One of the hosts of a glitzy Hollywood fundraiser for Illinois Democratic Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias last week has ties to organized crime.
Giannoulias attended a fundraiser in Los Angeles last Tuesday, where one of the hosts was Pamela Abdy, who has also contributed the maximum $4,800 to the Giannoulias campaign.
In 2007, Abdy was identified by federal investigators as the girlfriend of a married New Jersey mobster nabbed on charges he led a multi-billion-dollar illegal gambling ring.
Giannoulias aides said Abdy is no mobster and dismissed questions about her involvement as part of an orchestrated series of Republican attacks on the candidate's character.
Giannoulias has fought allegations of mob connections throughout his campaign for the Senate seat once held by President Obama. Republican foe Mark Kirk has hammered Giannoulias for $20 million in loans his family's bank made to convicted mobster Michael "Jaws" Giorango while the now candidate was the chief loan officer from 2004 to 2007.
Broadway Bank, since shuttered by federal regulators for insufficient holdings, is also reported to have made several other loans to mob figures, but the Giannoulias campaign insists that all client relationships with mob figures were managed by the candidate's brother and father.
For Giannoulias fundraiser Abdy, the organized crime ties go back to New Jersey, not Chicago.
According to the New York Post, in 2007 Abdy was captured on wiretaps talking with her former boyfriend, reputed Lucchese family mobster Joseph "Little Joe" Perna, who complained to her about trying to collect a $105,738 gambling debt but only coming up with $25,000.
The conversations were part of an arrest affidavit that preceded the roundup of Perna and more than two dozen other reputed Lucchese associates and members. Abdy's uncle, former Lucchese New Jersey boss Martin Taccetta, was also arrested.
The group was charged with running a gambling ring that raked in $2.2 billion in 15 months and used violent tactics to collect gaming debts. Perna was indicted this year on charges of racketeering, conspiracy, money laundering and bribery.
Giannoulias aides told FOX News that Abdy was not arrested for anything and was never even investigated. Those same aides point out that Abdy is an award-winning executive at Paramount Pictures, no longer romantically linked with Perna and that it's not fair to lump her in with her mobster uncle.
Communications director for Giannoulias, Kathleen Strand, called the story, "another ridiculous lie being pushed by Congressman Kirk's desperate campaign. His earlier attacks have been called out as false by independent fact check organizations, and this one will find the same resting place."
Kirk spokesperson Kirsten Kukowski responded, "The facts speak for themselves. As Senior Loan Officer at Broadway Bank, Alexi Giannoulias made loans to organized crime figures. Now we learn he's raising money from people with similar track records. The truth is that Alexi Giannoulias' association with mobsters and crime figures prove he lacks the judgment to serve in the United States Senate."
Alexi Giannoulias/Fox News Photo
Jake Gibson is a producer working at the Fox News Washington bureau who covers politics, law enforcement and intelligence issues.