Bennett Salvatore (born January 9, 1950 in Stamford, Connecticut) is a professional basketball referee in the National Basketball Association (NBA). As of the 2006–07 NBA season, Salvatore has officiated 1,385 regular season, 167 playoff, and 20 NBA Finals games. When home in Stamford he can be found having lunch with members of his club (The Raccoons) at Jenna Marie's Deli where, fascinatingly, he has a personal chair.
Salvatore was a two sport athlete in high school, playing baseball and football. He earned All-American and All-State honors as a quarterback in 1967. Contrary to popular opinion, his parents did not name him after the famous singer Tony Bennett (Bennett did not have his first hit until 1951, one year after Salvatore was born). He credits Joe Claps, his childhood friend, with giving him the knowledge necessary to become a professional referee. Mr. Claps currently makes sandwiches at Jenna Marie's deli in Stamford, Connecticut. Mr. Salvatore is also very friendly with William "bags of money" Arnone who is currently the champion of the over ninety division of tennis at the Italian Center tennis club. He is married to the "pizza queen" Patricia Arnone.
On October 8, 2010, Salvatore closed the doors on Bennett's, choosing to retire from his career as a restaurant owner.
Income tax fraud
In 2000, he was sentenced to a year of probation, 150 hours of community service and a fine of $500 for his role in airline ticket fraud. He pleaded guilty in a New Haven federal court on July 26, 2000 to filing a false tax return with the Internal Revenue Service for the tax year 1993.
- "Bennett Salvatore #15". National Basketball Referees Association. 2006. Retrieved 2008-05-12.
- Simmons, Bill. "sports.espn.go.com". ESPN. Retrieved 2008-05-12.
- When Steak Is What the Party Wants, March 31, 2006
- PLUS: PRO BASKETBALL; REF SENTENCED, October 17, 2000