Bookmaker Granted Bail in Odd Arson Case

In January 2010 a flurry of news reports wrote about a fire in the Middletown restaurant Enzo's.

One of them read: Faulty Fry-O-Later sparks restaurant fire:
"A single-alarm fire started by a faulty Fry-O-Lator inflicted an estimated $250,000 worth of damages at Enzo's Restaurant & Lounge early Sunday morning. One person was injured in the blaze, fire officials said."

The "one person" we now know was the co-owner of the restaurant; he was drunk and somehow got locked inside the place after the other owner started the fire at midnight, according to prosecutors. Earlier in the day, he'd sprayed cooking oil around the kitchen's deep fryer. A professional arsonist had advised the two men earlier that that was the best way to set Enzo's ablaze without getting caught. The arsonist was wrong, as it turns out.

The owner who sprayed around the cooking oil, then started the fire is reportedly a mobbed-up bookmaker indicted moments before the statute of limitations would have precluded him from being charged with the crime.

A judge granted bail this past Tuesday, Jan. 13, for the reputed mob bookmaker connected to the Genovese crime family. He'd been charged the previous week with allegedly trying to burn down the Middletown restaurant in 2010 to bilk the insurance company.

As conditions for his release, prosecutors urged -- and the judge agreed -- that John Barile of East Hartford be prohibited from possessing "a Taster stun gun or any personal defense devices that can send an electric volt."

Criminal defense lawyer Hebert J. Santos said Barile kept the stun gun and cattle prod for personal protection, but has not had the need to use them, according to a report in the Hartford Courant.
Barile, 51, is charged with conspiracy, arson and fraud in an indictment returned Dec. 30, just hours before the statute of limitations ran out on criminal charges associated with an alleged January 2010 fire at Enzo's Restaurant.

According to a published report, Federal law enforcement officers have kept a close eye on Barile since 1994 when he was arrested as part of a crackdown on what was called the Genovese crime family's western New England branch. Gambling in Hartford was the thrust of the case.

Those arrested included Barile and two Genovese captains, Francesco "Skyball" Scibelli and Carmine "Carlo" Mastrototaro, based in Springfield and Worcester, Mass., respectively.

Barile was charged with racketeering and accused of using threats to collect gambling and loan shark debts.

According to FBI sources, he worked for Tony Volpe, the Hartford lounge owner who ran Hartford for the Genovese family.

Barile and an associate from Springfield, a 250-pound former professional wrestler known as "Big Pat" Poland, were given 30-month sentences after pleading guilty to racketeering conspiracy.

According to the indictment:

Barile is accused of plotting to burn down Enzo's with three unidentified co-conspirators, one of whom is his partner in the restaurant. The indictment charges that an associate helped Barile find someone with "specialized knowledge of fire and fireworks." The specialist examined Enzo's and, the indictment says, the conspirators agreed that their best chance to avoid detection would be to stage a fire at the deep fryer in the restaurant kitchen.

Because business is good around Christmas and New Year's Eve, the indictment said, Barile decided to wait until after the holidays to ignite Enzo's. He sprayed cooking oil around the deep fryer to feed the fire and set the fire midnight on a Sunday.

The indictment said Barile's partner was "inebriated" at the time of the alleged arson and, under circumstances that are not explained, remained locked in Enzo's after the fire began. News reports at the time indicate a fire was reported at Enzo's at 12:45 a.m. and a restaurant employee was treated for smoke inhalation and released.

Barile received an insurance payout for the restaurant, including about $165,000 he deposited into a back account he controlled in November. Under the terms of his release on bail, Barile is confined to his residence, but permitted to work for a relative's landscaping business.