Gioiosa said that Rose never bet against the Reds. He also said that Rose gambled "phenomenal" sums and "had to sell his memorabilia and go to card shows to get cash for gambling." Gioiosa said that as of last weekend he had not been subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury in Cincinnati that is looking into whether Rose failed to report income from gambling, memorabilia sales and appearances at card shows.
Gioiosa refused to discuss New York memorabilia dealer and card-show promoter Mike Bertolini, who, according to baseball's investigative report, allegedly placed bets on Rose's behalf with New York bookies. The U.S. Postal Service has told ST that it is investigating Bertolini—Rose's partner in Hit King Marketing, a company that organized baseball-card and memorabilia shows—for possible mail fraud. Postal investigators told SI correspondent Kristina Rebelo that in a raid on Bertolini's mother's Staten Island, N.Y., home last October, they confiscated various materials. They said they found a spiral notebook containing what looked to be detailed betting information, including a number of apparent basketball and baseball wagers—among them bets on Reds games—listed next to the name "Pete." Bertolini has denied any involvement in bookmaking and he denies that the notebook was his. He says it belonged to one of his friends.
"What would that mean?" Bertolini said when he was asked by SI recently about the notation "Pete" in the notebook and whether it referred to Pete Rose. "Is he [Rose] the only one named Pete in the whole world?"
Gioiosa tried to explain why he remained loyal to Rose even when he saw him gambling illegally. Gioiosa said that being a pal of Rose's always gave him "goose bumps. By being Pete Rose's friend I got to meet actors and top sports figures." Gioiosa also cited material benefits. "When I was with Pete, he took care of me," he said. "I never had to pay rent. I had a nice automobile, a nice place to live, always had money in my pocket."