Friday, October 19, 2018

Mobsters And Music

Veteran organized crime reporter George Anastasia will be telling some vintage mob stories while the Rowan Jazz Band plays music that mobsters love.

It's the first-ever "Jazz and Organized Crime" concert being presented at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 1st, at the Pfleeger Concert Hall at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J.

Anastasia covered the mob for The Philadelphia Inquirer for 35 years, he's also the author of ten books, a journalism professor at Rowan, a staff writer for BigTrial.net, and lately, a talking head on the History Channel.

The Rowan Band will be lead by director Denis DiBlasio. Tickets are $5 and $10 and can be purchased online at rowan.tix.com. The event is sponsored by Rowan's College of Performing Arts, College of Communications and Creative Arts, and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Sad Story Of Sonny D, The Mob, And Some Missing $Millions

By Ralph Cipriano and George Anastasia
for BigTrial.net

As president and CEO of the gigantic Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, Sonny DiCrecchio, AKA "Sonny D," was always doing good deeds for those in need. Like sending a boy stricken with cancer to the Super Bowl. Or taking 135 homeless kids from a shelter out on a shopping spree to buy Christmas presents.

"A Person Never Stands So Tall As When They Kneel To Help A Child -- Sonny D." That's the quote that volunteers wore on the backs of their matching purple jerseys when they chaperoned the annual "Sonny D's Holliday Shopping Party," sponsored by Sonny and his wife, Michelle.

"It's beautiful what Sonny and Michelle do for the children,"said Karen Patton-Faucett, assistant director of Stenton Family Manor, a shelter for families, during a 2016 tribute video to Sonny D posted on youtube.com. Over the years, the scores of volunteers who flocked to Sonny D's annual shopping party to help homeless kids pick out presents and wrap them included then-Eagles Quarterback Donovan McNabb.

But they may have to cancel the party this year. A woman who answered the phone at the produce market said that Sonny D "resigned" suddenly on Aug. 15th, and left without leaving much forwarding information. Meanwhile, a forensic accountant is digging through the market's financial records, searching for missing money that's said to be between $3 million and $5 million. The FBI is on the case; agents interviewed Sonny D voluntarily for three days, without benefit of a lawyer. As a result, multiple sources say, Sonny's in big trouble. Instead of a do-gooder, the feds see DiCrecchio as a con artist who was doing business with shady characters and financing his good deeds with stolen money.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Did Brett Kavanaugh Grope Christine Ford?

By Mark Pendergrast
for BigTrial.net
As we all know now, psychology professor Christine Blasey Ford has come forward to accuse Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her in 1982 when she was 15 and he was a 17-year-old student at Georgetown Prep.  

During a party, he allegedly lured her to an upstairs room and pinned her down on a bed, clumsily trying to pull off her clothes and bathing suit. When she tried to scream, he put his hand over her mouth. Only when his friend Mark Judge fell atop both of them in his own lustful efforts did she manage to escape and run out. The two boys were “stumbling drunk,” as she may have been as well.
This sounds plausible enough, doesn’t it?  Teenage boys sometimes get drunk at parties and attempt to seduce girls. But the fact that these abuse memories arose in therapy 30 years later should make us more skeptical.  Could this be a case of false memories due to the now-debunked theory of repressed memory?  


Saturday, September 15, 2018

Philly's Looming DROP Apocalypse

By Ralph Cipriano

He was the only son of the Big Bambino, but even that couldn't save him from the political firestorm over DROP.

Seven years ago, Frank "Franny" Rizzo Jr. was one of a half-dozen incumbent City Council members who -- under the city's extravagantly generous Deferred Retirement Option Plan, or DROP -- were eligible to "retire" for a day at the end of their terms, collect six-figure cash bonuses, and then, upon winning reelection (and making a quick trip to the bank), go right back to work the next day.

This being Philadelphia, it was all completely legal.

The rest of the story in Philadelphia magazine can be read here.


Friday, August 24, 2018

Should AG's Catholic Grand Jury Report Run On The History Channel?

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

Wading through the state attorney general's thick grand jury report on the Catholic Church is like wandering through a graveyard.

Of the 250 or so accused predator priests whose alleged perverted exploits are chronicled in 1,356 pages, I counted at least 117 confirmed dead bodies. Another 13 of these ancient men of the cloth who were born before 1940 had the dates of their deaths listed in the report as "unknown."

Some of these codgers were born back in the 1920s; the birthday of the most ancient alleged pervert was way back in 1896, seven years before the Wright Brothers flew the first airplane.

The most ancient predator priest whose death could be confirmed was born in 1869, four years after the Civil War ended. Another alleged predator priest laid out in the report had been dead since 1950, before Eisenhower was president. The crimes these priests allegedly committed against children in six dioceses around the state were from the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. One alleged victim, identified as Bob from Reading, was 83.

Was this really news? Or something that should have run on the History Channel?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Easy Money In The Sandusky Case; Penn State Not Minding The Store

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

On Oct. 1, 2014, Brett Swisher-Houtz, "Victim No. 4" in the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case was called to testify as a witness in a civil case.

In Philadelphia Common Pleas Court, Penn State University was being sued by its own insurance carrier. The Pennsylvania Manufacturer's Association had taken issue with the large multimillion payouts the university was awarding to 36 young men like Victim No. 4, payments to date that have totaled $118 million.

Steven J. Engelmyer, the lawyer representing Penn State's insurance carrier, had a simple question for Swisher-Houtz, who just a year earlier, on Sept. 12, 2013, had collected a confidential settlement from Penn State of $7.25 million.

“Has anybody from Penn State ever spoken to you?" the lawyer wanted to know.

“Not that I’m aware of,” the witness replied.


Saturday, August 11, 2018

What Conflict, Judge Says

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

After a lengthy examination of his own conscience, State Superior Court Judge Victor P. Stabile has concluded that he doesn't have a conflict of interest with former Penn State President Graham Spanier.

And so yesterday, the judge in a one-sentence order denied a petition by Spanier's lawyers for recusal.

In June, Judge Stabile was the author of a 2-1 Superior Court decision that upheld Spanier's conviction last year on one count of child endangerment in connection with the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal.

Spanier's lawyers had filed the motion for recusal, saying that years before he was a judge, Stabile had testified in a civil case filed against Spanier and Penn State over the fate of the Dickinson School of Law. At the time, Stabile was a graduate of DSL and a member of its alumni association who was  opposed to Spanier and Penn State's plan in 2003 to relocate the law school from Carlisle to State College.

In his order issued yesterday, Stabile stated that Spanier's application for the judge's recusal and request for a re-argument on Spanier's appeal before a new panel of state Superior Court judges or the entire court was "DENIED."

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Slime-Fest At The D-Board

By Ralph Cipriano
for BigTrial.net

To make his closing argument today on behalf of Frank Fina in an ethics case, lawyer Joseph McGettigan sunk to the occasion by applying a fresh coast of slime to many of his client's perceived enemies.

At the end of a three-day hearing before the state Supreme Court's disciplinary board, McGettigan started out by attacking the  investigation of Fina as "dishonorable and shameful."

The disciplinary board, McGettigan said, had gone out of its way to "smear a man and mischaracterize his honorable conduct."

McGettigan was just warming up. By the time he sat down, he had implied that the two women who filed the original ethics complaint against Fina were Penn State "truthers" possibly acting in consort with lawyers for any or all of five criminals that crime-buster Fina had previously put away. McGettigan also attacked the disciplinary board's counsel for supposedly siding with those "five convicted criminals" in a campaign to "defame, denigrate and criticize a hard-working public servant."

 

Big Trial | Philadelphia Trial Blog Copyright © 2016 BigTrial.net

Privacy Policy: BigTrial.net does not distribute, share or sell email addresses, or any other personal information received from this website.