Corruption Exposed!

He started with little and made it big

Spalliero worked his way from school dropout to land speculator

Asbury Park Press
May 4, 2005
JAMES A. QUIRK

MARLBORO — Two years ago, Anthony Spalliero sat with two Asbury Park Press reporters in a Keyport diner and, over the course of two hours, told his life's story.

He explained that in 1955, at age 13, he walked off a boat in Newark from Naples, Italy, poor and without a grasp of the English language. Spalliero said he dropped out of school six months later, and, by the time he was 17, had landed a job as a mason laying sewer pipes with family members.

Though he may have come from humble roots, Spalliero is now unquestionably a very wealthy man. In 2003, after visiting Spalliero's former Holmdel estate, former state Sen. John O. Bennett III, R-Monmouth, described it as a "palace" and a "castle." Its assessed value was $1.1 million.

Spalliero is also a survivor.

To date he has weathered three triple-bypass heart surgeries, the last of which Spalliero said was done to save his life after he nearly died on the operating table. He once joked to a reporter about the clicking his and his wife's artificial heart valves make, saying, "we make music together at night."

Shortly after the third operation three years ago, then-Marlboro Mayor Matthew V. Scannapieco mentioned to a Press reporter that he visited his "good friend" Spalliero in the hospital, and that Spalliero had barely survived the procedure.

Scannapieco has since pleaded guilty to accepting $245,000 from a developer in Marlboro who was identified Tuesday in an FBI complaint as Spalliero.

Spalliero is also known to be a severe diabetic, a condition that has affected his eyes and legs. He rarely drives himself, preferring to be chauffeured in a black limo with glowing blue trim. This vehicle can often be seen in the spacious driveway of Spalliero's new home on Old Mill Road in Marlboro.

By age 17, Spalliero said, he had married his first wife, Domenica, who was 16 at the time. After working in Paramus, Spalliero said, he moved to Hazlet in 1960.

Profitable deals

Spalliero plunged headfirst into the lucrative world of land speculation. He bought one of his first parcels for $16,000 and later sold it to a developer for $450,000, he said. Over the years, Spalliero estimates, he has earned as much as $10 million speculating in Marlboro land.

Today, it's virtually impossible to determine just how many different businesses Spalliero runs.

At the very least, he is the president of TMJ Harvester Contracting, a construction company, and an officer of Greenwood Holdings and Crawford Holdings, two land speculation and development companies.

He also founded Marlboro Memorial Cemetery in 1996, the first new cemetery approved by the state in 31 years. His company is now building mausoleums there.

Today, Spalliero's son, Joseph, is president and operator of the cemetery. Joseph Spalliero also owns the go-go bars Bourbon Street in Sayreville and After Dark in Old Bridge. Another son operates Centerfolds in Neptune, and a son-in-law owns and operates Heartbreakers in North Brunswick. Both also are go-go bars.

At odds with regulators

Under the new administration of Marlboro Mayor Robert Kleinberg, Spalliero has been at odds with the township's building and zoning code enforcers.

Late last year, Code Enforcement Officer Sarah Paris issued Spalliero six summonses for constructing his home on Old Mill Road without a number of permits.

By that time, Spalliero had already ignored a stop-work order issued by the town and had been slapped with a $12,000 fine from the state Department of Environmental Protection for paving over almost 10,000 square feet of wetlands.

Spalliero took Marlboro to court over the issues with his home, lost and promptly paid $3,000 in fines. He also fought the $12,500 fine levied against him by the township's building department before the Monmouth County Construction Board of Appeals and was denied. However, Spalliero has yet to pay that fine, Paris said, and the matter is ongoing.


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