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Crime and Corruption: The Albano Years – Anthony Ardolino

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WGGB) — Ten years ago was a bad time for the city of Springfield and disgraced Mayor Michael J. Albano.  Not only was the city in tough financial shape as a result of sloppy management and corruption, but some of the people in key leadership positions, many of them appointed by Albano, were the focus of a full blown federal probe.

It was an investigation that the FBI began in 2000. A task force looking into organized crime turned its focus to the public sector. They were looking for evidence of payoffs, influence peddling and racketeering by current and former public officials in Springfield.

It’s one that reached to the highest level at Springfield City Hall.

Barely out of college, Anthony Ardolino was chief of staff to Springfield Mayor Michael Albano from 1996 to 2001.

In November 2005, the FBI investigation accused him of failing to pay a quarter of a million dollars in taxes.

The government alleged that Anthony Ardolino and his brother, Chester, a former Springfield police officer, had a 20 percent stake in two Springfield bars, The Civic Pub and The Pour house, but their names were kept off the books because they were on the city payroll.

The Ardolinos and the bar’s owner, Matt Campagnari, were charged with paying themselves and the bar employees under the table.

The government said they hid about $725,000 in income and wages from the Internal Revenue Service between 1999 and 2002.

The Ardolino’s were also accused of fixing $14,000 in parking tickets.

In March 2007, Anthony Ardolino plead guilty to one count of conspiracy and four counts of tax fraud related to his bar business. He was sentenced to a year in federal prison.

His brother, Chester, also received a one year sentence, while Campagnari got 18 months.

When reached for comment, Ardolino was forthcoming, but emphatic, that his plea deal had nothing to do with his time in public office and was merely a matter of how he handled the payment of taxes  for his bar and its employees.

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