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
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.
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
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.