Joe Bruno on the Mob – Seattle Godfather Pleads Not Guilty

 

There’s a lot of money in strip clubs, but,with due respect to the Sopranos’ Ba DaBing, there’s a lot more money if you run prostitutes from strip clubs.

http://www.amazon.com/Mobsters-Gangs-Crooks-Creeps-ebook/dp/B006H99D1U/ref=zg_bs_11010_5

The so-called Godfather of Seattle and strip club impresario Frank Colacurcio Sr. was recently indicted by the Feds along with his son Frank Jr., and longtime pal John Gilbert Conte. The charges consist of racketeering, using interstate commerce to facilitate prostitution, money laundering and mail fraud. All three men pleased not guilty, and did three other men charged in the case.

At the center of the case are several strip clubs scattered throughout the state of Washington, including strip clubs — Rick’s in Seattle, Sugar’s in Shoreline, Honey’s in Everett and Fox’s in Tacoma. The Fed are charging that these clubs were used as fronts for prostitution that allegedly garnered the men $25 million in the past four years.

As usual with these sort of cases, of course, all the men charged are innocent until proven guilty. But this looks like a tough one for Seattle’s Godfather to beat. The U.S. Attorney for Western Washington Jeffrey Sullivan said federal prosecutors have interviewed more than 200 witnesses, and reviewed hours of recorded phone calls, surveillance video and intercepts from listening devices placed in several Colacurcio businesses. Yet, Conte’s attorney, Richard A. Hansen, feels strongly that the government is hissing in the wind.

“I think the case is a stretch,” Hansen said.

Be that as it may, but every time I turn around, the FBI is conducting another case involving Italian/ Americans. Just last January, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder proudly announced the arrests of 127 men in the New York/New Jersey area, as well as in Providence, Rhode Island, and Boston, Mass. Every man arrested was said to have ties to the Italian Mafia. Now we have the FBI concentrating it’s efforts to squash the Mafia in other parts of the country, including the state of Washington. All of this is commendable for sure.

But I wish that Holder and his crew would be just as diligent is securing our boarders from illegal immigrants, some of whom are murderous criminals, who are flooding our country with drugs, and flooding their own country will the blood of their enemies; real and imagined.

Obviously, Italians/Americans are not the only criminals in America. Call me picky, but I wish the government (Holder?) would spread out their nets a little further, so that they may inflict the same damage on the organized crime groups of other nationalities. It wouldn’t hurt.

Oh, I forgot. The Italian Mafia makes the biggest headlines.

How silly of me.
The article below appeared on the website:

http://www.seattlepi.com/

Seattle Godfather Pleads Not Guilty

July 26, 2009

A month after a federal indictment was issued against them, Northwest strip club mogul Frank Colacurcio Sr. and five others involved in his businesses appeared in court Friday to answer charges of racketeering, money laundering and facilitation of prostitution.

Facing U.S. Magistrate Judge James P. Donohue, Colacurcio, his son, Frank Colacurcio Jr., and longtime associate John Gilbert Conte. They pleaded not guilty to the charges against them, as did three other accused.

In an grand jury indictment unsealed june 30, federal authorities accuse the Colacurcios and their associates of racketeering, using interstate commerce to facilitate prostitution, money laundering and mail fraud. At issue are allegations that the strip clubs — Rick’s in Seattle, Sugar’s in Shoreline, Honey’s in Everett and Fox’s in Tacoma — were used as fronts for prostitution that allegedly garnered the men $25 million in the past four years.

The indictment follows a years-long investigation that culminated in June 2008 with raids by Seattle police and federal agents on the clubs and Talents West, a Colacurcio-owned agency that hires dancers for the clubs. Speaking following the indictment, U.S. Attorney for Western Washington Jeffrey Sullivan said federal prosecutors have interviewed more than 200 witnesses, and reviewed hours of recorded phone calls, surveillance video and intercepts from listening devices placed in several Colacurcio businesses.

Key to the prosecutors’ case, according to court documents, is the payment scheme in which strippers paid $75 to $130 in daily “rent” to the Colacurcio businesses. Such an arrangement is common in Washington strip clubs, which are not allowed to sell liquor to generate profit.

“These men made millions of dollars exploiting young women,” Sullivan said at the time. “These girls were not paid to dance, they paid to dance.”

When the illegal activity became apparently, Sullivan contended, little was done to discipline dancers.

In court documents, the Colacurcios are also accused of avoided city of Seattle taxes by undercounting the number of patrons at Rick’s. Each defendant faces nine counts of mail fraud on the allegation that they knowingly mailed false tax documents to the city.

While attorneys for the Colacurcios and Conte declined to comment in detail, Conte’s attorney, Richard A. Hansen, was dismissive of the government’s allegations.

“I think the case is a stretch,” Hansen said.

In court, attorneys for the accused argued against new restrictions on their involvement with the clubs’ operations. The defense attorneys argued that the men should be allowed to continue to manage the enterprises, in part, they asserted, because the clubs have remained in operation since the 2008 raids without further allegations coming to light.

The defense was largely rebuffed by Donohue, who ordered that most of the defendants transfer management of the businesses to others within a month.

Authorities have said the investigation was not directly related to the Strippergate corruption scandal, in which the Colacurcios were accused of making illegal campaign contributions to Seattle City Council members in order to secure a change in zoning laws. Father and son Colacurcio ultimately pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges in the case, which ended the political careers of two City Council candidates in 2003.

Also indicted in U.S. District Court in Seattle were Frank Colacurcio Sr.’s nephew Leroy Richard Christiansen, longtime associates Conte and David Carl Ebert, and Fox’s manager Steven Michael Fueston. Several associated businesses are also named in the criminal indictment, which could allow federal authorities to seize related assets. The other men also entered not guilty pleas Friday.

The accused face up to 20 years in federal prison if convicted on the 15 counts against each of them. They are scheduled to be arraigned July 24 and remain free pending trial.

http://www.josephbrunowriter.com/index.html

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