I never eat home.
That explains my high cholesterol and Casual Male XL frequent shopper card.
I once thought about taking the kitchens out of my homes and using that space as additional living area.
Jeff “My Daddy is Auggie” Piazza was a partner in the now defunct Kingston, PA restaurant, Gelpiaz. I stopped going to the restaurant after waiting nearly two hours for dinner one night, and after complaining to Jeff, was treated rudely. So it came as no surprise to me when the place suddenly went dark.
I wasn’t surprised. An owner with a cocky attitude who deals with the public is destined for failure.
After the place folded, it came out that Gelpiaz defaulted on a $125k loan that came from Luzerne County. If I remebmer correctly, it was never paid back and the bank that held the note eventually gave the money to the county and pursued collecting it from Jeff and his business partner (who happened to be a nice guy who got in business with a creep).
After failing in the restaurant biz, Jeff called on his daddy, “Big Auggie,” to hook him up with a job. As the former superintendant at the Wyoming Valley West School District, Auggie Piazza had connections. Connections that allowed him to weave his tentacles into several government agencies ensuring that his paycheck always came from a public entity rather than private enterprise like the rest of us.
“Big Auggie” came through and got Jeff a job at the Wilkes-Barre Vocational Technical School where he worked for the past nine years before resigning abruptly in November (now we know why!). It was then when right here in this blog post, I predicted what happened today.
Jeff got caught with his hands in the cookie jar.
Another politically connected gangster goes down in Luzerne County.
Jeff is charged with accepting thousands of dollars in “hidden kickbacks” from a school contractor. “According to federal prosecutors: Between June 2006 and February 2009, Piazza participated in a scheme to defraud the career and technical center by recommending the school use the kickback-paying vendor as a supplier of technology-related equipment.” [Citizens Voice]
“Piazza and the vendor, which is not named in court documents filed Friday, conspired to create false records maintained by the vendor, prosecutors said. Some of the records were made by a third party, at Piazza’s direction, to mask the kickbacks and “make it appear” as if the vendor paid the third party for training consulting and technical services.” [Citizens Voice]
He’s also charged for filing “false and fraudlent” federal income tax returns for 2007, 2008 and 2009.
He’s could face up to 30-years in prison and a $1 million file. Wouldn’t that be nice! Unfortunately, because he entered a plea of guilty, he’s likely not to even spend a year in the lock-up. That means he’ll be back with his next scheme or slinging hash at Dennys.
The “technology vendor” we’ve been hearing about in several of these plea deals hasn’t been officially named, but we can certainly speculate who it is and there is a pretty good connection here with Piazza.
Anthony Trombetta is the owner of Intellacom. Intellacom is a computer company, who’s website has suddenly been taken down. Intellacom provided services to Wyoming Valley West (where “Big Auggie” was the super), the Pittston Area School District (where “Big Auggie” was on the school board), and Luzerne County Community College (where “Big Auggie” was a member of the Board of Trustees). Trombetta also owned the failed restaurant, Portofino, where he hired Jeff for a short stint as a cook and was the developer in the community where Jeff bought his townhome.
Say it ain’t so Helen!
Trombetta has not been charged with anything and we have to presume innocence until proven guilty, but it’s safe to say the spotlight on Tony is getting a bit brighter following Jeff’s guilty plea.
As we sit back and wait for the next arrest I can’t help but wonder why these 21 individuals thought they were invincible. You’ve got people getting nabbed and looking at prison terms for accepting carpeting, cash, even a custom made suit. Are they really that stupid?
Unfortunately the answer is yes.