Oddsmaker testifies about Pete Rose's gambling

By RICK VAN SANT  |  Aug. 30, 1989
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CINCINNATI -- A horse racing oddsmaker testified Wednesday that Pete Rose was half-owner of a $47,646 winning race track ticket and collected one-third of the money but instructed a friend to claim the prize for tax purposes.

'Tommy (Gioiosa) wasn't trying to commit fraud,' Bruce Battaglia testified, referring to Rose's friend. 'He didn't know what he was doing.'

After Gioiosa cashed the ticket on Jan. 16, 1987, he gave all the money to Rose, who kept one-third of the winnings for himself, gave one-third to Battaglia and the final one-third to Gioiosa and Paul Janszen to split, Battaglia testified.

Janszen, Rose's chief accuser in a baseball gambling investigation that led to Rose's banishment from the sport last week, also testified Wednesday that Rose told Gioiosa to claim the winning ticket 'so you can show some income, I've paid enough damn money to the IRS.'

The testimony of Battaglia and Janszen, which was supported by testimony from several other witnesses, came in the tax and drug trial of Gioiosa, but it could be damaging to Rose later.

Although Rose is not involved in the Gioiosa trial, many published reports citing unidentified sources have said Rose is the subject of a federal grand jury investigation into possible tax evasion.

Wednesday's testimony directly contradicted statements Rose made to baseball investigators earlier this year. 'When asked whether he was a winner on the Jan. 16, 1987, ticket, Rose said that he was not,' baseball investigators reported.

But Battaglia was very specific in his recollection of Rose's participation in the Jan. 16, 1987, 'Pik-Six' bet at Turfway Park in nearby Florence, Ky., in which the bettor must pick the winners of six consecutive races.

'I participated -- it was me, Pete, Tommy and Paul,' said Battaglia. 'I picked it at home the night before. Pete paid for half the ticket and Tommy and Paul paid for half.

'When we won, Pete said Tommy needed to cash it, because he needed to show some income (on his income tax return). Pete took one-third of the winnings, gave me one-third and gave Tommy and Paul one-third to split.'

Gioiosa's 1987 income tax form shows $47,646 in gambling winnings. There was no testimony concerning Rose's tax forms.

Asked by defense lawyer Martin Weinberg about his gambling 'accusations' against Rose, Janszen shot back, 'You're saying the word 'accusing,' I'm telling the truth. I was a witness. We (Rose, Gioiosa and Janszen) were all friends back then.'

Gioiosa, 31, of New Bedford, Mass., who previously lived for several years with Rose, is charged with defrauding the Internal Revenue Service and distributing cocaine.

A former Gioiosa girlfriend, Rose Fehrenbech-Billicer, testified Wednesday that Gioiosa had no job, but carried thousand of dollars in cash in his sock, owned expensive items and gave her expensive gifts like an $8,000 diamond ring. She said she suspected he was using cocaine.

If convicted of all charges against him, Gioiosa could be sent to prison for up to 38 years and fined up to $2 million.

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