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People & Places

Best Local Reality-Show Contestant (Male) 

Fredo LaPonza, Average Joe 2

Fredo LaPonza's like the mob - whenever we think we've escaped him, he pulls us back in. We were introduced to this local contractor during the second season of The Average Joe. His ponytail and goatee became staples of local newscasts, which followed his progress on the show. When he ditched Larissa Meek - the hussy star of the show - on the penultimate episode, it was a victory for scrubs everywhere. LaPonza returned to Cleveland, but didn't leave the spotlight. His wild night with Browns rookie Sterling Harris and a Lorain County groupie at Ross Verba's house made him briefly infamous, but he rebounded deftly, investing in the West Sixth Street venue Flo Café, which opened in March. And in August, LaPonza sued NBC, claiming producers stole his idea for a new reality show called The Average Joes Strike Back. Fredo, we're enthralled. There's nothing average about you.

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