Joseph A. Badway: Organized crime sidekick was 81
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Joseph A. Badway, 81, described by Rhode Island law enforcement officials for decades as an "associate" of organized crime, died Saturday at his home in Delray Beach, Fla.
Badway, who also lived in Newport, was the retired proprietor of Dean Auto Body in Providence, which was described by criminal investigators as a meeting place for organized crime figures, a charge that Badway denied.
"I've been painting cars since I was 14," he told a reporter in 1986. "Organized crime guys don't do that, do they? I'm organized crime? Christ! I think the rest of the country should be organized crime like me and go to work."
But it was his relationship with the Patriarca crime family and the late Joseph Bevilacqua, chief justice of the Rhode Island Supreme Court, that kept Badway in the public eye for years.
He was best man at the wedding of Raymond J. "Junior" Patriarca, former leader of New England organized crime and the son of the late Raymond L. S. Patriarca, founder of the family.
Badway was frequently described as chauffeur to the elder Patriarca. But he denied that also.
Twenty-five years ago Badway told reporters that, as a favor to the late Charles Curran, a lawyer, he once spent a week driving and doing errands for Curran and a client. The client turned out to be Patriarca, he said, who was then on trial in Boston.
He said he knew the Patriarcas from working on their cars at Dean Auto Body. He said he wound up as best man at Junior's wedding as a result of a casual conversation.
On July 3, 1976, the chief justice kicked off a political storm when he officiated at Badway's wedding. Badway was under indictment for fraud at the time.
Later that year, the state Commission on Judicial Tenure and Discipline declined to censure Bevilacqua for associating with Badway, a convicted criminal. Bevilacqua later resigned amid an impeachment inquiry.
In 1979 Badway pleaded guilty to charges of income tax evasion and was sentenced to three months in prison.
Badway was the husband of Barbara (Forte) Badway. Other survivors are a son, Shane Cheves of North Providence; a brother, Malcolm Badway of Providence; and two grandchildren.
According to a family obituary published on Wednesday, he was a member of the 43rd Infantry Division of the Rhode Island National Guard and served on active duty as a sergeant in Okinawa during the Korean War. The family said he also was a founding member, with entertainer Danny Thomas, of the Rhode Island Chapter of ALSAC/St. Jude, the fundraising organization of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
The funeral is to be held Saturday at 9:45 a.m. from the A. Tarro & Sons Funeral Home, 425 Broadway, with a Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. in St. George's Church at St. Raymond's Church, 1240 N. Main St., Providence. Burial will be in St. Ann Cemetery, Cranston.