Lombardi’s Pizza obtained a permit back in 2016 to open up a restaurant in Pennsylvania’s Parx Casino last December.
But a recent investigation uncovered alleged ties to the Mafia leading State gaming regulators to revoke the legendary pizzeria’s permit. According to investigators, the Mafia was allegedly attempting to get a toehold in Pennsylvania casinos through Lombardi’s. The famous pizzeria was founded back in 1905 in New York’s Little Italy and claims to be the first pizzeria in America. Investigators claim owner Michael Giammarino has ties to the Philadelphia mafia family and two New York Mafia families.
Giammarino’s stepfather John Brescio is a reputed captain in New York’s Genovese crime family according to law enforcement. He has a criminal history dating back to the 1970s and was once the public face of Lombardi’s. Even though Brescio had disavowed any ownership interest in the pizzeria the relationship was problematic according to Pa. Gaming Control Board. Investigators also identified two intermediaries who introduced Giammarino to officials at Parx as Mafia associates according to a recent report.
Giammarino rejected any knowledge of his stepfather’s ties to the NY Mafia or that of the intermediaries whom he said he barely knew. He said in an interview “Everybody’s going to make the assumption that I’m mobbed up, and it’s not true.” But Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board voted yesterday to reject the recommendation from a hearing examiner who believed that investigators had failed to prove their claims. Giammarino told the board told the board “I just don’t understand how all these people’s misdeeds got basically tattooed on me.”
Giammarino’s lawyer said “The bottom line is that the investigative and prosecutorial arm of the board failed to establish a single fact which might indicate that Michael Giammarino has done anything wrong in connection with his efforts to establish a Lombardi’s at Parx,” and they will appeal the decision. The board was given recommendations from investigators to reject any casino suppliers with even a trace of ties to organized crime invoking a zero-tolerance policy.