The city of Cranston, Rhode Island was rocked recently by a truly bizarre scandal involving a city official forcing a male van driver to dress in drag for a press conference.
Sue Stenhouse is, er, was the city’s director of senior services and executive director of Cranston’s Senior Enrichment Center. On January 5, she hosted an outdoor press conference about a snow shoveling program.
For whatever reason, Stenhouse really, really wanted an elderly woman to appear in the background during the photo op. But rather than going through the trouble of asking an actual old lady to appear with her, she instead coerced a middle-aged man into donning a wig, earrings, lipstick, blush and a dress then slapping on a name tag that said “Cranston Senior Home Resident” and awkwardly standing behind her while she spoke to the cameras.
Unfortunately for her, no one was fooled.
The man was quickly identified as David Roberts, who works as a van driver at the senior center. It’s unclear why Stenhouse made the man dress up like an old woman, or why he agreed to do it, but City Council President John Lanni told The Providence Journal he believed Stenhouse was intentionally trying to deceive people.
As a result of the caper, the city’s director of administration, Rob Coupe, said Stenhouse resigned from her post. She has since gone into hiding. Mr. Roberts, too, appears to be M.I.A. The Cranston Senior Home Resident said it has “no comment” on the matter. Neither does Cranston’s mayor, Allan Fung.
One person who is talking, however, is Elaine Mancuso, the salon owner who provided the wig for Roberts to wear. She told WJAR-TV that she didn’t know what he was going to do with the wig when he asked to borrow it.
“He says to me, ‘Elaine, do you have a wig that I could borrow? I have to get dressed as a senior,'” Mancuso told the station. It wasn’t until days later that she realized why he wanted it. “I said, ‘Oh, my God. He wanted it for that?!’ I probably would have given him a better wig if I had known.”