500 Club Owner Lives Up To 'Mr. Atantic City' Title goes and or 14 inch 38 Ed's Note: His fans say he's the best of the good guys. His detractors charge he's the worst of the bad guys. He's a close friend of Frank Sinatra and sometime partner. He runs a lavish nightclub, the 500. And he believes legalized casino gambling such as he used to run in Nevada would be a boom to the Jersey Shore. Trenton Times newsman Herb Wolfe inter viewed D'Amato for two hours and views him as a man to be reckoned with if and when casino gambling is introduced in New Jersey's No. 1 resort. By HERB WOLFE Trenton Times ATLANTIC CITY (AP) - It isn't easy being "Mr. Atlantic City," Just ask Paul "Skinny" D'Amato, the man who has proudly carried that title since it was conferred upon him at a birthday celebration last summer. The party, though, only confirmed what Skinny D'Amato already suspected that he is Atlantic City's best known resident. Some might even say he's a symbol of the seashore community . D'Amato owns the 500 Club here, and he numbers among his friends a distinguished distinguished collection of judges, politicians, businessmen, entertainers, newsmen, clergymen and police officials. But not everybody loves Skinny. The phone at the 500 Club has been tapped for seven years, he says. State police often observe the nightclub's clientele. Some people just won't forget a little trouble he had with the law 30 years ago, D'Amato says. On a recent afternoon when the temperatures temperatures outside were below freezing and the wind was strong, D'Amato walked through the empty 500 Club with a visitor, explaining the recent additions and alterations. alterations. The kitchen has been tripled in size. The club's main room now seats 1,000 persons. Back at a table in Angelo's, his restaurant restaurant adjoining the nightclub, D'Amato complained about the lack of business and the cost of renovations. The combination has almost busted him, he said. The conversation turned to gambling. He was manager of Frank Sinatra's Cal-Neva Cal-Neva Cal-Neva Lodge at Lake Tahoe, Nev., before the singer was forced to give up his interest by the Nevada Gaming Control Board. The control board objected to Sinatra's friendship with Chicago underworld figure Sam Giancenz, one of 11 people who were prohibited from visiting Nevada. After Sinatra sold the Cal-Neva Cal-Neva Cal-Neva in 1963, D'Amato returned to the 500 Club. Legalized gambling, he said, is what Atlantic City needs to get back on its feet again. Not that D'Amato wants a piece of the action. "What do I need that for?, he asked. "I'm getting old. All I want to do is sell this place." If, however, the New Jersey Legislature and the state's voters decide that roulette, blackjack, dice and slot machines should legally become as much a part of Atlantic City as Miss America and the boardwalk, then... It is conceivable, D'Amato said, that he could convert the 500 Club's main room into a casino and add a new room for shows and dinners on property he owns behind the nightspot. The best way for Atlantic City to handle legalized gambling, D'Amato continued, would be to tear down the old hotels and build plush new casinos in their place. Make it another Vegas. "It's not hard to do. You get your license, then get a group of guys. You get $500,000 from this one, $500,000 from that one, $500,000 from another one and you build. It's got to be done right." D'Amato indicated that Atlantic City could use the activity. The city doesn't have any bookie joints, big numbers play or organized crime, he said. The only numbers activity is among the city's large black population, he said. D'Amato has his doubts about whether the state legislature will vote to hold a referendum on legalized gambling in Atlantic Atlantic City. If it doesn't, D'Amato said, the fault lies with Gov. William T. Cahill. "I don't know why he's against it," D'Amato said. "He doesn't have anything to do with it. You know, he's even written letters against it." One politician D'Amato does like is Sen. Frank S. (Hap) Farley, R-Atlantic. R-Atlantic. R-Atlantic. "Senator Farley has been good for Atlantic City," D'Amato said. "He's got a lot done." D'Amato has a lot of friends and visitors at the 500 Club. At a Christmas Eve party at D'Amato's home, Frank Sinatra called with a Yuletide greeting. Dean Martin;: who met Jerry Lewis at the 500 in the late; 1940s, joined in the telephone conversaC tion. C Camden County Judge Angelo Malandra; was toastmaster at the surprise birthday party last summer. A frequent visitor in the past was Angela Bruno, currentlv beine held at the Yard-T Yard-T Yard-T ville Correction Center for failing to an- an- swer questions posed by the New Jersey crime commission. D'Amato is irritated that people talk about "the mob boss" going to me duu ciud. "Bruno has been coming down here (Atlantic City) since he was 10," D'Amato said. "Why shouldn't he come here? Lots of people do." Looking around his restaurant, Angelo's, Angelo's, D'Amato squelched speculation that the place was named after Bruno. "It was named for my boy, Angelo," he said. D'Amato can't figure out why everyone doesn't understand him. About 33 vears aeo he did a stretch in the penitentiary in Lewisburg after being convicted as a "white slaver." Three years later there was a gambling conviction conviction and a suspended sentence. There hasn't been much since then except an income tax evasion indictment ; and a voting fraud charge. Both of them, ; D'Amato said, are bad raps. What angers D'Amato is the way the J news media play up everything he does. The voting fraud charge followed a probe of Atlantic County's voter registra- registra- . tion list. D'Amato, the investigation; showed, had a home in Ventnor, but used the 500 Club as his voting address. "I pick up the paper and it says D'Amato ; charged with vote fraud in headlines this big," he said, holding his thumb and '. lorefinger about three inches apart. "They ; made it sound like I fixed the election, or something." ; Then there was the time about three vears ago when the police raided a ' .synagogue in Atlantic City and broke up a i gambling operation. D'Amato recalled ; hat Arthur Sills, the state's former attor- attor- ' ley general, accused him of taking a 50 ; per cent cut from the play. D'Amato shook his head in wonder. . "I don't take. I give," he said. ; Despite the publicity and the ups and lowns of business, D'Amato has survived. I "In this whole country, who do people ' think of when they think of Atlantic City?" he asked. ; "Hap Farley?," the visitor replied, after ; a few seconds of thought. "No," D'Amato said, slapping his palm I on the table, his voice rising. "He's not j even best known in New Jersey. It's me, Skinny D'Amato." ' Fired Employe Seized in Theft A fired employe and two companions were arrested yesterday on charges of breaking and entering the Malaga Gulf Station, and the loot valued at $552 was restored intact to the owner. William Edgar Cartwright, 19, of Broad st., Clayton, the gas station employe fired Friday by Paul Van Schoick, was released on $500 bail, as were Donald Charles Lentine, 18, of Deisea dr., Hurffville, and John Matthew Burdick, 18, of Poichtown rd., Franklinville. Trooper J. G. Keller, after intensive investigation, nabbed the suspects with the stolen articles. These were a single barrel shotgun valued at $50; a double barrel shotgun, $90; a Remington automatic automatic rifle, $150; a seven-rack seven-rack seven-rack tape cassette cassette and two speakers, $75, plus $187.23 in cash. The guns, property of Van Scnoick, happened to be in the station, also the tape cassette and speakers, a Christmas present to his young son. The theft occurred some time between midnight and 6 a.m. yesterday at the gas station at the junction of Deisea dr. and Harding hwy. and the arrest was made during the day. Ancient Egyptian doctors gave their patients a sharp blow on the head to render them unconscious during an operation. operation.