Showing posts with label Robert Urbinati. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Robert Urbinati. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Joseph "The Shark" Lopez Responds to Media Reports on 15th Ave Adult Books in Melrose Park

Our most recent "Shark Tale" addresses the allegations brought against an adult bookstore in Melrose Park that has been accused of running a sex party room. Their attorney, Joseph "The Shark" Lopez, picks it up from here.

The press never seems to go away for some of my clients. Recently, FOX Chicago claimed to have went undercover in Robert Urbinati's wife's bookstore. Bobby was a codefendant of Tony Centracchio an alleged outfit boss who died before the feds could send him away for a few decades.

Bobby did his time like a man unlike Frank Calabrese Jr."the balless wonder" and his chicken man Uncle, Nick "The Slayer" Calabrese.

The bookstore is located in an industrial area of Melrose Park. There is a party room in the back which hosts can rent out for parties. Like any other party the guests can enjoy themselves and in this case they were swingers and freaks of all types. The Bookstore does not sell liquor, drugs or provide sex partners. These parties are be invitation only and not open the general public. The patrons pay an admission fee and receive a red band to enter. Once inside they do what people have been doing since "Adam and Eve" or "Eve and Eve" or "Adam and Adam". The party room remains under the control of the host and the owner does not provide anything other than the space to play. There is nothing illegal about this type of party.

The media hit on it because its in Melrose Park and there is an Italian name. Otherwise, its not a story if some other guy, like a Sam Tong, a Herb Gold, a Bob Perez, or a Mike Anderson, were the owners. Its news because of a few vowels. The media could not link it to "The Outfit" because there is not a link. This is America and its citizens have a constitutional right to assemble and party. They are exhibitionists who are protected by the constitution.

The feed back on the story has been positive. Its yesterday's news. The media reported a non-story because the bottom line was that nothing was illegal. I hope the free advertising helps the store in this troubled economy.

Thanks to Joseph "The Shark" Lopez

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

Former Crooked Cop with Ties to the Mob is Accused of Running a Sex Party Room at an Adult Bookstore

A Melrose Park pornography bookstore -- run with the help of a former crooked cop with ties to the mob -- offers a party room in the back where couples and singles have multiple sex partners as part of organized, late-night sessions.

It costs $30 or more per person to get in to the party room at 15th Avenue Adult Books, run for months out of a nondescript building in an industrial area.

Guests can linger at chairs and tables or get up on a stage and partake in the activities, according to people familiar with the business.

Finger foods, such as chicken wings, are provided. They also offer drinks. And despite months of investigation by local and county officials, there's apparently nothing illegal about it.

One of the people behind the business is Robert Urbinati, a former Franklin Park police officer, who runs the business with his wife. Urbinati was sentenced in 2002 to 33 months in prison for taking $500 in bribes each month from the mob to protect a lucrative video poker gambling operation.

Urbinati, 68, also allegedly was an Outfit message man, reportedly passing communications between two high-ranking mobsters, the late Anthony Centracchio and the onetime head of the Chicago Outfit, James "Little Jimmy" Marcello, now in prison after being convicted of racketeering and other crimes in the historic Family Secrets mob case.

Centracchio made the news in 2001 when it was revealed the geriatric mobster was caught on a secret FBI video recording having sex with a younger employee at the abortion clinic he ran.

As for Urbinati, "my client has done his time, and now he's moved on to the second phase of his life," said well-known criminal defense attorney Joseph "The Shark" Lopez, who has represented many alleged mobsters.

Urbinati could not be reached for comment.

Lopez stressed that there was no prostitution at the business, and no illegal drugs, just consenting adults doing their own thing. The party room is used for other activities too, Lopez said, like bachelor parties. "No different than the Sybaris, except more people," Lopez argued, referring to the motel chain where couples go for romantic weekends.

Since last year, the Cook County sheriff's police has sent in undercover officers on several occasions and found nothing illegal happening, a spokesman said.

Melrose Park Mayor Ronald M. Serpico said he'd rather not have the business in his town but there's nothing he can do about it. His own police have investigated it and called in the Cook County sheriff for assistance. The Cook County Department of Public Health investigated and found no issues, Serpico said.

"Is it fun for us? Absolutely not," Serpico said. "Do I want to be having this conversation with you?" the mayor asked. "I'd rather be talking about the Super Bowl."

The pornography bookstore meets village zoning requirements for such businesses, which were set up after Melrose Park was sued in federal court over the issue.

Serpico argued that the vast majority of Melrose Park residents don't even know the business is there or what goes on there, given its location.

"It couldn't be further away from civilization," Serpico said. "Not one resident has called to complain."

The mayor said he did not know who was running the bookstore until recently.

When asked if he had qualms about a onetime associate of organized crime helping operate a business in his town, Serpico said no, adding, "I can't control what somebody has done in the past."

The bookstore "is what it is," Serpico said. "I can't regulate morality."

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Franklin Park Police Officer Linked to Chicago Mob

Friends of ours: James "Little Jimmy" Marcello, Michael Marcello
Friends of mine: Robert Urbinati

A former Franklin Park police officer acted as an important communications link between a high-ranking mob boss in prison and his minions on the outside, a federal prosecutor disclosed in court Tuesday.

The fresh details about former officer Robert Urbinati, 60, came at a court hearing in which he was sentenced to 33 months in prison for his role in a suburban, mob-run video poker empire.

Urbinati admitted in February to taking $500 a month as a Franklin Park officer to protect the video poker machines in local bars. But he also would reach out in the early 1990s to Michael Marcello, the brother of convicted mobster James "Little Jimmy" Marcello, who was in prison. Urbinati would relay Outfit problems to Michael
Marcello, who would visit his brother James in prison and get answers, Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Levine said. Urbinati is related to the Marcellos, but the family relationship wasn't specified in court.

When James Marcello gets out of prison next year, he is expected to lead the Chicago Outfit, law enforcement sources have said.

Urbinati's attorney, Joseph Lopez, disputed the government's contention that Urbinati was an important link in the mob's communication network, calling the accusation "highly speculative" and without a basis in solid evidence.

Prosecutors, though, have pointed to a transcript of a secretly recorded conversation in which Urbinati and another player in the conspiracy, Thomas Tucker, talk about problems they are having with Robert Natale, then the mayor of Stone Park, who wanted a larger bribe payment for his services to the mob. Both Tucker and Natale were
convicted as part of the investigation.

In the recorded transcript, Urbinati tells Tucker that he "was with Mickey [Marcello] last night. I explained everything to him, he's going to talk to Jimmy, but he said, even he said . . . you know that guy [Natale], he was supposed to get something."

Michael Marcello was not charged in the case. And Lopez called James Marcello "a model prisoner."

The sentencing of Urbinati wraps up the current case. The investigation, though, into illegal video gambling in the suburbs continues.

The machines are a cash cow for the Outfit. One machine alone can rake in $100,000 in profits a year, with the mob splitting the take 50-50 with the bar owner. And there are hundreds of such machines in the Chicago area.

U.S. District Judge Robert Gettleman said the crimes Urbinati committed were "very disturbing," especially since his sentencing came when Americans were commemorating the dedication and sacrifice of so many of its men and women in uniform in relation to Sept. 11.

"He was a crooked cop," the judge said of Urbinati, who wore a badge in Franklin Park from 1968 to 1995.

Thanks to Steve Warmbir

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