in Flensburg, Germany, and agreed to
buy Phantasm Holdings, of Holland, a major European distributor of
X-rated entertainment products…
In the last fiscal year, Metro Global’s revenues climbed 10 percent, to
$19.5 million. The company churned out 261 pornographic films–five a
[Guarino’s] products are available in seven countries and four languages: English, Spanish, German and French…
Guarino, a millionaire, lives in a posh waterfront home in Cranston’s Edgewood neighborhood…
Guarino’s relationship with mobsters is well-documented. In 1991, the
Journal-Bulletin reported that Guarino, Natale Richichi and Gotti met
at a Johnston restaurant with other mobsters.
The seeds of the criminal charges were planted in February 1993, when
Guarino, Natale Richichi and Cino were indicted on charges that they
conspired to bribe the president of the Las Vegas stagehands union.
The men were accused of seeking to obtain favorable treatment in a
financially troubled stage show, at the now-defunct Dunes Hotel, that
Guarino had invested in.
As part of yesterday’s plea, the government dropped those charges.
Following that indictment, prosecutors said, they captured Guarino on
federal wiretaps, offering his own contacts in the underworld to help
Richichi get fake identification so he could flee to the Dominican
Richichi apparently considered himself more than Guarino’s protector.
The plea agreement says federal agents intercepted Richichi telling
Patriarca crime boss Francis P. “Cadillac Frank” Salemme “that
everything of Guarino’s was (Richichi’s)…”
Guarino has had past run-ins with the law. In June 1985, he pleaded
guilty to federal tax-evasion charges. He served three months in prison
and was fined $5,000.
In 1980, Guarino was arrested with 44 others in gambling raids in 12
Rhode Island communities, and charged with operating an organized-crime
gambling business. Seven years later, in 1987, he pleaded no contest to
bookmaking charges and was fined $250.
In a fine example of doublespeak, Capital Video general counsel Lesley Rich complained recently in a public letter that “a campaign has been waged against our business by individuals that have maligned the reputation of Capital Video.” What Mr. Rich calls maligning, we call a well-documented factual record. Elsewhere, Lesley Rich characterizes giant glory holes as retractable “buddy windows” [explicit link].
In October, Capital Video’s local attorney Michael Pill claimed to Northampton’s City Council that “The company will not tolerate any illegal conduct in or around its place of business.” (PDF) Three months later, the Springfield police commissioner called for a License Commission hearing to consider counts of drug sales and lewd activity around the Capital Video shop there.