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February 24, 2012 - 8:54am

Two city firefighters accused of bookmaking

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.
Gregory Phillips Brian Bordinaro Lance Engel

UPDATED 10:07 a.m.

UPDATED 9:12 a.m.

Authorities report they have broken up an illegal gambling operation in the city that was being run by three men, including two city firefighters.

The trio was allegedly involved in running sports books, according to Sheriff Gary Maha.

Maha said investigators seized gambling records, computers and mobile phones.

"We won't know the extent of the operation until these are analyzed," Maha said, but he said investigators believe the client list was extensive.

The firefighters allegedly involved were possibly accepting bookmaking calls on their mobile phones while on duty at the city fire hall, Maha said.

The three men, who all live in Batavia, were charged with criminal possession of gambling records, a Class E felony. They were arraigned in city court and jailed without bail.

Firefighter Gregory Phillips, 39, of Belvedere Lane, was also charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, after investigators allegedly found a small amount of cocaine during a search of his residence.

The other city firefighter charged was Brian Bordinaro, 43, of Prospect Avenue.

Also arrested was Lance Engel, 41, of Wade Avenue.

Investigators executed a total of four search warrents -- one on each suspect's home, and one on the lockers at the fire hall of the two city firefighters.

Phillips and Bordinaro were suspended from their jobs. Under NYS civil service law, they will continue to receive their salaries until the investigation is concluded.

The arrests were the culmination of a six-month investigation by the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force along with the Batavia PD, the Sheriff's Office and the District Attorney's Office. Maha said City Fire Chief Jim Maxwell and city administration cooperated in the investigation.

City Manager Jason Molino's office released a statement saying when city officials became aware of the alleged gambling operation, law enforcement was informed, which led to the investigation.

UPDATE 1:55 p.m.: Lance Engel is also a public employee, according to state records. He works as a cook at the Western New York Veterans Home in Batavia.

(The Batavian's news partner, WBTA, assisted in coverage of this story.)

casey luttrell
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Who cares! It is a victimless crime. I'm sure there are much worse things taking place in the city of batavia and genesee county. Police waste 6 months on busting some small time bookies when it wont make a single difference whether they are operating or not. The only reason is because the government can't have their piece of the money so they can waste it and spend it frivolously.

Marie Smith
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I agree with you Casey!

Stephanie Holmes
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I pretty much agree with Casey too.

Tom Gilliatt
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If it were not so hard to make a living this kind of stuff might not be going on and I agree with Casey BIG deal just gives cops and peeps like that something to do:\

P.S How many homes and lives did these guys save????????? Bet they won't think of that!

Bruce Ross
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All three were arraigned in City Court and jailed without bail... Really jailed without bail for what reason im sure especially the 2 firefighters have an extensive criminal record...

jeff saquella
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i too agree with casey and the rest of the forum.....big freaking deal....harmless activity

Kyle Couchman
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On its face, my philosiphy is a crime is a crime, this can be dealt with better than it has so far. However the jailed without bail is a bit much. A cocky 24 yr old woman can punch and break the face of a 70 yr old woman on Christmas eve and be home in time for Christmas Eve Mass but these guys get no bail. Seems a bit ridiculous to me.

Charlie Mallow
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I really hate police blotters.

Rex Lampke
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More typical nanny state bullcrap Leave us alone you totalitarian jerks!

scott kibler
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Really? I do agree that is a victimless crime, but a crime never the less, and I don't know what city firefighters make but I think its a pretty good Salary. And as far as I know cocaine possession is still a crime, from a city fireman no less. As city tax payers that pay there Salary,Is this the kind of people you want on your payroll?

John Woodworth JR
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Amazing how the State calls gambling a crime. Like Casey stated, the State is not getting their cut. Even though that is not the only reason. Protecting people from fraud, harm and being cheated are other reasons. Then again machines are rigged to allow so many winners otherwise Casinos would loss too much money.

Tom is right on how people overlook the many positives that one does to focus on one negative.

Kyle great point! After all, I thought using no bail is given to flight risk or severe felonies?

Marie Smith
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I can tell you one thing if you think all of your city workers are straight shooters than you are a fool. There are good people who do stupid things in this world it doesn't mean they aren't good people, or good at what they do. And these guys are the ones being held accountable for this crime wich means there were people placing bets with them, it takes two to tango!

John Woodworth JR
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I am curious who said anything about thinking all city workers are straight shooters? You can watch the evening news and almost daily hear about another corrupted federal, state or local official. I am just asking because, the statement refers to you.

"There are good people who do stupid things in this world it doesn't mean they aren't good people, or good at what they do."

Marie this point is right on!

Lori Silvernail
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Marie is right... and I'll bet there's a whole lot of pants crappin going on today. The cocaine is another matter altogether.

John Woodworth JR
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Oh, I missed the alleged cocaine possession charge. Well MR Phillip better hope that it was powder foot medication.

Marie Smith
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I was just referring to " as city tax payers is this the kind of people you want on your payroll" comment.
I think we should be more worried about the sexual predators and the drug dealers in genesee county.

casey luttrell
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Yes Lori you are right. The cocaine is unacceptable as well as any other drug. The police do an excellent job of suppressing drug use and drug manufacturing by finding and busting all the meth labs and dealer houses. Those are matters that are very important. We are lucky to have the police force that we have. I guess I just have a different opinion of gambling because: using or selling drugs is never ok, but you can head over to the Batavia downs and lose your whole paycheck and that is fine because NY gets their cut.

Thomas Schneider
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Jury Nullification

jeff saquella
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im willing to bet that the only reason these guys got busted was 1...........somebody who owed a lot of money arranged it or 2....somebody's wife complained to police in order to get their husband to stop gambling

Beth Kinsley
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I'm just wondering if the City has mandatory drug testing for employees. I know that I had to pass a hair follicle drug test for my job.

Tammy Way
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anyone wanna bet how this turns out ---lol -- just kidding

Billie Owens
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Drug testing needs to be random and ongoing for it to have the greatest effect.

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