Tuesday, April 04, 2006

120: “The Battle of Pennsylvania, Part 2”


It just seems to me that every day now another reason surfaces to kick the bums out of Harrisburg and seize control of state government in order to restore some sanity, and ethics to it. Here is another adventure into the Gambling business brought to you by Governor Edward “Fast Eddie” Rendell. This time, it is not Brightbill, but another Republican, Senate President Pro Tempore Bob Jubelirer.

Jubelirer PAC has slots ties
By Brad Bumsted andDebra Erdley
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Friday, March 31, 2006

A top aide to state Senate President Pro Tempore Robert Jubelirer controls a political action committee largely financed by casino applicant Louis DeNaples, a Scranton-area businessman with links to organized crime. Citizens for a Better Pennsylvania, founded by Jubelirer in 1989, collected $20,000 last year from companies affiliated with DeNaples, a leading contender for a slots casino in the Poconos.

Mike Long, the powerful senator's chief of staff, is the committee treasurer.

It is highly unusual, political experts say, for a legislative staffer to control a political action committee -- let alone one funded by interests his boss opposes. Jubelirer, an Altoona Republican, is an outspoken opponent of gambling.

"I never heard of it," said G. Terry Madonna, political science professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster County and a 30-plus-year observer of state government. "It's artful but legal."

DeNaples pleaded no contest in 1978 after a jury could not reach a verdict in his fraud trial. He was accused of participating in a scheme to defraud the federal government out of $525,000 for the cleanup of Hurricane Agnes.

The now-defunct Pennsylvania Crime Commission contended James Osticco, underboss of the Buffalino crime family, bribed the husband of a juror in DeNaples' case to hold out for an acquittal.

In 2001, the Internal Revenue Service filed an affidavit in U.S. District Court outlining contacts and payments DeNaples allegedly made to William "Big Billy" D'Elia, whom law enforcement identified as the head of the Buffalino crime family. Neither man was charged with wrongdoing, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported last year.

Neither DeNaples, who received a three-year suspended sentence in the fraud case, nor his attorney, Jeffrey Belardi, returned calls for comment.

DeNaples purchased the shuttered Mount Airy Lodge in northeastern Pennsylvania in late 2004. He plans to install a new slots resort at the site.

Read the rest of this story (but take a barf bag as this is really getting nauseating to find out how many politicians this guy DeNaples has his hooks into!). It’s at this page on the website of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

As we have said before, when you have Louis DeNaples, who needs Tony Soprano?

Am I missing something here, or is it fair to ask how does someone with DeNaples record even get considered for a gambling license?

We might also wish to ask why the Pennsylvania Crime Commission no longer exists.

Stay tuned.

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