HUBBARD Marconi Lounge faces citation over gambling
Liquor agents seized gambling materials and cash at the club.
By TIM YOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
HUBBARD -- Marconi Lodge, a local club whose president is the city streets superintendent, has been cited in connection with gambling after a complaint filed against it by a charity.
The club was cited by state liquor agents for permitting gambling and having tip tickets and 50-50 drawings.
Jerome R. Campana, streets department superintendent, is identified by liquor control records as the owner.
Campana says he's the club president; the club is owned by its members.
An owner of property
The Trumbull County Treasurer's Office identified Campana as one of three owners of the property at 802 N. Main Street.
"What's this have to do with city business?" Campana asked Thursday.
He declined to comment further.
Julie Ehrhart, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Public Safety's investigative unit, said the club was permitted to have gambling on the premises because the proceeds were donated to charity.
Ehrhart said proceeds were supposed to go to an athletic booster club called Goal Liners, but liquor agents received a complaint from the charity that it was no longer receiving any money.
Ehrhart said that when agents went to the club, Campana, whom they identified as the owner, had no current receipts from Goal Liners to confirm any donations.
Campana, according to Ehrhart, acknowledged the gambling proceeds have been kept by the club rather than going to the charity.
Seized materials, money
Agents seized tip and raffle tickets, envelopes of money and other gaming materials. They took $543.
"I don't think that it has anything to do with our community," Mayor George Praznik said Thursday. "It's a private club."
The mayor said it's his position that those who violate the law have to pay the penalty. "That's his [Campana's] problem. I'm not sanctioning any gambling in our town," he said.
Praznik said Campana's private activities have not affected his job performance.
Goal Liners is a registered charity with the Charitable Foundations Section of the Ohio Attorney General's Office. It is a booster club for John F. Kennedy High School in Warren. The attorney general lists its contact person as Donald Pompelia of Warren.
Pompelia, who identified himself as an active member of the boosters, declined to comment about the case or how much the boosters got in donations.
In 1996, the Marconi Club was fined $1,000 for Sunday sales and consumption of alcohol involving nonmembers.
A year later, it was fined $200 for gambling, Sunday consumption and illegal possession of unauthorized liquor.