The D.C. Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control began an investigation yesterday to determine whether a New Jersey pizza supply company that authorities allege is a front for organized crime is properly holding the liquor license for a pizza shop it owns in downtown Washington.
The Washington Post disclosed yesterday that Roma Food Enterprises, Inc., a fast-growing New Jersey-based company that authorities asserted recently is tied to organized crime, became the owner of Luciano's pizza restaurant at L'Enfant Plaza earlier this year.
On Nov. 21, the city's Alcoholic Beverage Control Board approved the transfer of the liquor license from the previous owner of Luciano's to a wholly-owned subsidiary of Roma Foods.
"Based on the allegations contained in The Post, we're going to go back and take a look at the entire matter," said Robert Lewis, chairman of the beverage control board.
Lewis, who also is director of the D.C. Department of License Investigations and Inspections, said investigators routinely conduct extensive background checks on liquor license applicants, but he said the agency had not been aware of allegations about Roma Foods possible ties to organized crime.
Roma Roods officials have denied that the company has any such ties.
Beverage control officials evaluate the character of an applicant for a liquor license, including whether he or she has a criminal record. Liquor licenses can also be denied if it can be proved that a company or its officials has had dealings with organized crime figures, Lewis said.
In a public report issued in March 1980, the Pennsylvania Crime Commission alleged that Roma Foods is a front for organized crime.