Archive

ShareThis Page
Gambling suspects headed to court | TribLIVE.com
News

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.


TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.