A marquee sign outside Satin Dolls, the Lodi, New Jersey strip club that served as inspiration and shooting location for Bada Bing on the HBO mob drama “The Sopranos,” proclaims that the establishment is about to greet customers once again.
The gentlemen’s club on Route 17 was forced to shut its doors in December 2017 when the state attorney general ordered it to sell or transfer its liquor license due to criminal allegations against its owner, Anthony “Tony Lodi” Cardinalle.
Cardinalle was charged that May with criminal solicitation for prostitution and lewd activity on the premises. Authorities say Cardinalle continued to run the club despite being barred from doing so. They also say the club failed to account for large amounts of cash moving in and out. The charges remain pending.
But despite the “grand reopening” sign, the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control said Satin Dolls cannot recommence business just yet: the office is still reviewing prospective buyers for the club’s liquor license, said Lisa Coryell, a spokeswoman for the agency.
“The club will not reopen until the license has been transferred to (a) bona fide third party,” she said in an email.
Highway Entertainment LLC, which holds the liquor license for Satin Dolls, was sold in December to Spotswood-based Satin Entertainment LLC, according to a public notice posted in The Record.
According to the De. 28 notice, Joseph Pallonetti of Parkland, Florida, is the sole member of Satin Entertainment.
Pallonetti could not be reached for comment.
“Traditionally, when liquor licenses are sold, ownership is transferred from one corporate entity to another,” Coryell said in a statement. “The process was handled differently in this case in that the applicant purchased shares of the existing corporate entity that owns the Satin Dolls liquor license.”
The license can’t operate until Satin Dolls’ new owner has been approved by the ABC, Coryell said.
Jake Santulli, who stopped by the club last week while traveling from California, said the go-go bar appeared close to reopening. It still closely resembled the fictional Bada Bing from “The Sopranos,” a nude bar that was the scene of many of the HBO show’s most memorable moments.
“It literally looked like they could have shot an episode last week,” Santulli said.
Satin Dolls and its owners had been under state investigation for six years when then-Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino in December ordered it to close, he said then.
The ABC has alleged that although Anthony Cardinalle was criminally disqualified from continuing to run the club, he continued to do so behind the scenes. The owners also have not accounted for large amounts of money flowing in and out of the bar, Porrino said.
Shades of The Sopranos
In 2013, Cardinalle pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy and conspiracy to commit extortion by participating in an illegal plan by the Genovese crime family related to the waste-disposal industry in New Jersey and New York. Cardinalle was sentenced to 30 days in jail and ordered to pay a fine and restitution.
The ABC has said Cardinalle kept running Satin Dolls and A.J.’s Gentleman’s Club in Secaucus. He told Lodi police he was the owner of Satin Dolls after a 2015 robbery there, the ABC said.
Cardinalle also pleaded guilty in 1995 to federal tax evasion after he failed to report cash payments from strip clubs where he held undisclosed interests, Porrino said.
A 2011 consent order mandated that Luceen Cardinalle, who was listed as the only shareholder of both clubs, transfer the liquor license to her daughter, Loren Cardinalle, according to Porrino. The daughter then had to transfer the liquor license to a third party and has been granted many extensions to do so, Porrino said.