Tag Archives: Salvatore Sparacio

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.