The second-highest-ranking boxing official in Illinois has been placed on paid administrative leave while the state investigates allegations of improper conduct, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Joel Campuzano is accused of using his position to benefit his wife’s political campaigns and to advance his brother’s career as a boxing judge, the newspaper reported.
Those charges were made in a 10-page complaint filed March 2 by longtime referee John O’Brien, and addressed to Ron Puccillo, president of the Illinois State Professional Athletic Commission, which supervises boxing under the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.
Campuzano, Puccillo’s deputy for almost 10 years, is accused by O’Brien of engaging in “improprieties” related to the political campaigns of his wife, Yolanda, who was elected to the DuPage County Board of Supervisors in 2002, but lost her bid for re-election in 2008.
“Campuzano and others acting on his direction coordinated these campaign activities during professional boxing events and while otherwise working in their official capacity as employees of the state of Illinois,” the complaint alleges.
Mauro Di Fiori, a longtime boxing judge, told the Chicago Tribune that Campuzano requested that he work at a September 2008 amateur boxing show organized as a fundraiser for Yolanda Campuzano.
“If somebody asks me to do a show, I do it, especially if it’s the commission,” Di Fiori told the Tribune.
Di Fiori said he worked that show for free, and also contributed $425 to Yolanda Campuzano’s campaign. “It was an understanding that maybe we should” support the campaign, he said.
The complaint said some of Yolanda Campuzano’s financial supporters “have a direct link to professional boxing and to people who are under Joel’s supervision, or with whom he serves a direct enforcement capacity.”
Records show that boxing judges Robert Hecko and Bil Lerch each contributed $1,000 to her campaigns, but both told the Tribune that they weren’t pressured to make donations.
The complaint also accuses Joel Campuzano of prematurely awarding a judge’s license to his brother, Bulmaro “Junior” Campuzano, and helping him get a high number of assignments as a judge.
Dennis Taylor is editor/publisher of www.ringsideboxingshow.com and co-host of The Ringside Boxing Show.