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City Council votes to limit pawn shops

January 23, 2013

WOONSOCKET – Despite charges of creating a monopoly, the City Council Tuesday granted preliminary passage to an ordinance capping the number of pawn shop licenses in the city to two, both of which are already held by Daniel Baldelli, operator of the Gold Loan Company.
The panel voted 5-2 in favor of the measure, over the objections of City Council President John Ward and Vice President Daniel Gendron.
“I’d have a problem with it even if the two existing licenses weren’t held by the same person,” said Gendron. “I just don’t feel the City Council or any government body should restrict or limit the ability of a legitimate business to do business in our city.”
The council’s vote was a rebuke to the efforts of Spindle City Pawnbrokers to set up shop downtown, and it came just hours after an earlier smackdown at the hands of the Budget Commission.
The operator of roughly a dozen pawn shops in New England appealed to the Budget Commission last month after the City Council rejected Spindle City’s application for a license to open at 118 Main St. Vincent Mesolella, a spokesman for the company, basically told commissioners they could either reverse the council’s decision or get dragged into a costly legal battle over the license.
Councilors had raised questions about the company’s track record and reputation in other locales, but those concerns were apparently put to rest after Police Chief Thomas Carey handed over the results of his personal investigation into Spindle City to the commission.

Read more in our print edition.

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