Alex Constantine - December 22, 2007
TIME MACHINE/DEC. 10, 2001: "Jersey Films ups Abdy to exec VP --
Rising prod'n exec called 'indispensable,' readying 'High'"
By JONATHAN BING
HOLLYWOOD -- Jersey Films has upped PAMELA ABDY from senior VP to exec VP, production. Abdy came to the film and TV company as a college intern in 1995.
She quickly became Jersey partner Danny DeVito's exec assistant, rising to veep of production three years later.
Jersey partners DeVito, Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher called Abdy "an indispensable executive," adding: "She started her career at Jersey Films, and we hope she stays here forever."
Abdy, who was an associate producer of "Man on the Moon" and co-producer of "The Caveman's Valentine," is exec producer of Jersey's forthcoming comedy, "How High." That pic, which features hip-hop stars Redman and Method Man, is being released by Universal Dec. 21.
Abdy also is developing several Jersey projects, from romantic comedy "London Calling" with Eve Ahlert and David Drake, to the action comedy "Gangsta Bitches," from a pitch by Lisa Schrager -- both for Universal -- and the thriller "Sisters Keeper" with writer Todd Graff for Disney.
December 22, 2007
Movie exec linked to N.J. mob suspect
Authorities taped calls between Paramount's Pamela Abdy and a man arrested this week.
By Joseph Menn, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
A fast-rising Paramount Pictures executive is a confidante of an organized crime figure arrested this week in a probe of New Jersey gambling, extortion and heroin rackets, according totaped conversations between the two friends that were disclosed this week as part of a yearlong investigation by the New Jersey attorney general.
The probe led to charges against more than two dozen suspected mobsters and associates, including Joseph DiNapoli and Matthew Madonna, two of the three men authorities describe as leaders of New York's Lucchese crime family.
Also arrested were Ralph V. Perna, the alleged head of the group's New Jersey operation, and his son Joseph M. Perna, 38, of Wyckoff, N.J., who was subject to widespread surveillance that included multiple conversations with Paramount Executive Vice President of Production Pamela Abdy, 34. She was a producer of the 2004 movie "Garden State."
Joseph Perna was in charge of collecting gambling debts and had authority over deciding which associates could place bets, according to a 195-page affidavit filed this month in New Jersey's Morris County court by state investigators as they sought arrest warrants. Perna is accused of directing associates to beat up people who owed gambling debts.
The affidavit describes a $2.2-billion sports betting operation, plans to smuggle contraband into a prison with the aid of Bloods gang members and directions for assaulting people who had fallen behind in making payments.
Telephone numbers for DiNapoli and Madonna at their New York addresses weren't listed. A woman who answered the phone at Joseph Perna's house in Wyckoff on Friday said he wasn't available to comment.
Peter Aseltine, a spokesman for New Jersey Atty. Gen. Anne Milgram, said the state didn't know who was representing the men in the case.
A spokesman for Paramount's parent company, Viacom Inc., declined to comment. Abdy's office referred questions to her attorney, Marc Agnifilo. Agnifilo said neither Paramount nor prosecutors believed Abdy had done anything wrong.
Parts of Abdy's conversations with Perna in June and September were recounted in the affidavit, which said the pair were in "a personal dating relationship."
Agnifilo said Perna and Abdy denied an ongoing romance. "They dated when they were both in high school," Agnifilo said Friday. "She left New Jersey and started a career in L.A., and they remained friends." Abdy grew up in Florham Park, N.J., about 30 miles from Manhattan.
Abdy is the niece of another man arrested in the sweep, Martin Tacetta, 56, who was charged with promoting gambling, money laundering and racketeering, Agnifilo said.
"She was from a neighborhood where there was a lot of that type of activity," Agnifilo said.
In one conversation transcribed in the affidavit, Perna recounts trying to collect a $105,732 gambling debt and coming back with only $25,000. Later, Abdy tells him that she solves conflicts in the same way Perna does: by talking it over during walks.
"The only difference is, there's no made guys over there," Perna responds. "They don't prick the finger." Finger pricking is one of the rituals used when prospective members are inducted into a crime family, as Perna allegedly was last month, the court documents contend.
"Let me tell you what's worse," Abdy shoots back in the conversation. "There's something called the press. And people kill you in the press."
Agnifilo said Abdy regretted only that her comments were taped.
"I don't think she regrets she's maintained a friendship with Joseph Perna," he said.