Prairie State of Mind

By Robert Ecksel on February 7, 2014
Prairie State of Mind
Puccillo and Campuzano ran the boxing commission “like the owners of a private club.”

God broke the mold when he created boxing. Things aren’t as bad as they used to be—take that Frankie Carbo—but the more things change the more they stay the same. Consider, for example, the Illinois Boxing Commission.

The Chicago Tribune reported that state investigators revealed that the two top officials in the commission, Ron Puccillo and his second in command Joel Campuzano, operated “like the owners of a private club, handing out favors and showing little regard for state law.”

Described as a “chaotic and dysfunctional agency little concerned with safety or fairness,” Pucillo and Campuzano were said to be “inexplicably unaware” of the legal requirements of their jobs.

Their inexplicable awareness enabled them to, among other things, collect unauthorized fees in the form of cash from license applicants. In their defense, the two men told investigators they “might have used” some of the money on pizza. In the spirit of collegiality, one of their colleagues, who suggested that the fees amounted to thousands of dollars, said that Puccillo and Campuzano used the money to buy beer as well.

Puccillo “retired amid controversy” in June 2012. Campuzano was placed on leave in March 2011 but returned nine months later, only to be fired, if not for good, in July 2013.

Illinois Executive Inspector General Ricardo Meza, who headed the investigation, said Campuzano “was not aware of many of the key provisions and requirements that govern boxing in the state of Illinois. We didn’t think it was appropriate to have an employee running an agency with such deficiencies.”

Among Campuzano’s “deficiencies” was using his position to benefit family and friends. For example, a boxer managed by Campuzano’s close friend was escorted to the ring by Campuzano’s father for a fight judged by Campuzano’s brother.

According to Susan Hofer, a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Professional and Financial Regulation, the Illinois Boxing Commission “has been completely reorganized” and will no longer accept cash or collect “photo fees.”

When asked by investigators what legal authority permitted him to collect photo fees, Campuzano said he had no idea, adding that his accounting, which amounted to storing cash in a filing cabinet, “was pretty poor.”

In the formal report submitted by the Office of Executive Inspector General of Illinois, the words “incompetence and inefficiency” are used many times to describe what went down in the Prairie State.

But no matter. Campuzano won back his job on appeal in December—with back pay. The arbitrator, Steven Bierig, found the state lacked “just cause” to fire Campuzano.

Campuzano currently earns an annual salary of $92,424.

All’s well that ends well.

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  1. nicolas 01:39am, 02/09/2014

    the above example is very much why State Athletic Commisions should be done away with and it should be a national commission for boxing. Sadly though, I think that there might not be really the interest in making one.

  2. Gaspar 09:46am, 02/08/2014

    Swine that that they are

  3. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 09:16am, 02/08/2014

    Thresher-Campuzano’s ” off the books” operation brings to mind Lee J. Cobb’s “office” in “On the Waterfront” ( ca.1954)....60 long years ago!

  4. Vito Corleone 08:37am, 02/08/2014

    Over to the left we have the guido black turtleneck and necklace ensemble worn by Mr. Puccillo. Cla$$y? FUHGEDDABOUDIT!!

  5. Thresher 08:09am, 02/08/2014

    “When asked by investigators what legal authority permitted him to collect photo fees, Campuzano said he had no idea, adding that his accounting, which amounted to storing cash in a filing cabinet, “was pretty poor.”


  6. Ted 04:28pm, 02/07/2014

    Irish, bad stereotype stuff. they will have some fine Italian cuisine in River Forest accompanied by some even finer wine and then go to the brothel in Northlake where they will be serviced by very expensive women of the night.

    Maybe farts later, but plenty of sweet dreams.

  7. Eric 02:12pm, 02/07/2014

    Those two goombahs pictured above look like a couple of bad stereotypes. Chris Matthews was neutered years ago.

  8. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 01:42pm, 02/07/2014

    If that’s Campuzano on the right in the photo above….he’s doing a great Joe Pesci impression! Guys like Puccillo and Campuzano don’t give a fug about the safety and welfare of the boxers or the state of boxing….as far as fighting goes….for them it’s all about sucker punches and kicks to the face when you’re down….if you try to defend…...out come the lead pipes…if your sins are too grievous in their eyes….get ready for a ride in the trunk out to the countryside where a couple of well placed .22LRs in the brain pan will ensure you a nice long sleep… forever….then back to town for them where they will suck up some suds and inhale some deep dish pizza….then back home to spend the rest of the night farting in wifey’s face under the covers.

  9. Ted 01:15pm, 02/07/2014

    Chris Matthews is bile inducing and was hatched, He has no mother.

  10. Ted 01:14pm, 02/07/2014

    In Chicago, say it rather than write it. Or, nod rather than say it. Or, shrug your shoulders rather than nod. Or, wink rather than nod.

    And remember, Illinois is the only state where the governor’s name in not on the license plate. In Illinois, the governors make license plates.

  11. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 01:12pm, 02/07/2014

    Speaking of Chicago….“If Obama would tell me to shoot my mother…..I would do it.” (Chris Matthews)....gotcha!...actually (Heinrich Himmler) declaring his fealty to Adolf Hitler.

  12. Anonymous 01:11pm, 02/07/2014

    Kind on the right does not look very trustworthy

  13. Thresher 12:56pm, 02/07/2014

    Hmm, “..operated “like the owners of a private club…” That kind of reminds me of something.

  14. Ted 12:55pm, 02/07/2014

    Great article and it touches on one of the reasons I left Chicago as soon as I could and never looked back. It is the most corrupt sewer on the face of the Earth.

    Keep these kinds of articles coming , Robert, because they expose the dark side of boxing which will be the name of my next book.

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