Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Is The Wife of a Former Police Officer with Mob Ties Running a Sex Club Out of a Bookstore?

From the outside, you'd think it was just another adult bookstore on a dead-end street. But a Melrose Park business is hiding a dirty little secret.

Our undercover camera revealed people showing up here -- for something other than books.

"It's shady,” a neighbor said. “Yeah, totally shady… Outrageous! Disgusting!”

The video, er, what we can show you of it makes it clear this place is operating more like a sex club than a book club. And charging admission.

An employee told our producer that multiple rooms are devoted to group sex acts.

Our producer said he observed one woman with a line of men in front of her.

Outraged neighbors are wondering why the place isn't shut down. "What are they thinking? It should be shut down, it's sick," one neighbor said. “I don't like the idea of having it around."

We wanted to ask Mayor Ronald Sirpico how it's able to stay open and show him our video.

We went to the village hall for our interview, and a staff member told us he wouldn't be able to make it. Instead they handed us a one-page statement.

The statement reads, in part, "Our police have followed up on numerous complaints and even used undercover tactics ... In an attempt to close the 15th Avenue bookstore. … Those efforts have proved fruitless thus far."

The mayor did tell FOX Chicago News on the phone that officers have gone in a dozen times to investigate and didn't find anything unusual.

FOX Chicago News went in one time and you can know what we found.

Attorney Joe Lopez represents Jeanette Urbinati, the owner of the bookstore.

“It is legal,” Lopez told FOX Chicago News.

Jeanette Urbinati is the wife of Robert "Bobby" Urbinati, a former Franklin Park police officer who did federal time for the operation of an illegal gambling business tied to the mob.

The feds said he was operating as the “cash man" between mob bosses Anthony Centracchio and James Marcello.

Lopez claimed the bookstore is doing nothing wrong. He also said there are signs posted all over warning customers not to have sex. "I think it's standard for you to remind people of that in adult entertainment places, " he said.

When was the last time you heard of an adult entertainment place with a shower for the customers?

Online chat rooms describe the activity from people who've been there: men looking for women or other men to go to the 15th Avenue bookstore to have sex.

On Craig’s List, you can find personals from people arranging to meet for all kinds of scenarios with random partners at the bookstore.

FOX Chicago News consulted with attorney Steven Greenberg.

"If Melrose Park is not taking any action, they obviously want it there," he said.

Greenberg said he was surprised when FOX revealed to him that inside the bookstore our producer was asked if he wanted to buy any alcohol.

“A business that doesn't have a liquor license shouldn't be serving liquor. That's the easiest way to shut it down,” Greenberg said. “Basically you padlock the door, pending a further hearing."

FOX Chicago News has learned the sheriff's department went inside and handed over possible violations for Melrose Park police to investigate. But the business hasn't been slapped with any violations.

FOX Chicago News called Melrose Park police but they wouldn't return our calls.

Whatever's going on inside, you can see how it looks to families from the outside, across the street from a go-kart center.

“Based on the sheriff’s investigation and your investigation, I think they need to look into it further,” Greenberg said.

He added: “It's been done in New York; they did it in Times Square. Chicago’s done it. Mayor Daley’s been known to fight these businesses. Any mayor can control it. It's like a fiefdom. Mayors are kings of their community; they can do what they want in their community."

Thanks to Anna Davlantes

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