NY Times: Joe Isgro Charged In Gambino Betting Ring
August 1, 2014 at 6:03 AM (PT)
Longtime independent record promoter JOE ISGRO was arraigned in NEW YORK, "on state charges that he helped run a sports book ring for the GAMBINO family," reports THE NEW YORK TIMES. ISGRO, "is a decorated Marine who became one of the nation’s most powerful record promoters in the 1980s. In the 1990s, he was cleared of payola charges in federal court. He went on to produce the film 'HOFFA,' which received an Oscar nomination. In 2000, he pleaded guilty to running a loan-sharking business in BEVERLY HILLS."
ISGRO was released on $250,000 bond. AARON M. RUBIN, his lawyer, told THE TIMES that ISGRO “strenuously denies the charges.”
THE TIMES writes, "an indictment unsealed last week characterized Mr. ISGRO as a GAMBINO soldier who conspired with JOSEPH GIORDANO, a GAMBINO capo and bookmaker, to set up an operation that used offshore wire rooms in COSTA RICA, under the names ELITE and CRISTAL, and took bets from people in the U.S."
The paper notes, "at the peak of his power in the 1980s, he was a member of a group of independent record-promotion specialists known as the 'Network.' He owned a company that grossed more than $10 million a year and counted labels like COLUMBIA, WARNER BROS. and RCA as clients. Most major labels dropped independent promoters in the late 1980s, as news articles about the resurgence of payola, or bribing radio stations to spin records, led to a federal investigation. In 1987, Mr. ISGRO and two others were indicted on charges they furnished cash and cocaine to program directors in return for airplay. A judge threw out the charges halfway through a trial in SEPTEMBER 1990 because prosecutors had violated evidentiary rules; the dismissal came only after executives at four stations had testified Mr. ISGRO or his associate had bribed them."