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Probe includes former top aide Republican, The (Springfield, MA) - January 13, 2004 Author/Byline: JACK

Probe includes former top aide

Republican, The (Springfield, MA) - January 13, 2004

Author/Byline: JACK FLYNN, STAFF, The Republican (Springfield, MA)aide Republican, The (Springfield, MA) - January 13, 2004 Edition: SPRINGFIELD Section: News Page: A01 SPRINGFIELD

Edition: SPRINGFIELDJACK FLYNN, STAFF, The Republican (Springfield, MA) Section: News Page: A01 SPRINGFIELD jflynn@repub.com Anthony

Section: NewsSTAFF, The Republican (Springfield, MA) Edition: SPRINGFIELD Page: A01 SPRINGFIELD jflynn@repub.com Anthony M. Ardolino,

Page: A01(Springfield, MA) Edition: SPRINGFIELD Section: News SPRINGFIELD jflynn@repub.com Anthony M. Ardolino, the

SPRINGFIELD

jflynn@repub.com

Anthony M. Ardolino, the ex-chief of staff to former Mayor Michael J. Albano, said it was his position, not his behavior, that invited scrutiny.

SPRINGFIELD - Anthony M. Ardolino, ex-chief of staff for former Mayor Michael J. Albano, has been the subject of a grand jury probe into municipal corruption dating back at least two years, court records show.

Ardolino, 34, a business consultant, was first linked publicly to the probe when federal agents searched his home in April, 20 months after he resigned as Albano's chief of staff. No charges were filed after the raid, and Ardolino said agents seized records related to his private business dealings.

Ardolino's name surfaced again in U.S. District Court recently when prosecutors released two previously secret memos referring to the long-running corruption probe as "the grand jury proceeding of Anthony Ardolino et al."

Neither of the memos contained allegations against Ardolino, and no evidence has been made public linking him to any crime.

Ardolino yesterday acknowledged he has been a focus of the corruption probe since 2000, a year before he resigned as Albano's top aide. Ardolino said it was his high-profile job at City Hall, not any wrongdoing, that attracted federal scrutiny.

"I don't feel singled out," said Ardolino, who runs AMA Communications, a company that helps clients get contracts with the city and others. "After 31/2 years, I'm proud there's been no allegation of wrongdoing. And I can tell you, it's not from a lack of looking."

Albano, who left office last week, could not be reached for comment last night.

Eight people, including former Police Commission Chairman Gerald A. Phillips and James W. Asselin, former director of a city job training program, have been indicted in the past year. A prosecutor said he expects to bring more charges against Phillips within a week.

The memos bearing Ardolino's name emerged during legal wrangling between prosecutors and a defense lawyer for Jamie Dwyer, one of four current or former employees at the city-managed Massachusetts Career Development Institute indicted last year. Dwyer's lawyer, John S. Ferrara of Springfield, has argued that her indictment was payback for refusing to testify before the grand jury.

In late August, Dwyer won a ruling from U.S. Magistrate Judge Kenneth P. Neiman that required prosecutors to release hundreds of pages of sealed records - including FBI reports, grand jury testimony and internal memos - detailing how Dwyer, a $31,000-a-year administrative aide, became a suspect in the probe.

The other defendants include Phillips, the $110,000-a-year executive director at the center; Giuseppe Polimeni, a retired administrator; and Luisa Cardaropoli, a former bakery employee. All have pleaded innocent to charges in U.S. District Court in Springfield.

Prosecutors said Phillips and Polimeni were engaged in no-show job scheme that benefited Cardaropoli and Polimeni's son-in-law, Todd Ilingsworth, who received a 30-month prison sentence in October for his role in a gambling ring prosecutors said was controlled by the Genovese crime family.

Phillips was also charged with intimidating a female witness against him, one of two women employees that prosecutors said had sexual encounters with Phillips. No sex-related charges have been filed, and Phillips has denied any wrongdoing.

Dwyer was indicted in March, a year after she refused to answer questions before a grand jury. In a motion filed last summer, Ferrara said his client was prosecuted even though she did nothing wrong and knew of no wrongdoing.

In response, Assistant U.S. Attorney William M. Welch II, submitted an FBI memo quoting an informant who stated that Dwyer was aware of such activity at the center.

Caption: (COLOR) Anthony M. Ardolinoquoting an informant who stated that Dwyer was aware of such activity at the center. Index

Record: MERLIN_2580772 Copyright: Copyright, 2004, The Republican Company, Springfield, MA. All Rights Reserved. Used by
Record: MERLIN_2580772 Copyright: Copyright, 2004, The Republican Company, Springfield, MA. All Rights Reserved. Used by

Record: MERLIN_2580772

Copyright: Copyright, 2004, The Republican Company, Springfield, MA. All Rights Reserved. Used by NewsBank with Permission.