It was the early 1980s, and Delmonti, in his mid-30s, was known as a coarse but charming rogue, possessed of fearless ambition. Since his Collinwood youth, he wanted to be a made man in the Mafia.
Yet Delmonti was far better at being brash than deferential, the type to play the part before he got the part. And on this evening, Licavoli was in no mood to reward the precocious.
As Delmonti stood before Licavoli, chattering away, the old man ignored him. Others at the table could see that Delmonti wanted desperately to sit down with them. But the boss wasn't giving an invitation.
After Delmonti finally shuffled off, Angelo Lonardo, nephew of the Mafia underboss of the same name, leaned over and asked Licavoli why he shunned Delmonti.
"That," said Licavoli authoritatively, "is human garbage."
History, it seems, has proved him correct. True Mafiosi believe in absolute loyalty, in putting family above all else, in treating drugs as a commodity, not an indulgence. In all these respects, Delmonti was poorly suited for the life to which he aspired.
So he joined a less demanding organization: the FBI.
Cocaine can turn a good man bad. And so it did with Anthony Delmonti. "Real good, a really nice guy, do anything for you," recalls Eugene Ciasullo, the venerable enforcer of the old Cleveland Mafia, who knew Delmonti since he was a boy. "But he started sticking that shit up his nose."
Even as he was genuflecting before Jack White, Delmonti was knee-deep in blow. And Ciasullo, himself a soldier in the boss's army, figures Licavoli and others sensed this weakness. A recent Plain Dealer article celebrated Delmonti's sharp criminal mind, but no smart drug dealer dips into his own stash. And if Delmonti was wily enough to conceive short-term moneymaking schemes, he grasped neither the long-term consequences nor the superior value of money legally made.
Though he grew up in Collinwood, a traditional breeding ground for Mafia toughs, Delmonti enjoyed a privileged youth. His parents owned Parkway Trails, a waterpark, campground, and picnic complex in Munson Township. Even in the mid-1960s, a teenage Delmonti could ask a relative for $1,000 and get it. "They were the first house in the neighborhood to have a television, a refrigerator, everything," says one family friend.
After partying his way out of a Kent State football scholarship, Delmonti returned home and made a halfhearted attempt at honest work at Eaton Axle. "He walked in in the morning, turned around, and never came back again," says a person close to his family. "It was a factory job, a shirt that said 'Tony.' No way. That didn't work for him."
Being a police dispatcher for Cleveland Heights held much more appeal -- perhaps because Delmonti's friends could time their robberies to coincide with his shift. "If the neighbors call and say, 'Some guy's robbing the place,' he'd say, 'I'll send two cars,'" says one friend. "But he didn't send them. He was on the take the whole time."
Of course, the scam didn't last, and neither did Delmonti's police career. But his criminal career was just beginning. In 1974, Delmonti was arrested in Shaker Heights for burglarizing a home. He pleaded guilty and served three years at Marion Correctional Facility.
If prison is a wise guy's university, Delmonti did his graduate study under the tutelage of Ciasullo, a man known as "The Animal," who would survive multiple bombing attempts on his life and who is alleged to have once reconstructed a rival's face with a cue ball. A master in the art of intimidation, Ciasullo employed Delmonti in a variety of capacities, collecting loans among them.
"He learned fast," says Ciasullo. "He's also very witty, and he knows how to talk to people. He could intimidate."
Delmonti could work himself into a maniacal rage, and those who borrowed money feared his wrath.
"I used to call it 'the routine,'" says Tony Marinozzi, a former friend of Delmonti's. "He could just turn on this character: 'You owe me money, you fucking son of a bitch.' They always paid."
But Delmonti wasn't so good about paying his own debts -- probably because no one could scare him into it. Marinozzi tells of Delmonti placing bets with different bookies for both teams in a game. "He would collect from the guy he won with and not pay the guy he lost with," says Marinozzi, who is producing Entrapped, a film about Delmonti, which will shoot in Cleveland next year.
Of course, Delmonti could only welsh on his bets because he had more muscle -- or more nerve -- than the collectors who came calling. He would take a slow drag on his cigar, lean over, and blow smoke in the man's face before delivering his trademark line, "We pay no one."
Delmonti craved money, but lacked patience. Drug dealing was a natural progression. By the mid-'80s, he was dealing coke out of a Lyndhurst bar.
"I remember the Lyndhurst police chief was in there one time, and Delmonti's dealing right in front of him," says one former friend. "Tony says to him, 'What are you looking at? You want some, too?'"
Such outbursts were telltale signs that the drug had gone to Delmonti's head. "He lost his good judgment," says one of his former customers. In the past he had avoided using the phone to coordinate deals, but with his business growing along with his addiction, Delmonti took more chances.
One customer says that, minutes after discussing a coke deal with Delmonti, he received a call in which a tape of the entire conversation was played back. It was the feds. Not long after, ATF agents approached the customer with a proposition: Face the possibility of 30 years in a federal pen, or help us nail Delmonti. Since the customer suspected Delmonti was trying to set him up, it was a no-brainer. He took the deal.
The customer didn't often buy in bulk and worried that his sudden interest in acquiring $4,000 worth of coke would tip Delmonti off. Agents assured the man that Delmonti was desperate enough to make the deal.
"I was sweating like a prostitute at a prison rodeo," says the customer. But the agents were right. Delmonti not only climbed into a car wired for sound, he took occasion to brag about his deeds. "He says, 'I'm the king of all drug dealers,' on and on," recalls the customer. "I couldn't even shut him up. Then we make the buy. He takes the $4,000. He leaves me a package."
Agents arrested Delmonti after he drove away. He would learn that he was set up not just by the customer, but by Carmen Zagaria, his supplier. On the hook for several mob-related murders, Zagaria ratted out Delmonti to shorten his own sentence.
Around the same time, Delmonti was busted with three others for stealing roughly 28,000 instant-lottery tickets out of a truck his friend drove and then trying to sell them to an undercover agent.
This came on top of yet another scam, in which Delmonti and friends purchased blank automobile titles for luxury cars, bought insurance on them, and then filed claims saying that the cars were stolen, in order to collect from insurance companies.
As a career criminal, Delmonti was a failure. Considering the extent of his crimes, he should have been happy to serve a mere six years in prison. Give credit to Tony Leonardo, his celebrated Rochester, New York defense attorney, who demanded limo service and lobster dinners as part of his fee.
But a friend says Delmonti was furious about his sentence. "He swore that when he got out, he was going to get Leonardo. He hated that motherfucker." It's a vow Delmonti made good on.
For all his talent as an actor, husband was a role that Delmonti could not play. He married his second wife, Michelle, in 1974, the same year he went to prison. Yet his hedonist's zeal made fidelity impossible.
Michelle declined comment for this article, but those who know the couple say she learned to endure Delmonti's womanizing. Even so, she had trouble ignoring her husband's relationship with Laurie Trimboli.
Delmonti met her in the mid-1980s at a Wickliffe bar, where she worked. Young and busty, vulgar and vivacious, Trimboli could have been the inspiration for Marisa Tomei's character in My Cousin Vinny. "Six-inch heels, five-inch hair, and six-inch nails," is how one former friend describes her. She and Delmonti would connect through their mutual love for money, cocaine, and sex, say friends.
After Delmonti was shipped off to prison in 1987, Michelle took a job waitressing at a country club. "She would scrimp and save and live like a pauper as she waited for him," says her attorney, Bill Summers.
In 1993, Delmonti finished his prison sentence. Typically, a Mafia player who does his time gets a party when he gets out. "Everybody else had a party when they came out," says a friend. "They gave nothing to Tony."
For a brief period he walked the line, taking work as a copy-machine salesman. The job suited his fast-talking personality. But the lifestyle didn't. "They gave him a car. It was a Tempo," says a family friend. "He was freaking out over that. He wanted a Lincoln or a Caddy. He was making $700 a week. That wasn't enough for him. He'd blow $700 on a sit-down dinner."
Nor did he make a serious effort at saving his marriage. He resumed the relationship with Trimboli and barely made an effort to conceal it from his wife.
"He went home to Michelle, who had the dinner and the fine china -- versus with Laurie, where they'd get takeout, go to bars, and have this crazy sex life," says the family friend. "He wanted both worlds."
And both worlds were turbulent. Delmonti was famously possessive. Trimboli told friends that he abused her physically and mentally. But a friend says she intentionally stoked his jealousy. Trimboli was the type to wear miniskirts just sheer enough to show off her thong, with tops that spilled cleavage. "Then she'd say, 'Anthony, that guy's looking at me,'" says the friend. "She knew what she was doing."
In 1995, Michelle finally hurled her husband's clothes onto the front lawn of their home, according to a family friend. They were separated, but she couldn't follow through with her threats of divorce. "She's still hopelessly in love with him," sighs Summers.
If her husband felt the same, he didn't show it. There was money to pay for Trimboli's manicures and plastic surgery; yet Delmonti went more than two years without paying the alimony Michelle won in court, even as she struggled through chemotherapy.
During the mid-'90s, Delmonti operated a coffee shop on West 6th called the Drip Stick. He treated it as his stage, bantering with mob players big and small. Regulars say coke deals were conducted openly.
But those same people wonder now whether the Drip Stick existed for Delmonti's benefit or for the feds'. "There were more undercover guys in there than wise guys," says a former visitor.
At the time, Delmonti was being recruited for work as an informant. Agents had leverage: Delmonti owed roughly $150,000 in fines from his 1987 bust. He was also having a tough time kicking his coke habit and abiding by his parole.
A loyal wise guy would have stayed true to the life and dared the feds to bring an indictment. But Delmonti, for all his mobster posturing, was not the real thing. The prospect of another sentence weighed heavily on him. Also, a friend of the family says, "He had a chip on his shoulder" -- bitterness over not being made into the Mafia. "I think he decided to go to them [the FBI] to get even with everybody," says another friend.
So in May 1998, Delmonti turned informant, signing a personal-service agreement that placed him on the FBI payroll. It was a perfect role for him. "Anthony always gave you this feeling that he brought you in," says one long-time friend. "He should have been in PR."
One person Delmonti brought in was Virgil Ogletree, who, at 78, was losing his street instincts. Ogletree operated a numbers racket in Cleveland for the better part of 50 years, some of those with a young Don King as his sidekick.
Delmonti would learn that the same old-school Mafiosi who ostracized him had been close to Ogletree. An associate of Ogletree's was taped remarking that Licavoli and Anthony Liberatore, a Cleveland Mafia lieutenant, both "had their arms around" Ogletree and his profitable numbers operation.
According to an affidavit filed by IRS Agent Thomas Himes, Ogletree's people accepted bets on Ohio Lottery numbers and awarded winners with better payoffs than the lottery itself -- all tax-free. It wasn't the most heinous crime, but it was lucrative. IRS investigators estimated Ogletree's crew was taking $10 million in bets annually.
In June 1999, he met Anthony Delmonti. With the FBI cameras rolling from behind their hiding places in the Drip Stick, the pair discussed a partnership. Ogletree needed a bank to hedge the bets he accepted. Delmonti pretended he could be that bank.
For all his longevity, Ogletree was an unusually trusting soul. "He was very talkative around people who came to him as strangers and ingratiated themselves with him," says one longtime friend.
Between July and October 1999, Delmonti pocketed "read sheets," or daily records of wagers, hits, collections, and payouts. He noted the locations where workers processed bets. He acquired the phone numbers through which bets were placed.
At one point, he allegedly got Ogletree to admit to killing Fred Stitman, according to an IRS affidavit. Stitman was an enforcer for Ogletree's former partner, Shondor Birns, another numbers operator, who died in a car bombing. (A friend of Ogletree's disputes the confession, saying that while Ogletree once shot Stitman, sometime in the 1960s, the two settled their differences.)
Delmonti also got Ogletree to reveal how he laid off heavy bets with other bookies and how he disposed of his paper trail. Delmonti gave it all to the FBI, which conducted more than a year of surveillance.
When the FBI and IRS raided Ogletree's operation in February 2001, they knew exactly where to strike, as well as the exact time clerks would be most vulnerable. Roughly a dozen addresses were searched in Cleveland and Akron. Agents carried off boxes full of gambling records. Ogletree and his crew never saw Anthony Delmonti again.
It took more than two years for federal investigators to sift through the evidence. Ogletree and five associates were indicted in mid-August.
Considering that Ogletree is now 81 and nearly deaf, prosecuting him is a little like arresting a pimp at his retirement party. In his bright polyester suits, neon ties, and studded cuff links, Ogletree still resembles a hustler circa the 1970s, when he was in his prime.
Through his attorney, John McCaffrey, Ogletree declined comment. McCaffrey also declined interview requests.
But lawyers representing Ogletree's co-defendants suggest that the case was driven by Delmonti's financial interests -- as an informant, he received a chunk of the money seized from the Ogletree operation.
The trial isn't scheduled till next year, but defense attorneys will surely argue that, by enlisting Delmonti's services, the feds made a deal with the devil.
"He is a salesman and a con artist," says attorney Richard Lillie, who represents Mary Stover, an alleged Ogletree accomplice. "He's been at it a long time, and he's good at it."
Delmonti and Al Laudato were friends since their Collinwood youth. Laudato catered parties Delmonti threw at an illegal casino that operated within Pineway Trails. On summer afternoons, Laudato would roll a grill onto the sidewalk in front of the Drip Stick to cook for Delmonti's crew. "They were great friends," says a relative of Delmonti's.
But Laudato, like Delmonti, had a weakness for cocaine, and in the late 1990s he was coordinating sales from wholesale suppliers to a sprawling network of small-time dealers. John Puntel, Laudato's son-in-law, is convinced Delmonti told investigators about Laudato's dealing, which led them to bug Laudato's phone.
The feds got an earful. Around March of 2000, the FBI listened to Laudato taking orders for 4.5 "bags of shrimp," code for ounces of cocaine. Others called about "green sweaters," code for marijuana. Still others ordered a "Barry White album" or an "Al Green album."
Laudato would then phone Ron Lucarelli of Mentor about the coke, or a man named Chris Harb of Mayfield Heights to get a shipment of pot. Lucarelli, in turn, bought his cocaine from Robert Walsh Sr. and his son, Robert Jr. The elder Walsh was a former Cleveland cop who had moved to California, but continued to ship coke back to the Midwest. Harb's supplier was Eugene Ciasullo, Delmonti's former mentor. Laudato then moved cocaine to roughly a dozen Northeast Ohio dealers and sold marijuana to nearly as many.
In March 2000, the Walshes were in Cleveland, sitting on a shipment of about 12 kilos. But even as they discussed a deal with Lucarelli and Laudato, they were waiting for a Jamaican immigrant named Ryan Prendergast, a bulk customer who was out of town. Prendergast paid higher prices than Lucarelli; the Walshes were holding out for the bigger sale.
Laudato's cell phone traffic began to resemble a Quentin Tarantino script. Dealers below him suspected Laudato of colluding with Lucarelli to horde cocaine.
"I got to get out of town," Laudato says to one of his impatient dealers. "Everybody wants to kill me."
And with his customers failing to pay for their drugs, Harb was having difficulty making timely payments to Ciasullo. The FBI taped him telling Laudato that Ciasullo was "flipping out," calling 10 times a day. "I'm getting fucking reamed every day," he said. Harb told of Ciasullo's suggestion to "smack [the customers] around for not paying." Harb had to remind Ciasullo that the game wasn't played like that anymore.
Having given up on Prendergast, the elder Walsh finally made a deal with Lucarelli: 11 kilos of coke for approximately $225,000. Lucarelli then moved it to Laudato, who distributed it to nine smaller dealers.
One of those was alleged to be Puntel, who was heard talking about "houses" and "siding" with Laudato. The FBI claims they were code words for coke. But Puntel, who was in the home remodeling business, says he was talking about the real thing.
Just a few days later, Prendergast returned and ponied up the cash for his own shipment. The FBI staked out a Euclid parking lot. After witnessing the younger Walsh complete the deal, they moved in on Prendergast.
Federal agents would never seize the 11 kilos Lucarelli purchased from the Walshes, but wiretaps confirmed the deal was made. In June 2000, agents served warrants at Lucarelli's Mentor home, the Walshes' apartment in Lakewood, and Laudato's home in Lyndhurst. The thread unraveled all the way back to California.
The feds would eventually seize roughly 700 kilos of cocaine, says FBI Special Agent Stephen Vogt. Over 100 people were convicted. "We're proud of it, because we took it from the street in Cleveland to nationwide," says Vogt.
And though FBI policy forbids him to reveal the names of informants, he acknowledges that tipsters played a critical role. "They're invaluable. If it weren't for the first informant, we wouldn't have even started. In drug work, you can know who the drug dealers are, but unless you have a way into them, it's very difficult."
The file makes reference to Source 1 and Source 3. The latter was credited with two years of informant work, which is exactly how long Delmonti had been under contract with the FBI.
Puntel believes his old friend Delmonti's tip led to his arrest. He ended up serving five months.
Still, he can hardly speak of Delmonti without cracking a smile. "Anthony didn't want to go to jail, and he did what he had to do," he says. Puntel remembers his friend as a comic, not as a rat. "Everybody who meets Anthony loves him. It's weird. After all this, I can't help but miss the guy."
By the time Laudato gets out next October, he will have served four years. Richard Wettrick, Delmonti's cousin, was pinched in the same case and received a 21-month sentence. (Wettrick did not respond to interview requests.)
There were 30 defendants in the Cleveland case, and Delmonti was acquainted with most of them. It was one of the biggest drug busts in city history. Within the FBI, Anthony Delmonti had become a rat legend.
But this wasn't the role he imagined playing. Those he had tried so long to impress had lost all respect for him.
Business was slow in 1999 for Anthony Leonardo, an elite defense attorney from Rochester, New York, who gravitated to publicity and cases that involved the Mafia. Club Titanic, a nightclub he owned, had hit a financial iceberg, and Leonardo was desperate for a big case.
So when his friend and former client Anthony Delmonti called to say that some Cleveland mobsters might need representation, Leonardo was thrilled. "At that time there weren't many cases for defense attorneys of Tony's caliber," says Leonardo's fiancée, Lisa Savage. "So he was quite excited."
The couple hosted Delmonti and Laurie Trimboli for a celebratory dinner, where they discussed the prospects of the case. As the men talked business, Trimboli warmed up to Savage. "She was very complimentary. I thought, 'She's nice.' Laurie and I became very close," says Savage. So did Leonardo and Delmonti.
But the case Delmonti promised to deliver was slow to arrive. In the meantime, the discussion turned to drugs.
Later, inside Delmonti's room at a Holiday Inn south of Rochester, Leonardo explained to Delmonti how he could launder drug profits. He had done so for past clients. But the room was rigged with microphones and hidden cameras, which were monitored by FBI agents in an adjacent room.
In May 2000, Anthony Vaccaro, Leonardo's partner in Club Titanic, was murdered while sitting in his car. Savage recalls Trimboli asking about it, but she knew nothing. Delmonti had better luck. Transcripts show Delmonti commenting on how he'd heard Vaccaro wasn't paying back money he owed Leonardo. "The guy deserved to get whacked," said Leonardo. "He was a cocksucker."
Albert Ranieri was of the same mind. In 1990, Leonardo served as his defense attorney, after $10.8 million disappeared from an armored truck Ranieri was driving. Federal investigators suspected Ranieri, who failed a lie detector test. But they had no evidence.
The two remained friends. Ranieri invested $100,000 in Club Titanic. In a recorded conversation, Leonardo told Delmonti that he and Ranieri suspected Vaccaro of embezzling $250,000 in nightclub profits. "This motherfucker is stealing from us," Leonardo said he told Ranieri. "We have got to fucking kill him."
Leonardo introduced Ranieri to Delmonti, and they quickly became friends. Delmonti even witnessed Ranieri burning cash in a backyard fire pit -- it was the only evidence that could link him to the armored-car heist.
Ranieri told Delmonti where he hid the cash and admitted that the $100,000 he invested in Club Titanic came from the armored-car heist. Leonardo was instrumental in laundering the money.
In the fall of 2000, as talk of drug dealing intensified, Delmonti's health began to falter. A bad case of pneumonia nearly killed him. It was the stress of his new job. He didn't tell his closest family members what he was doing, but all remarked at how drained he seemed to be.
Yet it didn't stop him from finishing the job. By December, Delmonti was taping Ranieri's request for 35 kilos of coke, which he wanted before the end of the month. "It's gonna be a white Christmas," joked Delmonti on the tape.
The deal was set for December 29. Ranieri had already given Delmonti $100,000 in cash a week before. Delmonti arrived at the Holiday Inn with a suitcase filled with 10 kilos of cocaine. Leonardo came to oversee the deal.
Ranieri is caught on tape telling Delmonti how safe the hotel room felt. "Here I'm happy," he said. "I'm content. I'm in a room. No one sees me."
Moments later, a pack of agents burst into the room, guns raised. They found .38-caliber revolvers on both Leonardo and Ranieri. All three were cuffed, but as his two cohorts were driven to jail, Delmonti was uncuffed and thanked heartily for his contribution.
At the same time, Lisa Savage was on her way to the grocery store, leaving her 14-year-old stepdaughter in her pajamas, playing on the computer. When agents saw Savage pull out, they ripped the front door off its hinges and ransacked the home for evidence.
By the time Savage returned, her home was awash in flashing lights and crawling with agents. "It was the most shocking thing I ever experienced in my life," she says, choking up at the memory. "Then to know the person who is behind it . . . everything fit into place."
Leonardo was sentenced to 12 years. After admitting to the armored-car heist and the murder of Vaccaro, Ranieri got 30.
Today, Savage speaks to Leonardo every night. She once asked what he'd do, if he ever met Delmonti again. "If I saw him sitting at a bar, I would go up to him, put my hands on his shoulders, and say, 'You know what, pal? It doesn't make you bad.'"
It may be what one has to say while behind bars. There are future parole boards to consider. But Savage says this kind of forgiveness is more consistent with Leonardo's character than the portrait of him painted by FBI tapes. Delmonti told The Plain Dealer that Leonardo was going to kill him after the deal was finished. But Savage says Leonardo always packed a revolver. "Tony was not going to kill Delmonti," she says. "And Delmonti knows it. That's part of him embellishing the story."
Several months ago she received a call from an agent. "He said, 'I have a message for you from Tony Delmonti. He and Laurie want you to know that they feel really bad about what happened.'" Savage says her first instinct was to lash out. Instead, she told the agent about Leonardo's wish to forgive Delmonti's betrayal.
"He was one of the funniest people I ever met," Savage says of Delmonti. "I always liked him. I can understand what he did, I guess. But my opinion of Anthony Delmonti is that he's a very insecure man. He has created his own demise, because he will never be able to live a normal life, and he'll never be able to be a criminal, which is the only life he knows."
Savage believes Delmonti "was looking for some kind of affirmation from some kind of organization. He received that affirmation, but not from the organization that took him in initially, the one he wanted."
And though Leonardo was sent to prison, Savage thinks Delmonti will feel a more lasting impact. "Tony Leonardo will pick up the pieces," she says. "Tony Delmonti is not going to be able to do that. His glory days are over. He's not needed anymore. He's discarded, of no more use."
Delmonti lives in his own kind of prison. He only speaks to a few family members and a few friends from home. He lives in the South, a man who always basked in attention now hiding from it.
Those who have seen him since the Leonardo case say he is quiet and withdrawn in public, qualities that make him almost unrecognizable. No one in Delmonti's family knew about his role as FBI informant. All remain furious. Some want nothing to do with him.
"They come from an Italian family," says a family friend. "Italians don't believe in finking. You do your time, you know?"
Worse, Delmonti actually seemed to relish his work. "When this all came down I asked him, 'What did you do this for? You weren't brought up this way,'" says a family friend. "He said, 'They had something on me, and I had no choice. And I'm the best informant they ever had.' I said, 'Why are you proud of that?'
"He said, 'They're scumbags, the guys I put away.' I said, 'Yeah, but you were right there with them. Doing drugs, doing scams. So then you're scum, too.' He said, 'Call it what you will.'"
While banished to a life of isolation and anonymity, Delmonti has the luxury of avoiding most of the consequences. A family friend says he gets paid $6,000 per month and that he received large lump payments from federal agents in the past. By leaving the area, he doesn't have to face his victims -- or their friends and family.
But Delmonti's own family is not so lucky. His wife, Michelle, was diagnosed with lymphoma four years ago and endured chemotherapy, while her husband and his girlfriend were out doing the government's work. Her attorney, Summers, says that though Delmonti owed his wife alimony, the government allowed him to skate on the payments. Today, she lives alone, her shaky health leaving her unable to work.
His older brother bears a strong resemblance to Anthony and has to worry about being mistaken for him. Other family members face the scorn of those who still resent Delmonti. They hear the words "rat" and "fink." There are rumors that he will be on Larry King Live soon, an appearance that will surely bring down a new round of abuse upon the family.
"We have to live here," says a person close to the Delmontis. "He did what he did, and he ran. We have to pick up the pieces."
They also have to pick up the debt. Two days after Delmonti's brother-in-law died, Delmonti's sister lent him the deceased man's credit cards, stipulating that they were only to be used for purchasing prescription drugs Delmonti needed for his ailing back. A family friend says that in six months, Delmonti and Trimboli racked up $52,000 in debt, which he has refused to pay. His sister is taking him to court.
Still, the prevailing mood among friends and family is one of sadness more than anger. They miss him. And they're ashamed of what he's become.
"I wish he wouldn't have done any of this, because he was a great, wonderful man," says a family friend. "He wasn't some stupid guinea. He could have made something of himself."