Category Archives: Bruno / Scarfo Family

Phone directory contained the names of two La Cosa Nostra members from the Philadelphia family


The Medford Village Resort and Country Club in Medford Township, Burlington County, was used by some members and associates of the Bruno/Scarfo crime family to further illegal gambling activities.

Moreover, the club was partly owned, until 1985, by Anthony “Tony Buck” Piccolo of Philadelphia, who was until recently acting boss of the crime family.

Finally, the club’s license was improvidently issued in 1971 because the establishment did not meet the legal criteria to qualify for such a license. The license remains in place to this day.

The situation has been allowed to occur in part because Medford officials do not require background investigations of licensees. The township police chief told Commission agents that any background investigations are done by the municipal clerk, with the ultimate responsibility lying with the State ABC. He said his department has never done a criminal history check or a fingerprint check on applicants for licensure. The chief acknowledged that he is aware that the club has been associated for years with operatives of the Bruno/Scarfo crime family yet he never passed the information to the governing body.

The crime family member who used the club for purposes associated with gambling was Salvatore “Shotsie” Sparacio, along with several of his associates including Blase Salvatore, Sr., Thomas Lauria, Nicholas J. Caputi, Sr., James Grandrimo, Sr. and James C. Grandrimo, Jr. In his statement during the public hearing, State Police Superintendent Dintino confirmed that Sparacio “has been identified as a soldier in the Bruno/Scarfo crime group.” He also attested to the fact that Sparacio used the Medford Village Country Club to meet with operatives involved in the illegal gambling operation. Colonel Dintino identified Salvatore, who is Sparacio’s cousin, and Thomas Lauria as organized crime associates working for Sparacio in his gambling network.

Sparacio and several of his subordinates have been observed together often at the Medford Village Resort and Country Club by law enforcement officers from various agencies. The continual presence of Sparacio and the others is alone a violation of ABC regulations. Moreover, there is no evidence that Sparacio was ever “sponsored by” or “personally attended by” a club member on his continual visits to the Medford Village Club, another violation of ABC requirements for club licenses. In September, 1981, Sparacio was put on the Casino Control Commission’s exclusion list, which was created to keep undesirable persons out of the casinos. Sparacio has defied the exclusionary order. After this Commission’s public hearing, which took place more than 10 years after Sparacio was barred from the casinos, he was told by club president Michael Procacci through an intermediary to keep out of the club. Blase Salvatore, however, remains a member despite his criminal record. James Grandrimo Sr. and James Grandrimo Jr. are also members.

Salvatore was also employed as manager at the club while on a state prison work release program in 1977. Such employment was in violation of ABC regulations in that Salvatore did not possess a Rehabilitation Permit from the ABC, which is required whenever an employee has a criminal record. Sparacio has seven gambling convictions between 1948 and 1990, two of them with Thomas Lauria. Salvatore has four bookmaking convictions between 1969 and 1987.

Salvatore’s 1986 conviction stemmed from his arrest on club premises on October 19, 1985. Police found gambling wagers valued at $6,700 on his person, along with the key to an apartment in Mount Laurel that was used for accepting telephone bets. Gambling operative Nicholas Caputi, Sr. was arrested at the apartment the same day as Salvatore; gambling records were found in his possession. Salvatore and his codefendants Caputi, Sparacio, Steven Argentina, Lauria and James Anderson were all ultimately convicted.

Another item confiscated from Salvatore at the time of his arrest was his phone directory. Commission Special Agent Michael Hoey testified at the public hearing as to the significance of its contents:

At that time, his phone directory contained the names of two La Cosa Nostra members from the Philadelphia family, those being Thomas DelGiorno, who most people know as a cooperating witness but at the time was a La Cosa Nostra member, and also the name of Salvatore Sparacio, who is also a made member of a Philadelphia family.

There were also other names of lower-level gambling operatives that are accountable to the Bruno/Scarfo organization ….

In his public hearing testimony, Thomas DelGiorno identified both Salvatore and Sparacio as bookmakers aligned with the Bruno/Scarfo organized crime family:

Q . Do you know Blase Salvatore, Senior?


Is he an associate in the Philadelphia mob?

He’s with Shotsie. Shotsie’s cousin, too, I think.

Were they involved in illegal gambling activities together?

Bookmaking business.

Did you have any part in that?

In their business?


At what time? At the time of —

Well, tell us what time that you know them to be involved in bookmaking and what —

I met Blase and Shotsie around 1964. I was — I was in my early twenties and I had just started into the bookmaking business. They were the first bookmakers that I worked for and that was the sports business. I worked for them for a couple of years and then my business just — I used to turn half of the booking to them. My business grew and I pulled it away and started taking care of it myself.

When you worked for Blase Salvatore, where did you used to meet with him?

He’d come over to my house in Philly sometimes and sometimes I’d go over to Camden. There was a — I might have the wrong place. It was either 4th or 5th and Pine. There was a little bar there, bar/ restaurant or something.

* * *

Q. When did you first meet Shotsie Sparacio?

A. Around the same time. He was Blase’s — well, wait. Him and Blase — yeah, he was Blase’s partner in — but I didn’t deal with [Sparacio] at that time directly. I had met him but never did business with him. I first got to know him and got close to him around ten years later, like around ’74.

* * *

Anthony Piccolo’s involvement in organized crime was detailed by Colonel Dintino at the public hearing.

Anthony “Tony Buck” Piccolo has been identified as a soldier and member of the Bruno/Scarfo organized crime family. A first cousin of Nicodemo Scarfo, Piccolo was elevated by Scarfo to consigliere.

In 1989, Piccolo assumed a leadership position as acting boss when Scarfo was convicted on federal RICO charges. It was during this time that Piccolo was recorded conducting the “making” ceremony by an informant reporting to the New Jersey State Police. Piccolo’s activity with the Bruno/ Scarfo family was a violation of his probation stemming from a 1987 commercial bribery conviction. It is known that Piccolo was president of the now defunct Baron Maintenance Services, Inc., a Camden, New Jersey company involved with contract bid rigging. In addition to his earlier conviction for commercial bribery, Piccolo was arrested during [New Jersey State Police] Operation Broadsword and charged with numerous crimes, including illegal gambling.

Thomas DelGiorno provided first-hand informa

tion about Piccolo’s membership in the Bruno/Scarfo


Q. Do you know Anthony Piccolo, known as Tony Buck?

A. Yes.

Q. And do you know “Tony Buck” to be a made member?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you know approximately when he was inducted into the family?

A. Well, I heard that he was made for a lot of years; maybe in the late ’50s or early ’60s.

Q. Who made him consigliere?

A. His cousin Scarfo.

Q. And how did you learn that?

A. Scarfo told me he’d been, you know, [made] the consigliere.

Q. Did Scarfo tell you why he selected Tony Buck?

A. Not really. He — I knew why. Because it was his cousin. I mean, he didn’t explain that to me. He didn’t have — he doesn’t have to explain why he does it. You know, he was the boss.

. . . .

Q. Before he became consigliere, he was under a captain?

A. Me.

Piccolo acquired an ownership interest in Medford Village in 1974 when his company, Baron Maintenance Services, Inc., formerly of Philadelphia and Camden, bought into the club. The interest was never hidden but was always listed in publicly available corporate papers.

On January 7, 1974, Alfred Squitire, one of 15 original partners in the club, transferred 84 shares of his stock to Baron Maintenance. Piccolo’s signature appears on the sale agreement. In December, 1985, almost 12 years later, Piccolo signed documents transferring his stock from Baron Maintenance to Michael Procacci of Cherry Hill, the club president.

Piccolo’s signature as president of Baron Maintenance appears on receipts acknowledging a $40,000 check dated December 18, 1985, and a $53,812.50 check dated June 16, 1986, both from Michael and Frances Procacci, in payment for Baron’s shares of stock. Piccolo signed many other documents during his 12-year association with the club.

During the Commission’s public hearing, Counsel Saros asked Piccolo about these transactions but he invoked his Fifth Amendment privilege and refused to answer any questions.

Q. When Alfred Squitire became one of the original partners of Medford Village Resort and Country Club, was he representing your interest?

A. That would be the same answer, ma’am. [Exercising Fifth Amendment privilege]

Q. What was Squitire’s involvement with Baron Maintenance Services?

A. That would be the same answer.

Q. On January 7, 1974 Squitire transferred his shares in Medford Village Resort and Country Club Incorporated to Baron Maintenance Services. Was that transfer done at your direction?

A. That would be the same answer, ma’am.

Q. The SCI is in possession of a number of corporate documents executed by the partners of Medford Village Resort and Country Club Incorporated. I show you one such document which is Exhibit 21 —

MR. ZAZZALI: Let the record show that Exhibit 21 is being shown to the witness and to his counsel, Mr. [Salvatore] Avena.

Q. I would direct your attention to Page 3 of the document and ask if that’s your signature as president of Baron Maintenance Services?

A. That would be the same answer, ma’am.

Q. Why did you want an ownership interest in the country club?

A. That would be the same answer, ma’am.

Q. On December 4, 1985, the stock held by Baron Maintenance Services was sold to Michael Procacci. Why was that done?

A. That would be the same answer, ma’am.

Q. $100,000 was paid by Mr. Procacci to purchase the stock. What was done with that money?

A. That would be the same answer, ma’am.

Q. You will now be shown Exhibit Number 13 which shows the front of a check made out to Baron Maintenance Services in the amount of $40,000. Below is a typed receipt indicating that the check was, in fact, received and your signature appears under that. Is that, in fact, your signature as president of Baron Maintenance?

A. That would be the same answer, ma’am.

* * *

The country club is owned and operated by two for-profit business entities known as Medford Village Resort and Country Club, Inc., and Medford Associates. A third entity, purportedly non-profit and known simply as Medford Village Resort and Country Club, holds the club liquor license and assists in the operation of the country club.

Separate investigations by the ABC Enforcement Bureau and the Commission have established that the “non-profit” corporation which holds the club’s liquor license has been a sham since its inception in 1971. The country club is, in fact, operated by the for-profit corporation. During the public hearing, Commission Special Agent Hoey was asked to elaborate on the ABC regulation regarding club licenses:

A club liquor license is one which can be issued by any township or city and state. It really has no monetary value in that it’s not sold or bought. A township has the ability under current ABC guidelines to issue as many or as few club liquor licenses as they so desire and basically that’s the reason why they’re of little value as far as resale. This is the kind of liquor license that Medford Village Country Club [has].

Now, also there are other types of liquor licenses which are basically referred to as retail liquor licenses and these, of course, are worth money when bought or sold….

Q. And did the country club’s use of a club license violate ABC regulations?

A. The way it was utilized, yes…. According to ABC regulations, club liquor licenses have to be issued to non-profit organizations … basically for VFWs, Knights of Columbus, that type of charitable organization or recreational entity.

… Medford Village Country Club … abused the club liquor license. In fact, as a result of our investigation and an investigation in some cases that paralleled our investigation which was done by the … State ABC Enforcement Bureau, we were able to determine that that club liquor license at Medford Village was, in fact, a sham in almost every respect.

There … weren’t separate bank accounts … separate meetings and minutes….With a club liquor license … you’re supposed to have a minimum of 60 voting members and it’s supposed to be autonomous….With … Medford Village there were six directors who were all original investors in the club….They called the shots so absent that club liquor license the for-profit entity ran the business, and it’s this … entity [in] which Mr. Anthony Piccolo, the La Cosa Nostra member, had a stock interest….

Q. And there is currently pending an ABCenforcement action against the licensee. Is that correct?

A. Yes, that’s true, and there are extensive charges along the lines that I just related concerning the club license being a sham.

The ABC charges center on the non-profit status of the entity that holds the liquor license. The matter is scheduled to be heard in December by an administrative law judge.

In executive session, club president Michael Procacci testified at length regarding the three Medford Village entities, in particular the “nonprofit” organization utilizing the club license. When asked for an explanation as to why this type of license was obtained, Procacci, a successful and wealthy businessman, placed the responsibility on his lawyers and his own lack of knowledge on the subject. He also said that the only reason a club license was sought was because a plenary retail license was not available.

In terms of the operational practices of the business entities, little distinction is made between the non-profit and the profit making entities. Moreover, club membership must be 60 or more persons and each member should be allowed to vote on management issues. Procacci was asked:

Q. With respect to the non-profit corporation, has the general membership of the country club ever been involved in voting for the trustees of the non-profit corporation?

A. They never had any — they have never had any rights.

Q. They never had any involvement with the non-profit corporation?

A. They never had any rights to get involved there. They had their own body in amongst themselves to be the liaison people between the membership and the ownership, so they wouldn’t have any involvement at all, that line of questioning.

The managing partners, one of which was Baron Maintenance, make all of the decisions and Procacci seems to possess absolute power, as his private session testimony reflects:

When it comes to memberships, I want to bring this here out, they have a Board of Governors that run the club itself. It’s a body of people that are members that have their own associates into the club. If somebody gets out of order, it comes to the Board. If anybody is — for instance, if a new member comes up to sign up for a membership, we have a membership committee. They search it. They — and they bring it to the Board of Governors, and they accept them or reject them.

Q When was the Board of Governors set up?

A. 1981 or ’79 something in that area.

Q. How do you as managing partner relate to the Board of Governors?

A. Well, how do I relate to them? It’s very simple. The manager reports to me. He sits in on the — with them as manager, and sometimes, they ask him to leave while they talk about their people and their club.

But anything that came out at the Board of Governors went to the manager, and the manager reported to me. And if I thought that something would be detrimental to the club, I would object, and I would go there and talk to them.

Q. Did you have veto power over any action they might take?

A. Well, if it was really out of line.

But they didn’t do anything out of line. I never — I never remember where I vetoed anything —

Q. You didn’t have to.

A. — in 20 years. I didn’t have to. Sure, I had veto power. If they’re talking about spending money that wasn’t in the kitty, I had veto power. That’s it.

Q. At any time, did you object to a certain individual becoming a member of the country club?

A. Absolutely. First of all, the name would never be — never be handed into the membership committee. When the name would come up for — to be a member, if I didn’t like him, I wouldn’t — I wouldn’t even submit it to the membership committee because I would tell the membership committee I refused to take them in for reasons. But I never had that problem either.

* * *

During the public hearing, Commissioner Evenchick asked Special Agent Hoey to elaborate on the roots of the problems with the licensure of the Medford Village Resort and Country Club:

COMMISSIONER EVENCHICK: Agent Hoey, I think I understood you to say that in the early 1980s and over the years until recently, you determined or your investigation disclosed that the local authorities have done virtually nothing by way of checking the backgrounds of individuals associated with this club. Is that correct? MR. HOEY: That is correct, yes.

COMMISSIONER EVENCHICK: Can you clarify for us what you mean when you refer to local authorities? MR. HOEY: Well, according to — my understanding is according to ABC guidelines, rules and regulations that the local townships have the ability to or should conduct background investigations. Now, it can be done by the township fathers, it can be done by the police department at the instruction of the township fathers, but somebody is obligated to do some kind of background investigation …

In the case of the country club, it was never done in Medford. Sometimes townships do as little as a criminal history check which is very minimal. What should really be done is that the finances to purchase a facility should be looked into in depth, along with criminal background investigations and the interviewing of people that are going to buy into the liquor license so the township has a good feel for who’s getting a liquor license.

With the case — with Medford Village Country Club, the Township, unfortunately, didn’t do anything.

COMMISSIONER EVENCHICK: Did anyone ask any of the Township authorities why they did nothing? MR. HOEY: Well, I went there on an interview during the course of the investigation, and I was told by local authorities that they didn’t feel that it was their function to do that and they really, unfortunately, didn’t understand what ABC rules and regulations were all about. I don’t think they realized that, you know, they were supposed to do this as far as — you know, as far as a background investigation.

COMMISSIONER EVENCHICK: Were you satisfied with that explanation, sir? MR. HOEY: Well, I don’t think at the time I really — I wasn’t satisfied, no, or we weren’t satisfied but that’s what we were told.

Blavat has allowed Memories to be used as a regular meeting place and hangout for the Scarfo family.


Philadelphia disc jockey Gerald “Jerry” Blavat is an organized crime sycophant who, despite his ne­farious associations, has been able to get and keep a liquor license in Margate, Atlantic County. In his disc jockey patter, Blavat calls himself “the Geator with the heater” and “the boss with the hot sauce.”

Blavat has openly associated with members of the Bruno/Scarfo family for two decades and, in fact, even served as a driver for Philadelphia crime boss Angelo Bruno on occasion. According to former mob capo Thomas DelGiorno, Blavat is a close friend of whoever happens to be the boss of the Bruno/Scarfo family at any given time.

Although he is generally unknown outside the Delaware Valley area, Blavat has wide contacts in the entertainment world. Because of these contacts, as well as his friends in organized crime, he can open many doors in various walks of life.

Since 1974, Blavat has been the owner of record of a restaurant and night club in Margate called Memories where he frequently performs his disc jockey show playing “oldies” records. He also appears at other clubs in southern New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The financial arrangements for his appearances at the three other New Jersey clubs violated ABC regulations because he received all or a portion of cover charges in cash as well as a percentage of liquor sales. Such funds were not recorded on the books of the licensees either as income or payments. While the licensees were disciplined by the ABC, Blavat himself was never cited because its regulations do not apply to enter­tainers.

Blavat has allowed Memories to be used as a regular meeting place and hangout for the Scarfo family, contrary to ABC regulations. According to Thomas DelGiorno, in 1984 he had been assigned by boss Nicodemo Scarfo to murder crime family mem­ber Salvatore Testa but was having trouble setting him up for the kill. DelGiorno testified that because Memories was the only place Testa visited regularly and appeared to be relaxed, he asked Scarfo if he could commit the murder there. But he said Scarfo told him not to do it. Scarfo told him, “ ‘I use that. I go in there all the time. I meet guys in there. I don’t want to ruin the joint.’ ”

In a statement submitted to the Commission at the public hearing, New Jersey State Police Superin­tendent Justin J. Dintino, a nationally recognized expert on organized crime, said of Blavat:

Blavat was an associate to, and a chauffeur for, the late Philadelphia crime boss Angelo Bruno. He has also been identified as an associate to Nicodemo Scarfo. Throughout has professional career, Blavat has openly associated with members and associates of the Bruno/Scarfo family, including John Martorano, the late Frankie “Flowers” D’Al­fonso, Joseph Merlino, Salvatore Merlino and Tyrone DeNittis.

Although Blavat has no criminal record, Com­mission Special Agent Grant F. Cuzzupe cited in detail his long association with organized crime figures, which has been extensively documented by surveillances of numerous law enforcement agencies over many years. This documentation leaves the Commission with no doubt that Blavat truly is con­nected to the Bruno/Scarfo crime family.

When subpoenaed to appear at a private Com­mission hearing, Blavat answered questions pertain­ing to his show business career and his licensed premises, Memories, but he invoked his Fifth Amend­ment privilege on questions regarding his organized crime affiliations. And when he appeared under subpoena at the public hearing, Blavat refused to answer all questions.

The testimony of Agent Cuzzupe established that Memories has been frequented by members and associates of the Bruno/Scarfo organized crime group, including Nicodemo Scarfo, Larry Merlino and Phillip Leonetti, and that the sons of Scarfo and Merlino were arrested on the premises “after a violent alter­cation.” DelGiorno confirmed that testimony:

Q. Did you ever go [to Memories]?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. Did you ever meet other members or associates of the Philadelphia family there?

A. We all hanged out there in the summer. We always went there, everybody, you know, everybody that had a place down the shore or everybody came down the shore. At one time during the weekend we’d stop over there to have a drink.

Q. Did you ever pay for your meals or drinks there?

A. No, not very often.

DelGiorno also described Blavat’s longstanding affiliation with the Bruno/Scarfo family and his close ties to its leaders:

Q. How long have you known [Blavat]?

A. I’ve known him a lot of years, off and on.

Q. Is Blavat an associate in the Philadelphia family?

A. Blavat was a friend of — started out from what I know of him — I met him when I was a kid. Then he surfaced again as a friend of Angelo Bruno’s, yes.

Q. Was he also a friend of Nicky Scarfo’s?

A. Later on, yeah, not at the — well he — he made — Blavat made friends as they came along. Like, if Angelo Bruno was the boss, he was Blavat’s friend. Scarfo was the boss, Phil Testa was the boss, he was Blavat’sfriend. Scarfo became the boss, he was Blavat’s friend. If one of these guys [point­ing to the members of the Commission] becomes the boss, he’ll be Blavat’s friend.

Later in his testimony, DelGiorno elaborated on Blavat’s lengthy history with the family:

Q. How far back does Blavat’s association with the Philadelphia mob go?

A. Like I said I — I know of it going back to when Angelo was living. He used to hang out with Angelo.

Q. Was Blavat Bruno’s driver at times?

A. Oh, yeah, drove him around a lot, you know.

Q. During when?

A. During the early and middle 70s and late 70s.

Sworn testimony in other forums from ex-Bruno/ Scarfo members Philip Leonetti and Larry Merlino help substantiate Blavat’s relationship with this group. Leonetti, who was the family underboss prior to his incarceration, stated that Blavat paid $500 per week to Scarfo from the proceeds of Memories in ex­change for protection from unionization. And Merlino confirmed that Local 54 of the bartenders union was kept out of Memories at Scarfo’s behest. DelGiorno corroborated Leonetti’s statements regarding the $500 tribute that Blavat paid to Scarfo.

In 1987, the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice filed a civil lawsuit against Blavat, alleging that he acted as a “front” in the purchase of the mentioned yacht for Nicodemo Scarfo. The suit alleged that proceeds generated by the Scarfo crime group’s criminal enterprises were used to purchase the vessel. During the public hearing, DelGiorno testified regarding the yacht purchase as well as Blavat’s bogus rental of Scarfo’s Florida home:

Q. Did Blavat assist Nicky Scarfo by acting as a front for him in the purchase of a yacht?

A. Yes, he did. He had —

Q. Let me ask you first, why did Scarfo select Blavat for that?

A. Well, he was the most legitimate-looking guy at the time from — you know, from a banker’s point of view and for that — you know, for the purpose of the loan he seemed the most legitimate-looking guy….

Q. And would you explain exactly how Blavat asisted Scarfo in the purchase?

A. Well, from the — from the understanding that I got from Scarfo, he just put the — went out and bought the boat and Scarfo gave him whatever down money that he needed and I think there was a mortgage on — mortgage of 800 or 850 a month and Jerry would write a check every month and pay that and Scarfo would reimburse him the money. I also think

and I’m not positive about this, but I think that he had told me one time that [Blavat] wrote that off on Memories as a — as a business deal….

Q. Did Blavat also assist Scarfo in a similar fashion with Scarfo’s purchase of a vacation home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida?

A. Yes…. This was explained to me by Scarfo and his attorney, Bob Simone, that Scarfo had purchased this home in Fort Lauderdale and the way that he did it was to put so much money down and then form a corporation that was supposed to be leasing this home to individuals as a vacation spot, and he had around three or four guys — that he had them sign a lease for like three or four months a year. I think that they were pre­tending that they were paying 3500 a month rent, and what they would do is come down to give Scarfo the 30 — well, they would give Scarfo a check for 3500 and he would reim­burse them by giving them the cash and Blavat was part of it.

Q. Do you recall who any of the others were?

A. One was Bobby Stone and two other guys. I think — I really don’t remember the other two names. I think he had four of them that were doing three months apiece.

Q. Did Blavat ever actually visit the Fort Lauderdale home to make it appear as though he was renting it?

A. Oh, yes, That’s — that’s why it’s — that’s how the story came about of how he ex­plained it to me that — I had been — it had been explained to me how he purchased the home but never with — who was actually, you know, pretending they were leasing it but one— one weekend we went down there and it was on a Sunday and we had — we were all in his house and Spiker or one of them was making spaghetti and meatballs, and he said that Blavat was coming and Blavat came into the place around ten o’clock or some­thing, ten-thirty that morning, eleven o’clock. He came in, said hello to everybody. He went over — he went, sat down with Scarfo for a little bit talking to him. He went and he ate a meatball sandwich, came back to the table and said good-bye, so when he was leaving I asked Nicky, I said, “Where is he going?” He said, “Back to Philly,” so I said, “Wait a minute. You mean to tell me this guy flew to Florida to eat a meatball sandwich?” He said, “No, no, no. He comes here be­cause he’s one of the guys that leases the house and he thinks that because he shows up that the surveillance will pick him up and if they ever ask him if he’s really leasing he could say ‘yeah’.”

Scarfo’s house and boat both have been repos­sessed by the bank. * * *

As an entertainer Blavat has used a variety of locations to generate cash through his corporation called “Celebrity Showcase.” In private hearing testimony, Blavat described this entity as the one “that handles Jerry Blavat, the entertainer. Celebrity Showcase is the corporation that books Jerry Blavat, and is paid, and then Celebrity Showcase pays Jerry Blavat a salary for his performance.”

But the benefits from these arrangements go beyond the simple collection of a paycheck. Blavat and his employees literally take over an establish­ment when he is there. To a large degree, he has been able to violate ABC regulations with impunity. For example, Blavat used now deceased Bruno/Scarfo soldier Samuel Scafidi as an overseer or floor man­ager during his shows at various locations. He also employed Scafidi’s son-in-law, John Hansen, as his head doorman. Because both men have criminal records, they are disqualified from working in li­censed premises.

The Commission’s investigation determined that Blavat was booked on a continuing basis in some southern New Jersey licensed establishments, in­cluding the Ivystone Inn, later called the Betsy Ross Inn in Pennsauken during the late 1970s and much of the 1980s; Bubba’s in Pennsville in January, 1986; and Degenhardt Caterers in Mt. Ephraim from 1987 through 1989. Blavat’s performances at the Betsy Ross Inn were purportedly arranged through Bruno/ Scarfo associates Tyrone DiNittis and Carl Botzenhardt.

At some of these locations, the program was billed as “Jerry Blavat’s Memories West.” The lounge area at Degenhardt’s was even remodeled after Memories in Margate. Blavat testified in private hearing that he was paid “X amount of dollars plus the door” for the use of his name, likeness and performance at these various establishments. Con­firming this, William Degenhardt, president of Degenhardt Caterers, testified that Blavat was paid $650 per night plus all proceeds from customer admission fees.

According to ABC Senior Inspector John Schmidt, who participated in surveillances as part of an Enforcement Bureau investigation of Degen­hardt’s from January, 1988, to March, 1989, Blavat and his employees ran the lounge portion of Degen­hardt’s and collected the proceeds from the cover charge. That revenue was not tallied in a cash register; nor was there any accounting for the amount of cash being collected. This money was turned over directly to Blavat, a practice that also violates ABC regulations. When Schmidt interviewed Blavat and Degenhardt, he asked what was done with these funds. Schmidt related their responses to the Com­mission:

Q. What statements did each of them make with respect to what was done with the mon­eys collected as the cover charge?

A. They both stated that the money collected as a cover charge was to go to Jerry Blavat, the entire amount. Mr. Blavat stated that he used that money to purchase advertising time from two Philadelphia radio stations and that was also what Bill Degenhardt stated that was told to him by Blavat.

Q. Do ABC regulations allow for money to be taken on licensed premises and not be processed through the licensee?

A. No, they don’t.

Schmidt verified through his investigation that Degenhardt’s was not maintaining true books of account pertaining to the cover charges. Blavat and Degenhardt admitted to Inspector Schmidt that they had agreed that Blavat would receive a percentage of liquor sales on nights that he appeared at the lounge, in violation of ABC regulations. He said:

It would make Jerry Blavat basically hold­ing a beneficial interest in that license and that his compensation was based on the amount of sales conducted. It was over and above any reasonable salary paid to an entertainer.

Blavat had a similar agreement in 1986 with Bubba’s, which is no longer open. The owner and licensee of Bubba’s, Joseph Rappa, Jr., testified before the Commission regarding Blavat’s appear­ances at the bar and the collection of a cover charge as well as the payment of a percentage of liquor sales.

These cash transactions enabled Blavat to under­report his earnings. At the public hearing, former Bruno/Scarfo capo Thomas DelGiorno asserted that Blavat boasted to him that this was exactly the case:

Q. Blavat charges an admission fee at the various lounges where he appeared in New Jersey and he also had a cover charge at Memories. Did he ever tell you what he did with that money?

A. Oh, one time I had — let me put it in perspective. One time we had talked to him about not just the admission fee at the door but the conversation was about his whole business in general, meaning these disc jockey shows, and he had told me that that’s where he makes most of his money. He sometimes or most of the time gives the door so much money, a little bit of money, and the door has this fee and that he only reported a very small portion of that — of that door at these

when he was the disc jockey and at Memories and at wherever he had the door. That’s how he made his money; that, you know, the money they didn’t have to show.

Did he tell you what he did with a salary that he would receive from one of the lounges when he received part by check and part by cash?

That’s what I meant; that the door would be part of the salary and — whatever he received by check was not — was a small percentage of what he made that night, is what I’m trying to get across. Let’s say it was 25 percent and the other 75 percent had come from the door or from whatever else the guy gave him under the table.

The ABC Enforcement Bureau investigation of Degenhardt’s Caterers resulted in charges against the license, some of which were related to the busi­ness arrangement with Blavat. Degenhardt’s was also cited for Blavat’s employment of Bruno/Scarfo soldier Sam Scafidi and John Hansen, both of whom were criminally disqualified. Commission surveil­lances at Degenhardt’s corroborated that both Scafidi and Hansen worked on the premises during Blavat’s appearances. According to testimony by Joseph Trymbiski, who worked at the Betsy Ross Inn during part of the time period Blavat had his show there, Blavat told him that Sam Scafidi was his “eyes and ears.” Blavat himself admitted during the private hearing that he was friendly with and employed Scafidi. Blavat described Scafidi’s role as follows:

He just was there — Sam Scafidi was an old guy that had — just an old nice guy that hung around. I got guys that come to the clubs and hang and follow Jerry Blavat for 25 years that just like to be a part of that, and Sam was one of those guys that was — he was like a second father.

Q. What work did he do for Celebrity Showcase?

A. Really, just watched out for my interest to make sure that nobody was doing anything, cheating or anything like that.

Q. Can you give me some concrete examples of that?

A. He just was around me, that’s all.

Q. Was he on the payroll of Celebrity Showcase?

A. I think he was, yes.

Q. Specifically, what were his duties?

A. He’d be at the club to watch, see what I was doing, and watch to see that there was no problems at the club.

Q. How much was he paid?

A. That you’d have to check with the book­keeper. I don’t want to give you the right price because I may be wrong. Celebrity Showcase, they would have that.

Q. Can you give us an example of a problem that he handled for you?

A. Well, he made sure that nobody was cheating, you know.

Q. Such as who?

A. Well, he’d watch out, he’d say to me — let me give you an example. If a club is in my name, Jerry Blavat’s Memories, even though I don’t own it, it’s got my name, and I want to make sure that because it’s my name, the people who come there are not — somebody is not cheating them with drinks and things like that, so he was almost like a friend and manager type who watched — he traveled with me. It was that simple.

Degenhardt’s made no attempt to obtain back­ground information on Blavat’s employees, accord­ing to Inspector Schmidt.

DelGiorno verified Sam Scafidi’s membership in the Bruno/Scarfo LCN. However, according to DelGiorno, Scafidi’s employment with Blavat as a doorman was at Scarfo’s direction rather than as a result of any lifelong friendship with Blavat.

Q. Do you know whether Blavat ever em­ployed any family members at either Memo­ries or any of the lounges where he ap­peared?

A. He had Sam Scafidi working for him awhile.

Q. And Scafidi was a made member?

A. Yes, he was. I think he was from the Vineland area.

Q. How did it come about that Blavat empl­oyed Scafidi?

A. Scarfo told him to employ him, give him a job, you know.

Q. What was Scafidi’s function for Blavat?

A. I think he was a doorman more or less, you know, collecting money at the door and,you know — they had a lot of kids that went into that bar, you know. If there way any trouble he’d break the fights up and stuff like that.

The strength of the ABC Enforcement Bureau’s case against Degenhardt’s resulted in a non vultplea and a $1,000 fine, a penalty Inspector Schmid said he considered light.

Just as a comparative example, another es­tablishment in the area, that business was— I would say it was considerably smaller and did considerably less business that Degen­hardt, was charged with one count of em­ploying a disqualified person along with a couple of other minor charges and they were fined approximately $8,000 eventually.

During the public hearing, Commissioner Barry

H. Evenchick asked Agent Cuzzupe if action had been taken by any governmental agency to revoke Jerry Blavat’s liquor license.

Q. Agent Cuzzupe, are you aware of whether any governmental agencies of our State have made efforts to revoke Mr. Blavat’s license as a result of the information about which you have testified today?

A. There has not been an effort at the local level. There have been investigations of Mr. Blavat in the past that resulted in penalties; however, the complete — the complete affili­ation that he has had with organized crime had not been addressed by any agency.

Subsequent to the ABC investigation, Blavat and Degenhardt’s terminated their business relationship by mutual agreement. Blavat, however, continues to own and operate Memories in Margate and perform his oldies show throughout the region. In fact, although the Commission’s public hearing was in February and Margate officials were sent detailed information about the hearing, the city nevertheless renewed Blavat’s liquor license on July 1.