Former owner of bankrupt Milford strip club explains $87,000 check from notorious mobster

BRIDGEPORT — The former president of a Milford strip club told a judge that an $87,000 check he cashed from a notorious mobster months before declaring bankruptcy was a “red herring which does not require further investigation.

But the judge disagreed Tuesday in a federal court hearing, granting a Justice Department lawyer a request for more time to gather information and evidence in the case of Joseph Regensburger, who ran the Keepers Gentlemen’s Club on Woodmont Road when he lost a lawsuit by six exotic dancers saying they weren’t being paid minimum wage or overtime.

Shortly after losing the case, Regensburger filed for bankruptcy in federal court. There, an attorney representing the dancers said bank documents he had subpoenaed show Regensburger cashed thousands of dollars in checks signed by Gus Curcio, a notorious former mobster involved with the club, from a corporation in limited liability that he controls.

The checks totaled “well over $100,000” during the one-year look-back period given to bankruptcy authorities to search a debtor’s assets, according to a filing by Holley L. Claiborne, a federal attorney. representing the trustee of the United States, which oversees bankruptcy files.

In his own filing, Regensburger said at least one of the checks he signed — dated June 11, 2020 and made out to “Cash” for $87,000 — is a “red herring.

That’s because Regensburger said the funds from the check, from the Curcio-related LLC called Majestic Management, “were immediately deposited” at the same bank into an account of another Curcio-connected LLC, Millennium Group Management.

Regensburger describes itself as a “runner” for business.

“The (United States Trustee) does not need more time to investigate anything in order to file a motion to dismiss or object to a discharge,” Regensburger wrote in court on January 12.

Claiborne did not comment on Regensburger’s explanation during Tuesday’s hearing, but asked Judge Julie Manning for more time to gather information.

“The U.S. Trustee believes it is appropriate to ask Mr. Regensburger questions and get answers about what happened to those funds and what was the purpose of those cashed checks,” she said. “We need time to investigate this.”

Asked by the judge why he opposed Claiborne’s request, Regensburger said, “I think it’s been going on for a long time.”

He referred to his written objection, but said he did not remember what was written there.

So the judge read it back to him, noting that in his filing he said he couldn’t afford a lawyer and was “completely at a loss as to how to proceed.”

“When you file (for bankruptcy), unfortunately, you are subjecting yourself to this court and to the actions that other parties can take under the bankruptcy code,” Manning told Regensburger. “One of the things creditors are allowed to do under the bankruptcy code is to object to a debtor’s discharge.”

The judge noted that information about the cash-denominated checks only recently came to light.

“Because they just discovered this information, they have the right to explore it a little bit,” she said, noting that if the US administrator files a complaint in the case, it will be up to them to prove all the claims they make.

“Unfortunately, we’re still at a point where the scales are tipped more in favor of the U.S. administrator than you are at this time with respect to this information,” Manning said, announcing she would pursue the matter until further notice. in April. “I will accept their motion over your objection and we will see what happens.”

Krayeske said he has a Regensburger deposition scheduled for Feb. 9 in Bridgeport. A hearing on March 8 is also scheduled in the bankruptcy case.

He told the judge he appreciated her extending the case after he said he was “extraordinarily confused” by Regensburger’s explanation.

“For my life, I can’t understand why you negotiate a check to cash and then immediately deposit it in the same bank into a business account that’s in the same bank,” he said. “Instead of making the check cash, why didn’t they make the check payable to Millennium Group Management and just ask Mr. Regensburger to deposit it?” It baffles the imagination as to why they would do this.

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