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Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Cafaro Company not involved in alleged kickback scheme in any way, company spokesman says

Joe Bell, Cafaro Company’s vice president of real estate, said today the company’s former vice president of real estate, who was indicted in August on kickback scheme charges, hasn’t worked for the mall builder in 15 years.

Benjamin Viloski was employed by Cafaro Company from 1985 to 1994. The scheme Viloski and three other men are accused of hatching didn’t start until 1998, according to the indictment filed Aug. 5.

Bell said the press in Ohio have been hounding the company about the story that was published yesterday in the Ohio Business Journal. He said Cafaro executives are upset the connection was even made to the company.

The indictment never mentions Cafaro Company, and the company is not accused of any wrongdoing.

Viloski, who was acting as the attorney for Dick’s Sporting Goods, and three other men are accused of creating fictitious companies that billed landlords for broker work on behalf of Dick’s Sporting Goods. The work was never performed.

Bell said it is common practice for large retailers, such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, to hire a real estate broker to find the best marketable locations for the business. The broker will negotiate a lease agreement for the business with the landlord.


Most retailers require the landlord to pay the broker fees, that is usually based on square footage of the building the business is locating to. Cafaro Company, as the landlord of several malls in the country, including the Spotsylvania Towne Centre, routinely pays these fees.

“Once we pay the fee, we don’t know what happens to the money,” Bell said. “It is the broker’s money at this point. We were in the dark as much as Dick’s was about this thing.”

Bell said Cafaro Company paid the alleged fictitious company four times, including bills for the Dick’s Sporting Goods in the Spotsylvania mall.

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  • MAVRICKinc

    Dan: on October 27, 2009 (2:33 pm) you blog your readers about the Business Journal of Ohio and an article they had running about a FORMER Cafaro executive and a FORMER Dick Sporting Goods executive.

    While you explain Spotsylvania Towne Center is mentioned in the indictment, you report “not once is the Cafaro Company or any other current or former employees of the of the business” (Cafaro) mentioned. The Ohio Business Journal is the only source that brings the defendant Viloski in connection with the Cafaro Co.

    End of story? NO.

    “EINSTEIN” weighs in on this same story 27 minutes later (October 27, 2009, 3:00pm on Freehlings blog site addressing “Area Sales Tax Data.” EINSTEIN’s comment is titled almost the same as yours: “Cafaro Malls Embroiled in Kickback Scam.”

    Not even one day later, October 28, 2009, 12:15 pm your writing what appears to be a retraction: “Cafaro Company not involved in alleged kickback scheme in any way, COMPANY SPOKESPERSON SAYS.”

    Simple question: Why didn’t either one of you CALL CAFARO FIRST? Or, were you too busy making news instead of reporting it?

    I don’t even think Larryg, myself or Gramps filled up this much blog space and nothing else to account for.

    The election is less than a week away and this blog site appears on its way to oblivion or a 512 character news site. If the FLS, your editor or his editor are withdrawing, why don’t you just say and be done with the aggravation that comes when there’s more room to wiggle than wait.

  • dantelvock

    Marty, here is another case of you making rash assumptions based on no fact. In no way was this post a retraction, and may I suggest you read the original blog where it says: “The indictment does not once name the Cafaro Co. or any other current or former employees of the business. The business journal makes the Viloski connection with the Cafaro Co.”

    Is that not clear? The second blog was to clarify the point even more, but more to reveal how the process works, according to Mr. Bell.

    Am I now part of the conspiracy?

  • MAVRICKinc

    The question was and still is…why didn’t you (plural) call first?

    You don’t have to justify your journalism skills to me. If you want to make news instead of reporting it, that’s OK with me.

    When are you guys going to get off this conspiracy theory picture you keep painting every time I put put facts on the boards and ask questions you can’t bring yourself to answer or address?

    Dan, it’s OK. You can invoke the hearsay rule all you want. The only conspiracy going on is when YOU, not me, allow your imagination to take over your powers of reasoning, listening or understanding what you just heard, saw or failed to record on your tape recorder. There is nothing wrong with perception being your truth and how you translate your take on reality.

    And NO, I have no expectations that you understood what I just said. If you are not going to be more responsive, next time you decide to retaliate, you, your editor, Larryg and Gramps might want to announce this Blog site is off limits to anyone with an opinion, other than those endorsed by the FLS.

    Remember, you’re the one who announced the increase in the size of this blog. I even recall Larryg making comment that you and him may have made a mistake opening this site to more detailed comments.

    Simply said, if the vote has been taken, why can’t you or the FLS just say you’re closing down the site, instead of engaging in an exchange of information that doesn’t get any better than a 512 character sound bite.

    Dan, its your show. If muzzle by journalistic muscle is your thing, go for it. I’ll still take the FLS, just in case some news worthy items don’t make it to the internet.