Sunday, April 8, 2007

Feds: Scala was one of Castellano shooters

During sentencing of Salvatore "Fat Sal" Scala for extortion on April 6, federal prosecutors remarked that Scala had been identified as one of four shooters in the 1985 assassination of Gambino Crime Family boss Paul Castellano, according to a story in the New York Daily News.

Scala (left), 64, was sentenced to six years in prison and 18 years of supervised release for forcing thousands of dollars of payments from a West Side Manhattan strip club and for not paying taxes on the money. He and reputed Gambino soldier Thomas "Monk" Sassano were convicted March 30 of shaking down the VIP Club. Scala, believed to be a former Gambino family lieutenant, was also convicted of four counts of tax evasion for not filing income tax returns for the years 1998-2001.

The stunning news occurred when prosecutor Eric Snyder revealed that mob informant Salvatore "Sammy Bull" Gravano named Scala as one of four Castellano assassins. Scala has never been charged with participating in that mob hit. Castellano and his close aide Thomas Bilotti were shot down outside Manhattan's Sparks Steakhouse (right) reportedly on orders from rebellious Gambino capo John Gotti. Gotti subsequently took the reins of the crime family.
"We could prove he was the shooter on those two murders," Snyder said of the Castellano-Bilotti slayings. The prosecutor said he hasn't been charged because Gravano's reputation as a witness has suffered.

Judge Lewis Kaplan could have sentenced Scala to as many as 17 years in prison, but he lessened the sentence because the aging Scala is currently battling liver cancer, according to a story by Kati Cornell of the New York Post. Scala will be confined to his home for two years after his prison sentence and then will have 16 more years of supervised release.
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Troubled union's boss takes home big bucks

The International Longshoremen's Association faces new scrutiny since it was revealed that the president of the struggling union was paid more than half a million dollars last year, according to a story by Steven Greenhouse and William K. Rashbaum of the New York Times.

John Bowers' salary of $587,078 was twice as much as the leaders of unions more than 30 times larger than the longshoremen's group. Bowers' son James, a union vice president, was paid $292,440. The association membership has dropped 26 percent in the past two years to a level of 43,000 while port traffic continues to climb. The union reported a $10 million operating deficit last year.

The federal government has brought a civil racketeering lawsuit against the association, attempting to have a trustee assigned to control it. Federal officials argue that the union has long been tied to the Genovese and Gambino organized crime families in New York and New Jersey. The lawsuit was filed in July 2005.

Rio prison break attempt fails

Brazilian guards turned back 20 armed men intent on busting convicted Italian drug smuggler Alessandro Castiglioni out of a Rio de Janeiro prison hospital on April 6, according to a story by Reuters UK.

Guards exchanged fire with the men, who reportedly wore black and were heavily armed. No one was hurt. The 20 men sped off in several cars.

Castiglioni, who has been jailed since 2003, was found with two other inmates as they attempted to scale a wall at the prison hospital.

US Mafia was born in New Orleans

book cover


Deep Water:
Joseph P. Macheca and the
Birth of the American Mafia

Written by Thomas Hunt and Martha Macheca Sheldon, Deep Water captures the life and times of Joseph P. Macheca. It finally sets the record straight on the man who was a warrior for the corrupt New Orleans Democratic machine, a pioneer of the Crescent City’s fruit trade, a Confederate privateer and the legendary “godfather” of the first Mafia organization to germinate in American soil.
While answering at last the questions surrounding the 1890 assassination of Police Chief David Hennessy and the subsequent Crescent City lynchings, Deep Water establishes the factual details of Macheca’s life and sets them against the vivid backdrop of Gilded Age New Orleans. Published by iUniverse.

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Editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer. Publisher of American Mafia history website Moderator of Mafia-related Yahoo discussion group. Author of Wrongly Executed? Coauthor of Deep Water: Joseph P. Macheca and the Birth of the American Mafia and DiCarlo: Buffalo's First Family of Crime. Contributor of American Mafia history to Australian-published Mafia: The Necessary Reference to Organized Crime. Writer/co-writer of crime history articles for Informer, On the Spot Journal, Cigar City Magazine, Tampa Mafia Magazine.