Gordon Fox arrives at Pawtucket halfway house

Former House speaker returns to RI after more than 2 years in federal prison

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) – After serving more than two years in a federal prison in Pennsylvania, disgraced former House Speaker Gordon Fox is back in his home state.

The 55-year-old convicted former East Side lawmaker left Canaan federal prison in Waymart, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday and arrived at a Pawtucket halfway house shortly before 5 p.m.

Fox, wearing a red Boston Red Sox baseball cap and blue golf shirt, arrived accompanied by two other people. Asked how it felt to be out, Fox told Target 12, “I don’t know yet.”

It’s the first time Fox has been back on Rhode Island soil since he reported to prison on July 7, 2015.

Fox’s prison sentence officially expires on Feb. 14, 2018. But as Target 12 reported last week, he was approved to be transferred to a halfway house to complete the rest of his sentence. It’s also possible Fox could try to finish his sentence on home confinement after spending a period of time at the halfway house.

Called a residential reentry center by the Federal Bureau of Prisons, the halfway house is located in the Woodlawn section of Pawtucket. The 25-bed facility is run by Boston-based Community Resources for Justice.

Christian Schiavone, a spokesperson for the organization, said residents of the facility “are required to be employed in the community, or to be looking for work.”

“They’re required to provide a detailed daily itinerary that covers any time they’re outside the program letting us know where they’ll be, for how long, and how they’re getting there and back,” Schiavone wrote in an email. “In addition, they have to check in frequently to confirm where they are.”

Fox will share a room with another resident and he will be allowed visitors from a pre-approved list.

Fox pleaded guilty in 2015 to charges that he accepted $52,500 in bribes from the owners of Shark Bar and Grille on Thayer Street in exchange for helping them obtain a liquor license in 2008 while he was vice-chairman of the powerful Providence Board of Licenses.

He also admitted to taking more than $100,000 from his campaign account to use for personal expenses.

In the wake of the scandal surrounding Fox, the General Assembly changed the law so that Rhode Island politicians can no longer be the treasurer of their own campaign accounts and that campaign money must be kept separate from their personal bank accounts.

Tim White ( twhite@wpri.com ) is the Target 12 investigative reporter and host of Newsmakers for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow him on Twitter and on Facebook