Colbert I. King: Watch Out for Scores
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Colbert I. King: Watch Out for Scores

OPINION COLUMN
Watch Out for Scores

By Colbert I. King
The Washington Post
Saturday, January 6, 2001; Page A21

The nation's capital is about to be graced with a host of newcomers: Republicans from Texas, giant pandas at the National Zoo and a memorial to World War II.

But nothing may take the town by storm quite so much as the loads of -- how shall I say it? -- naked ladies, who, if all goes as planned, will be strutting their stuff in luxurious downtown surroundings, courtesy of the libertines . . . excuse me, legislators, on the D.C. Council.

Today's reflection is drawn from the council-adopted bill that lifts a six-year ban on liquor licenses for nude dancing clubs. If Mayor Anthony Williams signs that measure into law, as expected, a couple of local entrepreneurs -- about whom more later -- plan to introduce an "adult entertainment nightclub" in the Washington market. It will be called, suggestively, Scores.

Their marketing plan has this to say: "Currently Scores is located in Manhattan, New York. It is the nation's most popular adult nightclub and is featured daily on the Howard Stern Radio Show." Alas, those men of commerce are much too modest.

More, much more, might be said of Scores and the exciting and memorable experiences it offers should a clone find its way to Washington. May I share with you a few of the more notable figures associated with Scores in the Big Apple?

John Sialiano, a k a Goumba Johnny. A year ago, Goumba Johnny began a period of involuntary public service in a federal prison in western Pennsylvania for not reporting thousands of dollars in earnings from managing Manhattan's Scores. He, along with three dozen other Scores workers, had been indicted in a federal probe into money laundering and tax evasion at the Upper East Side strip club.

John "Junior" Gotti. Currently Inmate No. 00632-748 in an upstate New York Federal Correctional Institution, Junior was put there in October 1999 after pleading guilty to racketeering and other crimes. Son of Gambino crime family boss John "Dapper Don" Gotti, Junior copped a plea in exchange for an agreement with federal prosecutors to drop charges that he had extorted money from Manhattan's Scores strip club.

Willie Marshall. Self-described "two-bit leg-breaker" and mob turncoat, Marshall was set free, according to press reports, after agreeing to testify that he personally delivered $100,000 from Scores cash registers into the hands of the aforementioned Junior.

Michael Blutrich and Lyle Pfeffer. Owners of Scores reportedly in secret partnership with the mob, Blutrich and Pfeffer cooperated with federal authorities against Gotti and the Gambino family after pleading guilty to a major fraud in which insurance funds were allegedly laundered through Scores. The two owners are, at the moment, guests of the witness protection program.

Brothers Simon and Victor Dedaj. Reputed Albanian mobsters currently serving maximum jail sentences for committing a double homicide in 1996, exterminating a bouncer and a waiter at Scores.

So many NYC Scores luminaries, so little space, so on to other things. According to the marketing plan, here's what the nation's capital might expect:

Scores' proposed targets? "Sports figures from the Washington Wizards, Washington Redskins, Washington Capitals, and Baltimore Orioles"; men ages "21 to 50" in town for meetings and conventions and, of course, tourists. The base of the club's daily operations, however, will be the D.C. business community and well-heeled local patrons.

The plan drools at the prospect of pulling in students from Georgetown, George Washington, American, Howard, Maryland, George Mason and James Madison universities, and the University of the District of Columbia. (Catholic and Gallaudet were left off the list.)

And what's going to draw the crowds? Free food and "Charismatic dancers," it is written. Strippers and the topless will be hired on the strength of their own following ("customer base") and the number of new "special guests" they can attract to the club. A special guest is defined as a frequent club visitor or patron who spent more than $1,200 during a prior visit.

The plan knocks the local competition: Joanna's on M Street, "known for being expensive with average looking dancers"; Good Guys on Wisconsin Avenue, "known for waitresses harassing customers to buy drinks."

Lest there be any question as to what's expected of the "entertainers" assigned to work Scores' VIP room, the plan makes clear they must greet the special guests and sit with them if asked. Yes.

The document makes no mention of sexual favors for celebrities, bribery of public figures, loan sharking and loads of laundered cash for the mob -- activities associated with some big-time strip clubs, according to law enforcement officials and press reports.

And who are the would-be captains of the District's local strip club industry?

Meet 36-year-old Roland Lee, a self-described practicing business attorney and entrepreneur who will be Scores' D.C. president and general manager, and Emanuel Mpras, an immigration law attorney who will serve as Scores' vice president for marketing -- a skill, the proposal says, that will be helpful in bringing in women "from Europe and around the world."

Some area residents may know entrepreneur Lee as Prince George's County Assistant States Attorney Roland Lee. In a phone interview yesterday, Prince George's State's Attorney Jack Johnson said he was unaware of Lee's association with Scores but that his policy is clear: An assistant state's attorney cannot have outside employment that is inconsistent with his or her office. "If he's involved in any situation that conflicts with his duties, we will take appropriate action," Johnson said.

Reached at a Washington office number Thursday morning, assistant prosecutor Lee would speak only off the record, expressing fear of scaring off "a major investor." But he did offer an exclusive interview in a week or so. There was no sale.

Wanna bet the mob is ready to buy?

What mayor in his right mind would sign such a bill?

(P.S. Yesterday afternoon, Johnson called to say that after discussing the matter with Lee, the assistant state's attorney agreed to resign at the close of business to pursue other work.)

e-mail: kingc@washpost.com

2001 The Washington Post Company


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