Vending firm owner wins a clean record

January 20, 1994|By Larry Carson | Larry Carson,Staff Writer

Baltimore County vice detectives are having a tough time making gambling convictions stick to the owner of a vending company whose video poker machines were the source of illegal payoffs at two Woodlawn taverns.

So far, Anthony Raymond Paskiewicz, the owner of Columbia Vending, is 2-0 vs. the police. Twice in the past 11 days, he has successfully appealed guilty findings from District Court to Circuit Court, although his company has been convicted several times.

Mr. Paskiewicz's latest legal gambit paid off Tuesday. In June, he and his lawyer, Richard M. Karceski, rejected an offer of probation before judgment on gambling charges so he could appeal a guilty finding in Circuit Court.

Had he agreed to probation, he could not have appealed.

Assistant State's Attorney Michael G. DeHaven agreed Tuesday to place the gambling charges on an inactive court docket -- a "stet" in legal parlance.

That means the case probably will not be reopened unless Mr. Paskiewicz is convicted on new gambling charges.

It also means that Mr. Paskiewicz still has a clean record, free of any gambling convictions, although police say his firm is making thousands of dollars every week in illegal and untaxed gambling earnings.

Mr. Dehaven said his decision not to argue for affirmation of the guilty finding was based on a similar appeal decided Jan. 7 by Judge J. Norris Byrnes.

Judge Byrnes, who said in court that "I'm fairly confident that [Mr. Paskiewicz is] guilty, but I'm going to find him not guilty," held that there was not enough evidence to link Mr. Paskiewicz personally to illegal video poker payoffs made last year to undercover county vice detectives.

Those poker machines, located at Hertsch's Tavern in the 1900 block of Gwynn Oak Ave., were owned by Mr. Paskiewicz's company.

The charges in Tuesday's hearing before Judge John G. Turnbull II stemmed from a police raid on New Monaghan's Pub in the 2100 block of Gwynn Oak Ave. in July 1992, where vice officers said they saw a bartender make video gambling payoffs to two customers.

A District Court trial in April 1993 resulted in a guilty finding and a $1,000 fine for Columbia Vending Inc., and probation before judgment verdicts and $450 fines each for John K. Milani, licensee of New Monaghan's, and Mon-Gen Corp., which owns the bar.

Mr. Paskiewicz was found guilty in June 1993 of one count of possessing an illegal slot machine and was fined $200, but he rejected probation before judgment and appealed the guilty finding in Tuesday's court action.

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