Rotolo was a close associate of the late John DiGilio, after whose death Rotolo aligned himself with Genovese consigliere Louis “Bobby” Manna of Jersey City, who is presently incarcerated on federal racketeering charges.
During the Commission’s investigation, Rotolo and his wife Jane were observed by its agents on numerous occasions in 1988 and 1989 acting in a supervisory capacity at Sir John’s Pub. Rotolo’s wife was the tavern’s manager of record that time.
Despite observations by its agents, witnesses who appeared before the Commission repeatedly denied that Rotolo ran the business. A number of them admitted during interviews that Rotolo was in fact running the bar but gave different stories during testimony in private hearings before the Commission.
Waitress Donna Isabella admitted in an interview with Special Agent Grant Cuzzupe that she had been paid under the table by “Jane or Tony,” and that Tony was the boss. But when subpoenaed to testify, Isabella denied that Rotolo was her boss or that he paid her.
Joseph Fucci, a local building contractor, similarly contradicted himself. In an interview with Agent Cuzzupe, Fucci stated that Rotolo arranged for Fucci and his son to perform renovations at Sir John’s Pub. Fucci said Rotolo gave him a $1,500 deposit and orally agreed that Rotolo would be responsible for another $13,500 within a year. Fucci told Agent Cuzzupe that no payment schedule was set up because he and Rotolo are friends. Fucci said that Rotolo still owes $8,000 and pays “a few hundred dollars” whenever he sees Fucci. Again, however, Fucci’s story changed significantly and became confused when asked specific questions in his private testimony before then-Commissioner W. Hunt Dumont:
A. I did a mistake. It wasn’t true because I didn’t know was — you know — what really I received the money that time.
Q. When you told Special Agent Cuzzupe that Tony Rotolo gave you some money —
A. No — Tony.
Q. — after that first time that wasn’t true either?
A. No, No.
COMMISSIONER DUMONT: Are you saying now that Mr. [John] Ciani gave you the money? THE WITNESS: No, now. All the time Ciani gave me the money.
COMMISSIONER DUMONT: I’m just interested in what you’re saying now. Ciani gave you the money? THE WITNESS: Ciani gave me the money.
Mauro “Moe” Abbato, the owner of Complete Vending, which supplied cigarettes to Sir John’s, told Agent Cuzzupe during an interview that he has known and been a supplier for Rotolo since he started his business in 1981. He initially loaned Rotolo $5,000 that would be repaid through machine proceeds, and he supplied Agent Cuzzupe with collection slips as evidence of this loan. During his private testimony, however, Abbato contradicted what hehad said in the interview:
A. When I — when — when Mr. Grant [Cuzzupe] called me up and told me that he wanted to meet with me, I asked him if there was anything that he might want to know from me, should I take any information with me and he said no, so I went cold.
To the best of my recollection, what he asked me I answered, you know. I —
Q. And when you told him it was Tony who wanted the $5,000 loan, was that the truth?
A. I might have thought it was, but I even thought that I gave Tony the money, but I didn’t give it to Tony….
Another associate of Rotolo, William Guarini, a local plumbing and heating contractor, performed renovations at Sir John’s. Work orders for Guarini’s services at Sir John’s have “Tony” written on one such document and Rotolo’s phone number on another. But in his testimony Guarini denied that Rotolo hired him and insisted instead that it was Ciani. Guarini could not explain why Rotolo’s name and phone number appeared on the invoices. Guarini also attempted to minimize his knowledge of Rotolo’s involvement at Sir John’s Pub in general and, specifically, in regard to the plumbing work at the establishment.