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Board investigating sale of the Foxy Lady

NEW BEDFORD, Massachusetts — The state Alcohol Beverages Control Commission is investigating the proposed sale of the Foxy Lady nightclub from its current owners, reputed to have ties to organized crime.
A spokeswoman for the state agency would only confirm that there is an ongoing ABCC investigation of the ownership and liquor license transfer, but could not comment further. Last month, the city licensing board approved the ownership transfer for the Foxy Lady Southcoast, a strip club at 161 Popes Island. According to paperwork submitted for that hearing, Route Six Properties, corporate owner of the Foxy Lady Southcoast, is being sold by James Derentiis of Florida and Patricia Tsoumas of South Easton, to Heidi Dillard of Seekonk.

When contacted at her home in Seekonk, Ms. Dillard said she could not discuss her plans in detail because she does not yet own the nightclub. “I’d love to sit down and talk with you about it once I own the club,” she said. Ms. Dillard said she plans to “clean up” the club and “make it more upscale” after she buys all the shares of Route 6 Properties. Route 6 Properties does not own either the Providence or Brockton Foxy Lady clubs. Mr. Derentiis and Mrs. Tsoumas own those properties under
different corporate names. Ms. Dillard said the new name of the club will be “The Rio.”

When asked about her experience in the business, she again asked to discuss the details at a later date. Not much is currently known about Ms. Dillard. She lives in a large house in Seekonk owned by Ronald K. Dillard, purchased earlier this year for $660,000. At the hearing, Ms. Dillard said that she would appoint a new manager for the club, and that she would sever the club’s existing ties with the Foxy Lady chain of strip clubs. The original Foxy Lady strip club is in Providence, and another is in Brockton.

An attorney representing Route Six Properties, Dean Robinson of Warwick, R.I., said he had heard nothing from the ABCC or the city’s licensing board about the nvestigation. “I would guess the ABCC is acting within its authority to review the license,” he said. “We haven’t heard anything from anybody regarding an investigation.”

The Providence-based Foxy Lady opened in 1979 and is arguably the biggest and best-known strip club in New England. The club’s managing owner is Thomas Tsoumas of South Easton, whose wife is listed as co-owner of the club. He told the Providence Journal last year, “We are legend. We really and truly are.” The Providence club has been linked to organized crime, most notably in 1993, when police broke up a $42-million per year gambling ring that operated inside the club.

Two of the 26 people arrested in that gambling sting were members of the Patriarca crime family from Providence. Also among the charged was Gaythorne “Poochie” Angell Jr. and two of his sons. State police in Rhode Island charged that Mr. Angell and the two mobsters ran the ring. Mr. Angell is described by authorities in Rhode
Island as a bookmaker with close ties to the Patriarca crime family.

Mr. Tsoumas told the Providence Journal that Mr. Angell is “my best friend in the world,” and a paid consultant for the Foxy Lady. The Foxy Lady on Popes Island has not had many problems with the law since it opened in 1995, when Mr. DeRentiis bought out the strip club then called Norma Jean’s. A customer was shot twice as he left the club earlier this year in an apparent robbery attempt, and a car caught fire suspiciously in 1999. The building is owned by Floyd Carr, a correctional officer with the Bristol County Sheriff’s Department. Although he told The Standard-Times last year he does not have much contact with the day-to-day operation of the club, he is listed as its manager and is the owner of the club’s liquor license.




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