This article was last modified on June 23, 2016.


Capone’s Brothels: A History of Hurley

December 7, 1954: William Mattrella and Pete Piazza were indicted for Mann Act violations. They pleaded not guilty and were released on $3,500 bond each.

An FBI agent was present at Anton Lysczyk’s place of business (Kay’s Rooms and Hotel Bar, 7-9 Silver Street) on September 15, 1965 and was approached by a lady who offered her services as a prostitute. This occurred in the presence of Lysczyk. His business partner, Marcia “Kay” Lyon, later told authorities that she started the prostitution business in 1959 and had issued 2,797 admittance cards by November 1965.

John J. Gasbarri died on November 24, 1975.

In 1976, at Raineri’s request, Cira Gasbarri returned from California to reopen the Showbar, which her husband had operated as a prostitution enterprise before his death in November 1975. From late 1976 until early 1979, Raineri managed the Showbar in conjunction with Gasbarri. He gave her fifty dollars for every night she worked at the Showbar. At his urging Gasbarri permitted prostitution in the Showbar.

1977, Alex Raineri became the judge of Iron County.

In June 1978, when Patricia Colossaco told Raineri about the prostitution, he replied that she had nothing to worry about.

On August 23, 1978, Raineri signed a check to Yvonne Spears, who worked as a bartender, dancer and prostitute for the Showbar. She cashed her check in Michigan. On September 12, 1978, check was drawn on the Showbar’s Michigan bank account and used in Wisconsin to pay the Lake Superior Power Company, a Wisconsin business, for power at the Showbar. These checks were later used by the FBI to show the interstate nature of the prostitution business.

Raineri traveled to and from Reno, Nevada, with Cira Gasbarri in September and October 1978

During the period when Raineri promoted prostitution at the Showbar, dancers employed by the bar would go to booths in the bar and masturbate those customers who spent thirty-five or fifty dollars for a three dollar bottle of champagne. During the same period, the dancer/prostitutes would make arrangements in the bar for the sale of their sexual favors to customers of the bar. Prostitutes would either put a share of their receipts into a box in the ladies’ dressing room or give it to the bartender. Above the bar there were about twenty rooms with beds used for prostitution. The rooms were supplied with sheets, pillowcases, and electricity. Illegal prostitution permeated the Showbar.

When Wisconsin Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement Division agents made a routine inspection of the Showbar in March 1979, Raineri spoke to them over the phone, represented himself as the janitor, yelled at them, harassed them, and told them they would not get very far with any prosecution in the county.

At some point in 1979, the Showbar burned down.

Gasbarri had been hospitalized at the Hope Community Mental Health Center from December 6, 1979 to December 21, 1979; at the time of her hospitalization, her diagnosis had been psychotic depression reaction transient situational disturbance; during her hospitalization, her treatment consisted of individual and group therapy and 200 mg. of Mellaril every hour for nine days; her prognosis was good.

On March 18, 1980, before the grand jury, Raineri stated: that he and his wife were like brother and sister to Gasbarri and her husband; that after the death of Gasbarri’s husband, Raineri’s relationship with Gasbarri remained the same, that Raineri and Gasbarri did not have an affair and did not travel together alone except for one time when he took her to the hospital in Duluth, and once or twice when he took her to Milwaukee to shop when he was driving there to sit in criminal court.

On June 6, 1980, a federal grand jury in Madison indicted Raineri with promoting prostitution, obstructing justice and lying to the grand jury. Following the indictment, the Milwaukee Sentinel called Raineri and he told them, “They’ve been accusing me of running the Showbar, and I’ve always told them… I had no connection with the place whatsoever.”

Also on June 6, the Judicial Commission of Wisconsin filed a complaint with the court alleging that the Hon. Alex J. Raineri, circuit judge for Iron county, had engaged in misconduct by reason of his having acted as presiding judge in a traffic violation case in which the defendant (Joseph J. Suzik, owner of the Starlite Motel and Bar) was married to the sister of Judge Raineri’s wife. The complaint alleged that after the defendant had entered a plea of guilty to a charge of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated, Judge Raineri vacated the original sentence. The defendant then entered a plea of not guilty, and trial was held before Judge Raineri, who found the defendant guilty.

On July 31, 1980, the Judicial Commission filed an amended complaint in the matter, adding a charge that Judge Raineri dismissed a traffic citation pending against a Michigan state police officer in exchange for having a traffic citation pending against the judge in Michigan dismissed.

On March 6, 1981, the federal district court ordered that Judge Raineri be fined $15,000 and committed to
imprisonment for three years.

Cira Gasbarri died in Los Angeles on February 18, 1987 at age 51.

Also try another article under Organized Crime
or another one of the writings of Gavin.

Leave a Reply