Sunday, May 17, 2015

Scores Gentlemen's Club & the Gambino Family

Scores, the famed Gentlemans Club in New York City in the 1990’s, was a prominent feature on the Howard Stern show.  It secretly added millions to Gambino Family coffers.  How did it all start?  It all started with the takeover of National Heritage Insurance Company in Orlando, Florida by three businessmen and a New York Lawyer named Michael Blutrich.

Opening a stripclub seems to be a strange choice of business for a white collar lawyer like Blutrich. After all, he had been a founding partner in Blutrich, Falcone & Miller.

Blutrich committed fraud to help with the takeover of the insurance company.  Blutrich opened a fake bank account and then wrote a four million dollar check for the company that was no good at the time.  Once they gained control over the company they used it to cover the check.  He then was given a $300k loan from the company for Scores.  David L Davies, the new CEO of the insurance company, then put in $700k to become a secret partner in Scores.  Blutrich did not want to open another “Jiggly Joint,” one of those small seedy clubs that used to pepper Manhattan.  He wanted to open a really upscale club, like those that Miami club King Michael Peter’s Pure Platinum and Solid Gold clubs.

Scores would cater to the high end customer with huge TVs, plush lounge areas and the hottest girls.

In 1991, while building Scores, Blutrich was approached by a Gambino Associate named Mikey Hop, aka Michael Sergio.  Mikey Hop told Blutrich that he would have to pay to open a club, or he would be bombed.  Blutrich took it seriously so he started with a $1k weekly cash payoff.  The Gambinos wanted the coat check concession, the right to put in their own bouncers and the right to run the valet parking.  The coat check alone would bring in more than $200k a year for the Gambinos and the then acting boss Baby Gotti.   The coat check was run by Stephan Sergio, the son of Mikey Hop, who had the great nickname “Sigmund the Sea Monster.”  

The first year the club ran in the red, so Davies wanted out.  The Gambinos let Blutrich bring in another guy named Pfeiffer to buy out Davies and run the club.  

Meanwhile, the Gambinos had taken over almost every aspect of the club.  They decided who hauled the garbage and who sold supplies like toilet paper and booze to the club.  They got a cut from the door and they partied for free.

In 1996 Blutrich and Pfeiffer were indicted for looting the insurance company in Orlando, Florida.  The FBI raided Scores and their office in New York in another investigation into the Gambino family.  Blutrich and Pfeiffer decided to cooperate with the FBI and wore wires when meeting with the Gambino Family.  

Scores was grossing more than a million a year despite the payoffs.  The FBI placed hidden cameras in the Scores offices and they wired up everything including their cars.  They would get over 1000 hours of tape during the investigation.  They caught made Gambino soldier Craig DePalma in their net.  Craig was the son of Gambino Capo Greg DePalma and he was bringing Baby Gotti his end from Scores.

The FBI brought the hammer down on Baby Gotti and  39 others with the Gambino family in 1998 based on the evidence gathered by Blutrich and Pfeiffer.

1 comment:

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