Jersey City somewhat shady out-of-state lottery shop

With the ongoing Powerball frenzy, I’ve been thinking about the somewhat shady out-of-state lottery shop that operated briefly here around 25 years ago.

The place was on Newark Ave, just east of Five Corners, in Jersey City. It was run by a son of Charlie Fiola — a good friend of my father’s. The would-be lottery lord — who’d lived for years in Easton, PA — might have been named Charlie, too, but my memory’s not certain on that. His brother (half-brother?) was Anthony Fiola — once a candidate for City Council — whose appliance store was just about across the street.

Basically as soon as the betting joint’s doors began to swing the powers that be wanted to padlock them. Young Fiola for a while was able to fend off legal challenges, but eventually was forced to close.

Charlie Fiola, the father, had an amusing story that he told from time to time in the Tunnel Bar. Years before, he’d suffered the career setback of an arrest as part of a truck hijacking ring. The roundup took in ten people. The nine others pleaded guilty and testified against him. Once the snitches were on the stand, Charlie’s lawyers ripped into them for their long criminal histories. The attorney yelled questions, accusing the ring members of lying to save their own skins. Charlie Fiola chose not to take the stand, so the prosecutor was not able to pose similar questions and so deliver an equally dramatic performance. Charlie Fiola was found not guilty.

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About Anthony Olszewski

Anthony Olszewski has written on a wide variety of topics: cage birds, tropical fish, popular culture, the poetry of Amiri Baraka and a chapter on genetics for a veterinary text book, as a small sample. He worked as an editor at a magazine produced by TFH, the world's largest publisher of pet books. Anthony Olszewski is the author of a booklet on Hudson County history, Hudson County Facts, and a book of short stories, Second Thief, Best Thief, that are sold on Amazon. Anthony Olszewski established in 1996. A pioneer on the Web, the Site continues to provide unique information on a range of companion animals, focusing on birds and fish. As a community service, he operates Jersey City Free Books. Anthony Olszewski was born in Jersey City, NJ (Margaret Hague Maternity Hospital, 1956) and is a member of Mensa.
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One Response to Jersey City somewhat shady out-of-state lottery shop

  1. Arnold B. Williams says:

    Anthony Olszewski you are the man. I remember that story it was told once by Anthony R. Cucci the former Mayor of Jersey City. And Fiola was also good friends with Glenn D. Cunningham who became Council President after successfully running on Cucci’s ticket. I remember Anthony Fiola very well. Cunningham had a campaign office just around the corner on Newark Avenue from Fiola’s. Man on have you kick up some old memories.

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