Licensing board chair resigns amid Penthouse fallout

From left to right, Providence Board of Licenses members Delia Rodriguez-Masjoan, Sen. Juan Pichardo and Luis Peralta. (Photo by Dan McGowan/WPRI 12)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Following a meeting on a controversial nightclub Thursday, Providence Board of Licenses Chairman Juan Pichardo resigned from his position.

The board voted “no confidence” in Pichardo earlier this week.

Penthouse nightclub has been closed since Saturday, after gunshots were fired near the club. The South Water Street business was ordered closed earlier this year, but was later allowed to reopen.

“We want to ensure that public safety is uppermost,” Charles Newton, the board’s vice-chair, said Thursday. “Allowing people in after 1 o’clock, as well as the whole question of whether the individuals working there were properly clothed or not clothed.”

The fallout from the Penthouse controversy led to a rift on the board.

On Monday, Mayor Jorge Elorza called for Pichardo to resign after he pushed back a hearing on the club scheduled for last week. The board plans to continue the discussion on Pichardo next week, and until then he will remain on the board if he chooses to be.

Eyewitness News reached out to Pichardo, a former state senator, for comment but he has not yet responded.

The Board of Licenses also voted Thursday to pull all licenses from Penthouse. Pichardo stepped down soon after that decision was made.