Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Division of Alcohol Beverage Control have ordered the liquor licenses of two North Jersey “gentleman’s clubs” to be sold or transferred to a bona fide third party by January 3, 2018, because of alleged noncompliance with a previous Consent Order.
The two clubs, Satin Dolls in Lodi and A.J.’s Gentleman’s Club in Secaucus, have until December 17, 2017 to cease providing live entertainment. The Satin Dolls club served as the fictional “Bada Bing” in the HBO television series “The Sopranos.” If live entertainment is provided after that date, the licenses will be suspended immediately and the owners will be subject to potential disciplinary charges.
The two clubs and their owners have been the subject of investigation and legal proceedings initiated by the Division for more than six years, during which the owners, various members of the Cardinalle family, sought to retain ownership of the licenses and continue to operate the businesses.
The Division has alleged that Anthony Cardinalle, who was criminally disqualified from maintaining involvement with the clubs’ operations, nonetheless continued to run the businesses. The Division also alleges that the owners failed to account for large amounts of cash flowing in and out of the businesses.
Under an order signed by Director David P. Rible on November 20, 2017, the Cardinalles’ involvement with the clubs must end.
“The Cardinalles may have wanted to keep the business in the family, but that’s not how it works. Their continued flouting of Alcoholic Beverage Control laws cannot and will not be tolerated,” said Attorney General Porrino. “Illegal activity was glorified at the ‘Bada Bing’ in the fictional world of Tony Soprano, but it has no place in modern-day New Jersey It’s time to shut it down.”
In 2011, a Consent Order with the companies Route 17 Entertainment Inc. (Satin Dolls) and Sea-Card Enterprises Inc. (A.J’s Gentleman’s Club) mandated that Luceen Cardinalle, the wife of Anthony who was listed as the sole shareholder of both corporations, turn over the licenses to her daughter, Loren Cardinalle. The Cardinalles were ordered to pay $1.25 million in penalties as a compromise in lieu of revocation of both licenses, and Loren Cardinalle was ordered to transfer both licenses to a bona fide third party by December 31, 2015.
“The holding of licenses to sell and serve alcohol is contingent upon the owners’ behaving in a reputable manner,” said Director Rible. “The Cardinalles, quite simply, have not played by the rules despite many opportunities to correct their behavior, and it’s time to get them out of the alcohol business once and for all.”
Anthony Cardinalle pled guilty in 1995 to federal income tax evasion for not reporting cash payments from “gentleman’s clubs” in which he held undisclosed interests. During the Division’s investigation, evidence was uncovered that Anthony Cardinalle was still actively involved with running the clubs.
Anthony Cardinalle was subsequently indicted by the federal government in January 2013 for participating in a conspiracy by the Genovese crime family related to the waste-disposal industry in New Jersey and New York. He pled guilty in December 2013 to racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to commit extortion and was ordered to spend 30 days in jail and pay a fine and restitution.
As the 2015 Consent Order deadline approached, Loren Cardinalle asked the Division for permission to continue to hold the licenses. A series of extensions were granted, with the latest deadline set for September 28, 2017. After further investigation, the Division issued a Notice of Charges for criminal solicitation for prostitution and lewd activity on the licensed premises in May 2017. Those charges remain pending.
The Division continues to allege that Anthony Cardinalle is involved with the operation of the clubs, citing the following as evidence:
* The Lodi Police Department advised the Division that Anthony Cardinalle has been the contact person for issues with the Satin Dolls license.
* When police were called to the club because of a report of an attempted burglary, Anthony Cardinalle was the club representative dealing with the matter.