Bishop honors indicted casino owner

March 1, 2008 1:52:20 PM PST
A Roman Catholic bishop praised the generosity of a casino owner charged with lying to the state Gaming Board about his alleged mob ties. Scranton Bishop Joseph F. Martino thanked businessman Louis DeNaples for helping fund the University of Scranton's new $35 million student center, which is named for DeNaples' parents.

"I congratulate the DeNaples family," Martino said. "I don't know what I'd do without the assistance I receive from this wonderful family."

DeNaples and the Rev. Joseph Sica, a family friend also charged with perjury in the case, joined more than 700 people for the dedication and Mass on Friday at the Patrick and Margaret DeNaples Center.

Louis DeNaples was awarded a license for his Mount Airy Casino Resort in December 2006 while state police still were investigating whether he lied to gambling regulators. Lawmakers are debating whether police should have alerted the gaming board to the probe - or at least cautioned against a vote - before the unanimous decision to award DeNaples the license.

Attorneys for the wealthy Scranton-area businessman contest the charges, saying he is innocent.

Sica is accused of mischaracterizing his relationship with the late Russell Bufalino, a reputed mob boss, in testimony during a grand jury investigation of DeNaples.

DeNaples formerly served as a University of Scranton trustee. The student center opened in January.

The school's president, the Rev. Scott R. Pilarz, said he was "filled with great gratitude" for the generosity that helped fund the four-story building, which features a bookstore, eateries and an auditorium.


Information from: The Scranton Times,