Gambling suspects headed to court
A Washington County restaurateur and others accused of running a gambling ring in Allegheny and Washington counties face their first court appearances this week.
Michael “Mickey” Flynn Jr., owner of the Union Grill in downtown Washington, and Charles Martin and Daniel Piccolo waived their rights to a preliminary hearing on Tuesday, while James Celedonia waived his right to a hearing yesterday before District Justice Jay Weller of Canonsburg.
Celedonia, 50, of Hallowtree Drive, Upper St. Clair, also has had his harness-racing license suspended by the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission, the commission’s executive secretary, Anton J. Leppler, said Wednesday.
Celedonia owns horses that have raced at The Meadows in North Strabane. A Washington County restaurateur and others accused of running a gambling ring in Allegheny and Washington counties face their first court appearances this week.
Leppler said the license is suspended until the charges are resolved.
Celedonia is charged with one count of pool selling and bookmaking, one count of lotteries and one count of conspiracy. When investigators for the state attorney general’s office raided his home on April 9, they found $12,801 in cash, and investigators recorded him taking bets for the gambling ring, according to grand jury testimony.
Investigators believe the ringleader of the operation is Flynn, 62, of East Beau Street, Washington, who owns the popular restaurant on East Wheeling Street.
Flynn and Martin, 50, also of East Beau Street, Washington, are accused of taking illegal bets for sporting events. Investigators testified before a state grand jury that bettors often settled their debts at the Union Grill and that they have evidence the illegal betting ring operated from April 2001 to April 2003.
The investigators said they have more than 14,463 recorded phone calls, believed to be gamblers placing bets with the two men.
Kevin Harley, spokesman for the attorney general’s office, said yesterday that the arrests shut down a very large gambling ring.
“Just by looking at the volume of calls, this was a significant operation,” he said.
Flynn was charged with one count each of participating in a corrupt organization, pool selling and bookmaking, criminal conspiracy and criminal use of a communication facility. Martin is charged with participating in a corrupt organization, pool selling and bookmaking, lotteries, criminal conspiracy and criminal use of a communication facility.
Piccolo, 75, of Greenridge Drive, Monongahela, is charged with one count each of pool selling and bookmaking, lotteries and criminal conspiracy. According to grand jury testimony, Piccolo is accused of running an illegal lottery scheme with Martin.
The attorney for the three men, Michael Fogalia, couldn’t be reached for comment.
No further court dates for the three men have been scheduled.
Six more people arrested on charges connected with the alleged gambling operation are to have their preliminary hearings tomorrow before Weller.
They are Anthon Cihal, 76, of Mayfair Street, Windgap; William McGonagall, 69, of Bower Hill Road, Peters; John Pankas, 68, of Benton Drive, Canonsburg; Charles Skorvan, 58, of Main Street, Monongahela; William Antonia, 58, of Beallsville; and Edmund Cononge, 43, of West Wylie Avenue, Washington.