White Oak man ordered to pay fine in gambling ring case
A White Oak restaurateur was fined $300 on Monday but received no probation for his role in the McKeesport gambling ring authorities call “Operation Pork Chop.”
Mark Novakovich, 56, entered a guilty plea to one count of allowing gambling at his Twin Oaks restaurant and became the first defendant not to get probation.
Novakovich was sentenced by Allegheny County Common Pleas Judge Joseph K. Williams III, who accepted an agreement between Novakovich's attorney Michael C. Pribanic and the state attorney general's office.
Pribanic agreed to withdraw a motion he filed on June 4 to dismiss the misdemeanor charge against his client.
In return, state senior deputy attorney general Michael M. Ahwesh agreed not to seek any period of probation.
Pribanic declined comment about the case. The attorney general's office could not be reached for comment at presstime.
Nine of 16 defendants have been given probation.
Williams previously sentenced Kirk A. Mollica, 47, of Elizabeth Township; Ronald D. Prest, 66, of White Oak; Frank C. Reese, 62, of McKeesport; Robert H. Bogesdorfer, 68, of Irwin; and Catherine Gouker, 56, of Belle Vernon to five years probation.
In addition, each were ordered to pay $4,391 in costs and fees.
Before Judge Donald E. Machen, Terrence P. McNelis, 53, of Baldwin was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution; Rodney Elia Iannelli, 54, of Ohio Township was sentenced to one year of probation but ordered to pay $15,000 in restitution; and Eugene “Red” Kowalski Jr., 66, of North Huntingdon Township and Jeffrey F. Risha, 59, of Belle Vernon each was sentenced to one year of probation and assessed $1,271 in fees and costs.
Before Judge Donna Jo McDaniel Timothy J. Minkus, 32, of West Mifflin was sentenced to two years probation and assessed $2,051 in fees and costs.
Five “Pork Chop” defendants still are scheduled to appear before Allegheny County Common Pleas Court judges, including one whose day before Williams was pushed back until Tuesday.
Councilman Daniel K. Carr, 55, of McKeesport is charged with two felonies and three misdemeanors. Williams is the judge in his case as well as that of alleged “Pork Chop” mastermind Ronald “Porky” Melocchi, 55, of Belle Vernon.
Melocchi's plea hearing was continued until Sept. 29.
Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Sewer system lease could dissolve McKeesport’s municipal authority
- McKeesport councilman denies candidate’s claim
- West Mifflin Area Athletics Hall of Fame panel has tough job picking first class
- ‘Coffee With a Cop’ takes stress out of police relations with Elizabeth Township residents
- Port Vue hires new garbage hauler, plans to increase fee
- Wilmerding council unsure whether business needs occupancy permit
- McKeesport-based Internet radio station WMCK.FM touted as ‘college radio without the college’
- Dictionary distribution gives Forward 3rd-graders taste of old school
- EQT: No drilling in McKeesport planned before 2017
- Wilmerding shops around while negotiating North Versailles police contract
- Clairton seeks end to Act 47 restraints