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Agents search bars, homes

Republican, The (Springfield, MA) - April 24, 2003

Author/Byline: STEPHANIE BARRY; FLYNN, STAFF, The Republican (Springfield, MA)


Edition: ALL
Section: News
Page: A01
Targeted in yesterday's raids were the homes of 2 brothers, Springfield Police Officer Chester J. Ardolino and former city official Anthony
M. Ardolino, as well as bar owner Matthew B. Campagnari.
SPRINGFIELD - Federal agents yesterday searched two downtown bars, a warehouse and the homes of three city men - including Mayor
Michael J. Albano's former chief of staff - looking for evidence of tax evasion and other financial fraud.
The raids - carried out by 50 agents from the Internal Revenue Service, the FBI and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development's Inspector General's unit - mark the first time that Anthony M. Ardolino, Albano's top aide for six years, was publicly linked
to the long-running corruption investigation.
The searches came one month after one of Albano's closest friends, Gerald A. Phillips, was indicted on corruption charges. Albano
triggered a furor Tuesday by refusing to suspend Phillips, the city's former Police Commission chairman, from his $111,000-a-year job at
a city job training agency and instead transferred him to a satellite office in Holyoke.
Agents arrived at Ardolino's State Street condominium just after 8 a.m. Around the same time his older brother, Springfield police Officer
Chester J. Ardolino, was summoned from a downtown squad car to meet two federal investigators waiting at the Pearl Street police
headquarters with a search warrant for his home.
Still more agents descended upon a warehouse and the Crescent Hill condominium owned by the brothers' longtime friend, Matthew B.
Campagnari, owner of two bars - Tilly's on Main Street and the Pour House on Worthington Street - which were also searched yesterday
morning. None of the three men has been charged in the probe.
Campagnari and Chester Ardolino, former president of the Springfield patrolmen's union, jointly own the Pour House and recently sold
their ownership shares in another Worthington Street bar, the Latin Quarters. Campagnari also owned the Civic Pub on Main Street,
which federal prosecutors say he sold to Giuseppe "Little Joe" Manzi, who was later indicted on racketeering charges.
State police wiretaps picked up conversations about the sale of the Civic Pub, which provided some of the earliest leads in the three-year
organized crime and public corruption probe. So far, 15 people have been indicted in a racketeering probe targeting a gambling and
loansharking ring allegedly run by the "Springfield Crew" of the Genovese crime family. Eight people have been indicted on public
corruption charges.
After agents left his home late yesterday morning, Chester Ardolino answered his door in his police uniform and declined comment to a
reporter.
Springfield Police Chief Paula C. Meara said she was "saddened" by the day's events but would await federal investigators' findings
before considering any disciplinary action.
Campagnari also declined to comment on the raids as he emerged from the Pour House shortly after 10:30 a.m. yesterday, but Anthony
Ardolino said agents took away credit card receipts and bank records from his home. Acknowledging that he first came under FBI scrutiny
more than three years ago, the former city staffer said he believes the tax investigation represents the twilight of the lengthy corruption
probe.
"They took information I would have gladly handed over, had they asked," he said. "They also said 'This is less about you than it is about
other people,' and would I consider talking to them, or listening to them. I informed them that I would not consider it."
Anthony Ardolino, who was appointed Albano's chief of staff when he was 25, said the agents did not elaborate and he declined to
speculate about other targets.
Albano refused to comment yesterday.
Anthony Ardolino denied ownership in any of his brother's or Campagnari's businesses, but said he does own a company called AMA
Consulting that he established in 2001 after leaving the mayor's office.
Ardolino said he helps public and private clients try to secure city contracts and other business opportunities. He declined to identify
specific clients. Ardolino also admitted he is frequently retained by The Livingstone, another consulting firm owned by downtown lawyer

and former city councilor Raipher D. Pellegrino, but denied an ownership interest in that business.
While still at City Hall, Anthony Ardolino was a volatile figure who tangled with a city police officer who arrested his cousin, as well as with
numerous city employees. He was acquitted of a drunken driving charge one month before resigning.
John Leahy, special agent in charge of the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS in Springfield, yesterday confirmed that investigators
from three agencies were executing search warrants but declined to discuss their scope or connection to the political corruption probe.
Prosecutors released transcripts in November of a telephone call in which Anthony Ardolino told an imprisoned former city employee,
Mark A. Pandolfi, he was a "hero" for stonewalling a grand jury.
Ardolino said he was only trying to boost the spirits of an old friend during the call, which was made while he was still serving as Albano's
chief of staff. Pandolfi was jailed for refusing to testify.
Besides his downtown property holdings, Campagnari was a developer of an upscale subdivision in the Sixteen Acres neighborhood that
won - and then lost - $60,000 in city funds to pave the private road. The City Council approved the funding, only to rescind it after
neighborhood groups complained it was the result of Campagnari's ties to the Ardolino brothers.
Stephanie Barry can be reached at sbarry@repub.com
Jack Flynn can be reached at jflynn@repub.com.
Caption: (COLOR PHOTO 1, 2, 3) FEDERAL PROBE WIDENS Above, federal agents yesterday remove an item from the State Street
condominium of Anthony M. Ardolino yesterday. Top right, agents leave the Springfield home of Springfield Police Officer Chester J.
Ardolino. At right, an IRS agent stands guard at Tilly's on Springfield's Main Street during a raid. (COLOR PHOTO 4) Anthony M. Ardolino
(COLOR PHOTO 5) Chester J. Ardolino
Index terms: FEDERAL; INVESTIGATION
Record: MERLIN_2254523
Copyright: Copyright, 2003, The Republican Company, Springfield, MA. All Rights Reserved. Used by NewsBank with Permission.