Please note: This article is published as an archive copy from Philadelphia City Paper. My City Paper is not affiliated with Philadelphia City Paper. Philadelphia City Paper was an alternative weekly newspaper in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The last edition was published on October 8, 2015.

June 27–July 4, 1996

political notebook|The Love Boat

Mary Frangipanni's Political Notebook

By Mary Frangipanni


While Republicans control the Tidal Basin, Democrats ruled the waves on the Delaware River Monday night as Register of Wills Ron Donatucci held his annual summer boat cruise down the Delaware. Donatucci is just about the only politician that is popular enough to fill an entire ship on both the upper and lower decks.

Hundreds of guests sported the latest in cruisewear as they filed onto the boat and were greeted by the red bombshell, AngelaCinquino — Donatucci's right-hand woman at the office.

High profile attorney and long time Donatucci amigo Carmen Nasuti was out and about for the first time since concluding the long and involved second half of the John Stanfa mob trial. Nasuti represented Luigi Tripodi, one of the 16 defendants in the Stanfa trial, with the most recent verdict being a hung jury.

Even with all that behind him, Nasuti is not done giving legal advice.

On the boat, he was offering his opinion on Mayor Ed Rendell'sDomestic Partnership executive order which is expected to enter the courtroom soon as a result of Council President John Street's lawsuit.

"The judge will have to decide whether or not gays and lesbians fall under the discrimination class," said Nasuti. "They will need to be identified as a specific group. So far we have race, sex, and religious discrimination; the next discrimination category could very well be sexual preference."

South Philadelphia made a big splash with 1st District Councilman Frank DiCicco and Democratic ward leaders Senator Buddy Cianfrani (2nd Ward) and George Badame (1st Ward), who appeared with his blondiful wife, Mary.

Cianfrani was not talking politics and instead chose to relax with old friends Lynn Ciafre and Frank Gerace.

"I am not sitting with any politicians tonight, said the ward leader. "I need a break.""

DiCicco said he is definitely with Rendell on Domestic Partnership and doubts that Street could have mustered up the 12 votes from City Council to veto the mayor.

Guests always feel better with a doctor on board. Noted Broad Street physician Nicholas DePace attended along with famous steak purveyors Frank "Pat" and Ritamarie Oliveri of Pat's Steaks. Furniture magnate Joe Verdi and foreign car specialists Carole and Bobby Capone also graced the decks.

From farther north came Port Richmond socialite and 45th Ward Leader Gerry Kosinski. Kibbitzing with Kosinski was City Controller Jonathan Saidel, Philadelphia Federal Teachers Union mahoff Ted Hirsh and 1997 Common Pleas judicial candidate Steve Kaplan.

Celebrities included former heavy weight boxing champion JoeFrazier and former middleweight champion Joey Giardello. Giardello held the world title from 1963 to 1965. "I was in his corner," said Cianfrani.

Frazier looked amazingly well despite having accidently run over his big toe with a lawn mover a few weeks ago. Frazier, a Center City resident, who has no lawn, was mowing a friend's grass out in Chester when the accident occurred, resulting in Frazier's loss of his toe. In a jubilant mood, nevertheless, Frazier was excited about a young man who trained in Frazier's famous gym, Terrance Cauthen. Cauthen is on his way to the Olympics in Atlanta to compete in boxing.

Other notorieties included Imam Shamsud Din-Ali, Philadelphia leader of the Masjid Muslims, and his wife Faridah. Anyone who wants to seek political office in this town should first seek Shamsud — that is the word among potential candidates.

Guests grazed on Caesar salad, roast beef, roast turkey, stuffed flounder and Italian delectables.

John Paone, in line for some nourishment, said he had just been on a river cruise last week but on a much smaller ship. State Rep. Denny O'Brien had hosted a fundraiser recently, "but he didn't have nearly as many guests as Ronnie," said Paone.

Some Democrats on the upper deck were discussing Saidel and District Attorney Lynn Abraham. Both are up for re-election and some feel that both may run for mayor. Saidel makes about as many appearances around town as Councilman Frank Rizzo. Word surrounding Abraham is that she may be receiving a federal judgeship sometime before the end of the year and that is her true desire. Others disagree and say that she will run for mayor in 1999 as a Republican.

Talk then returned to the vehemence of Street's opposition to Domestic Partnership.

One waterbound wag suggested that Street's position is payback for the overwhelming support given to former opponent Julie Welker by gays and lesbians.

Guests schmoozed and cruised into the evening and most wound up on the dance floor bopping to the sounds from Pure Magic DJs.

DiCicco was in demand as he danced the Macarena with numerous attractive women. Guests were having such a good time that they stayed on board despite the impending rain storms. "This is more fun than my bowling league night," remarked one young attorney as he left for the Aztec Club with several newly met female friends.

Big Ben

It is never too soon to test the waters, raise big money and put your hat in the ring. And that's what Republican attorney Ben Paul is about to do. Paul has already begun his 1999 mayoral campaign and sent out hundreds of letters this week to potential supporters inviting them to attend his kick-off fundraiser as a GOP mayoral candidate.

In his letter, on his law office stationary, Paul writes that Philadelphia will be at a crossroads in the 1999 election when Rendell leaves and that John Street will most likely be the Democratic front-runner. Paul is abundantly clear when he says he is anticipating the Republican nomination.

"The city's future is at stake and without a Republican administration, our city will be in serious trouble," writes Paul. He is asking for a modest $500 donation for his fundraiser.

Cocktails will be served on the veranda of the Philmont Country Club on July 23. The event is being hosted by long time business associate Gordon Saul and his wife Linda.

In hopes of becoming the endorsed GOP candidate, Paul has been observed lunching with the various powers that be in the Republican Party.

Mary Frangipanni can be reached at 735-8444, ext. 314, or via e-mail, franni@cpcn.com.

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