Murder Committed on Property Owned by A&E Godfather

A&E has added a new reality program to its lineup, Godfather of Pittsburgh.

No, it's obviously not the once legendary Godfather of Pittsburgh, John LaRocca. Rather, it's Naples-born Vincenzo Isoldi, an Italian-American who owns an empire of nightclubs and restaurants in the Steel City, where he has made friends and enemies along the way.

Isoldi, former strip club king.

Eight one-hour episodes are slated to begin airing this fall.

One lauded restaurant he opened in 2006 had closed and was rented out as a nightclub known for quickly changing its name. In 2012, when it was called Fever, several gunshots were fired one night, critically injuring one woman and wounding three men.

Here’s A&E’s Godfather of Pittsburgh announcement: Pittsburgh is a town ruled by Vince Isoldi, a first-generation Italian American who has built an empire of nightclubs and restaurants, all in hopes of supporting his family. But getting to the top means making a lot of enemies and some of them are kin. While Vince is one of the most revered – and feared – men in the city, all bets are off when he comes home. Between his wife and sons, and his six brothers and sisters, the entire family relies on Vince for jobs, houses and everything in between. The “Godfather of Pittsburgh” takes a fascinating look at a truly original character who finds it hard to walk the ‘straight and narrow’ and still succeed in business.

According to published reports, his family immigrated from Naples when he was 7 and he is said to also own numerous properties and buildings in the area. One of his nightclubs was located in the widely known Strip District--but it's actually known for its food, according to one restaurant critic.

Elizabeth Downer reviewed the place for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2006: Pittsburgh's Strip District has a long history as a food distribution center and the home of the original Primanti's Brothers sandwich but upscale dining is a recent Strip phenomenon. First Kaya, then Lidia's, Eleven, and now Isoldi's are transforming The Strip into a dining destination.

Isoldi's occupies an old building that once was a fruit and vegetable warehouse. Owner Vince Isoldi, born in Naples and raised in Pittsburgh, bought the building three years ago. Until this summer, it had offices on the ground floor and a nightclub, first Millennium and later Century, upstairs. But Isoldi is passionate about food and a big fan of restaurants so out came the offices and in their place is a restaurant with casual Italian food in one room and sophisticated continental cuisine in another."

A story posted on TribLIVE: "Pittsburgh nightclubs open one day, close the next and open yet again another day. Vince Isoldi knows the drill. He is proprietor of two former venues, Club Millennium and Club Chemistry, which were on the second floor of a building along 19th Street in the Strip District. Club Chemistry recently was gutted, remodeled and renamed Pure Pittsburgh. The decor is starkly white and crystal, with a glass see-through dance floor. Patrons can enjoy private parties in outdoor cabanas. It takes its cue from the celebrity-studded Pure in Las Vegas, part of Caesars Palace. This time, however, Isoldi added a downstairs twist to his latest "place-to-be-seen" establishment. "Nightclubs come and go," says the former hair salon entrepreneur, who owns Club Erotica in McKees Rocks. "You have to keep changing them. But a restaurant can be the same for years and years. It's a foundation." "


However, the restaurant didn't last. Isoldi still owns the building, or at least he did in 2012 when this headline ran in the same newspaper: Club in Strip shuts doors after New Year's fatal shooting - Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The owner of a Strip District nightclub has voluntarily shut its doors in the aftermath of New Year's Day shootings in which one woman was killed and three men were wounded.

Workers spent Monday boarding up the windows of Fever Night Club and Lounge on 19th Street.

Representatives from District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr.'s office gave owner Annamaria Loris the option to close or risk having the club padlocked as a nuisance, spokesman Mike Manko said. Ms. Loris and the district attorney's office have yet to pen the details of the agreement, but, he added, "we will work with her because she chose to close voluntarily."

The club shuttered just months after it opened, billing itself online as "a newly renovated club with two complete floors that can hold over 1,000 people," a martini bar and VIP lounges.

Shateecha Roach, 27, was shot to death at Penn Avenue and 20th Street, outside the club. Police said she and her sister had left moments earlier, after a fistfight broke out on an upstairs dance floor. They had made it outside before three men were shot on the same dance floor, where the rapper Future was performing for a crowd of several hundred revelers. A 20-year-old man was struck several times in the torso and was critically wounded, and a 21-year-old man was hit in the leg. A third man, also 21, later told police he was grazed by a bullet.

Some witnesses said there were more than 500 people in the nightclub when the gunfire erupted, though investigators did not have an exact head count. The New Year's Eve partygoers scattered at the sound of the shots, and many of them have not come forward to police with information.

Detectives on Monday had made no arrests and were still investigating how at least one gun made it into the nightclub, where guests passed through a metal detector, and were patted down and wanded for weapons.

Partygoers paid more money to dance and drink on the second level, police said, and they had to pass through additional security to get there. A video posted to YouTube shows rapper Future ducking as gunshots sound and women scream. Witnesses said women, unable to run in heels, fled barefoot down Smallman Street in a chaotic scene.

It was the third time in recent months that bar patrons were shot inside of an establishment. Michael Norman, the owner of Zen Social Club in Station Square, agreed to close the troubled nightclub in November, a month after two people were injured in a shooting there. And also in November, Michael Issac, owner of Angels bar on the South Side, agreed to shut down at the urging of the district attorney's office, which contacted him after two people were shot within minutes of each other in and near the bar.

Becky Rodgers, executive director of Neighbors in the Strip, said some residents were concerned because the sprawling bar on 19th Street had changed names several times in recent years, but Fever had not been on the organization's radar.

The building itself is owned by Vince Isoldi and once housed the popular Isoldi's Restaurant in the Strip. But Mr. Isoldi closed that business and began renting the space, his attorney Howard Lehman said.

He said it was too soon to know Mr. Isoldi's plans for it.