The ring operated from wire rooms in Kew Gardens Hills, Flushing and Costa Rica and was controlled by the Bonanno family, a Howard Beach organized crime clan, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said during a news conference in Kew Gardens May 18. Fourteen of its 36 members are from Queens and the ring booked $500,000 worth of bets a day on horse-racing, baseball, football and other sporting events, the DA said. It processed $2.5 million in wagers in one day during the 2005 National Football League playoffs, according to Brown.Dominic Valila, 39, of Floral Park, who has worked with the Mets since 1986 and been the head grounds keeper for two years, was among the ring's 25 runners who maintained bettor lists, kept track of wins and losses and recruited new gamblers, Brown said. Valila, who allegedly booked $200,000 in bets a year, had four people working under him, law enforcement officials said. Prosecutors would not say if they were Mets employees or if Valila handled wagers at the Flushing stadium. The Mets could not be reached for comment.Valila was arraigned in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens before Justice Richard Buchter and released without bail. Reached by phone this week, he did not comment on the charges. "Let me call my lawyer up and I'll call you back," Valila said. He never returned the call. Brown stressed that no high-ranking Mets officials or players were involved in the ring. "I have no reason to believe at this time that any Mets player, any member of the managerial or coaching staff or anybody in the front office is involved," Brown said. The ring handled wagers averaging $250 each at wire rooms at 136-72 72nd Ave. in Kew Gardens Hills and 147-19 Jewel Ave. in Flushing, the DA said. It paid a monthly fee of an unspecified amount to acting Bonanno family head Anthony "Tony Green" Urso for protection, Brown said. Thirty-one people were arrested May 16 and charged with enterprise corruption, promoting gambling, possession of gambling records and conspiracy, Brown said. They face 25 years in prison if convicted. The Queens defendants are:¥ Nicholas Anest, 76, of Elmhurst.¥ Eric Calandra, 40, of Howard Beach.¥ Edward Clandrelli, 63, of Floral Park.¥ Yoke Seng Chow, of Jackson Heights.¥ Ben Delucia, 42, of Ozone Park¥ John Fogarile, 64, of Richmond Hill¥ William Hartnett, 41, of Bayside.¥ Cheong Hoong, 46, of Flushing.¥ Chin Hwa Lim, 36, of Flushing.¥ Michael Paulino, 48, of Bayside. ¥ Marc Rovner, 42, of East Rockaway.¥ Timothy Smith, 34, of Floral Park.¥ Michael Weiss, 59, of Kew Gardens. Reach Matt Monks at news@times
©2005 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.