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All Bets Are Off

18 August 2003

WASHINGTON -- As reported by the (Washington) Post-Gazette: `` After Mickey Flynn attended the swearing-in ceremony for Washington County's elected officials 3 1/2 years ago, one official jokingly wondered whether the courtroom made Flynn nervous.

``So long-running and widespread were the bookmaking rumors that when state authorities charged Flynn two weeks ago with running a sports-betting operation from the Union Grill, his restaurant and bar a block from the county courthouse, some were surprised only that the stories had caught up with him.

``…Announcement of the charges Aug. 7 trumped the story of Gov. Ed Rendell's visit to Washington that day and left residents pondering two questions: What prompted state police and the attorney general's office to go after Flynn and, if the charges are true, how did he operate -- rumors notwithstanding -- under the noses of local law enforcement?

``The attorney general's office said Flynn, 62, of East Washington, and a partner, Charles Martin, 50, of South Strabane, worked with eight bookies

``…Flynn and Martin face a variety of charges, including participating in a corrupt organization, a felony punishable by 20 years in prison. Those identified as bookies face misdemeanor counts of bookmaking, and Cononge also faces felony drug charges because authorities said they found marijuana and steroids in his home.

``…The attorney general's office wouldn't say what led investigators to Flynn, who allegedly charged a 10 percent commission, called 'juice,' on the bets he took…"

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