State police to look into DMV head’s ties to raided business
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Gov. Dan McKee has asked state police to investigate whether the administrator of the state Division of Motor Vehicles had any knowledge of, or involvement in, an alleged prostitution operation that leased one if his rental properties.
Cranston police last week shut down six unlicensed massage businesses they alleged were fronts for human trafficking and prostitution, including one that rented property owned by Walter “Bud” Craddock through his real estate holding company, LUC Realty Holdings LLC.
Craddock has said that he had no knowledge of any illegal activities at the site and had never heard any complaints.
McKee wants state police to make sure.
“The buying and selling of human beings is a horrific and despicable practice, and we must do everything we can to protect victims and put a stop to it,” the Democratic governor’s office said in a statement Monday. “This morning, the governor directed the Rhode Island State Police to ascertain all relevant facts and investigate whether the administrator committed any wrongdoing whatsoever related to this situation. The governor is fully committed to ensuring all resources are utilized to obtain all the facts in this disturbing case.”
McKee said during a news conference Tuesday that the investigation was not criminal in nature, and Craddock would continue to lead the DMV while it is underway.
LUC Realty Holdings LLC in its own statement Monday said Craddock, also a former Cranston police chief, has nothing to hide.
“Bud Craddock welcomes a state police investigation as it will prove beyond a shadow of doubt that he did nothing wrong, had no involvement in this abhorrent activity and no knowledge that it was occurring on property he owns,” the statement said.
LUC also said it is terminating the lease and has given the business until July 15 to move out. Eviction proceedings will begin if the business does not move out by that deadline.
In addition to shutting down the six businesses, police also arrested 11 people, mostly on misdemeanor charges, but said most may be human trafficking victims themselves. One woman was charged with permitting prostitution.