Q: I just found out that Sons of Anarchy star Chuck Zito lives in New Rochelle. There was a story, years ago, that he beat up Jean-Claude Van Damme in a Yonkers disco. True? —Alex Findley, Ardsley
A: With a résumé that includes amateur boxing, six styles of martial arts, bodyguard to the stars, and former president of the New York chapter of Hell’s Angels, I want to be careful what I say about the former star of HBO’s Oz and season-five star of Sons of Anarchy.
On February 6, 1998, the Daily News reported that Zito was in the Manhattan (not Yonkers) strip club Scores when his friend Mickey Rourke came in with Van Damme. When Jean-Claude went to the men’s room, he allegedly said some disparaging things about Zito to a bouncer, who then relayed the diss to Chuck.
Zito confronted Van Damme back at the table, and it’s reported that Jean-Claude uttered another insult, took off his glasses and stepped toward Zito.
Big mistake, Jean-Claude.
It was then that Zito reportedly hit him with a right-hand, left-hook combination that sent Van Damme arse-over-tea-kettle to the floor of Scores. Zito later told Howard Stern that he dished out a few more love taps to the Belgian’s flat-topped noggin.
Van Damme claimed in an interview that on the night in question, he had too much champagne, that he “wasn’t himself,” that “a fight happened” and that “nothing happened to me.” He added: “The next day, the gentleman went on [a] radio show and said he fought me and this and that. If he wants to get in the ring with me, it’s no problem; I will win that fight in 60 seconds.”
There were rumors about such a fight being promoted in Madison Square Garden, but, not surprisingly, it never occurred.
Note to Jean-Claude: It’s a bad idea to step up to a man like Zito face-first without your guard up.
Q: I heard that the College of New Rochelle is enmeshed in some sort of financial crisis involving the mishandling of funds. I know [Yankee great] Mariano Rivera is involved with the college. Does it have anything to do with him? —Stanley Gardner, Mamaroneck
A: It has been a tough year for the College of New Rochelle. Last summer, officials reported that without an immediate influx of millions of dollars, the college would have to be shuttered. Fortunately, the college received enough in donations to keep it afloat; it raised additional funds by auctioning some properties. In December, college officials reported an investigation by the trustees into the college’s finances that revealed fabricated budgets. Interim President Dorothy Escribano said, “The information, including the annual budgets supplied to the board, was incorrect and fabricated by the prior controller.”
That controller, Keith Borge, and CNR President Judith Huntington have resigned.
College officials have turned over their reports to US Attorney Preet Bharara’s office, which had declined to comment on the case as of mid-February, but no one who writes this column would be the least bit surprised to see an official investigation launched before too long.
I’m sure CNR would love to call on the bullpen to make this all go away, but there is only so much even “Mo” can do. In 2014, he and wife Clara established a scholarship with the college for students with high academic achievement and committed social service. That’s the extent of their involvement with the college, and nothing has been reported about them having any role whatsoever in the ongoing controversy.
Q: I was watching an episode of CopyCat Killers on the REELZ network, about the Carolyn Warmus case. There was a “crime writer” named Tom Schreck featured on that show. Was that you? —Lizbeth Gowan, Katonah
A: Yes, that was indeed me, grabbing my 15 minutes of fame. Awhile back I wrote about the Warmus case for Westchester Magazine, and the show’s producers called and asked me to be part of the documentary episode they were making on her.
Did my hair look okay?