Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Two tried for shaking down NY strip club

Salvatore Scala
Reputed Gambino Crime Family capo Salvatore "Fat Sal" Scala and his aide Thomas "Monk" Sassano sucked hundreds of thousands of dollars out of a Manhattan strip club from the mid-1990s to 2002, according to the prosecution's opening statement in Manhattan federal court yesterday. The opening of the trial was reported by Kati Cornell of the New York Post.

Scala (left), 64, reportedly drew so much cash from the VIP Club that it was unable to pay its taxes. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Snyder said he "bled it dry."

The prosecution charges that Sassano, 61, was placed in charged of the extortion operation when Scala was jailed in an unrelated case.

Judge holds Coppola on $1M bond, orders DNA test

Judge Paul W. Armstrong of the Superior Court in Somerville NJ yesterday set bail for alleged mob assassin Michael Coppola (right) at $1 million and ordered DNA tests that could link Coppola to the 1977 murder of John "Johnny Cokes" Lardiere, according to a story by Chad Hemenway of the Asbury Park Press.

Coppola was apprehended last week after more than a decade on the run. He disappeared after hearing he was ordered to provide DNA samples in the Lardiere murder investigation back in 1996.

Coppola's attorney Thomas Cammarata entered a not guilty plea on behalf of his client. Cammarata took issue with prosecutors' description of Coppola as a fugitive from justice. The attorney noted that Coppola was never actually served with the order to provide the DNA samples.

New Jersey Assistant Attorney General Robert B. Leaman argued for $20 million bail. Leaman charged that Coppola had "unlimited access to funds" during the past 11 years while he was apparently not employed. Leaman charged that Coppola was part of the Genovese Crime Family.

Lardiere was shot to death on April 10, 1977, as he began a 26-hour furlough from a Clinton lockup. He was held in Clinton for five years following a refusal to testify before a government agency probing underworld influence in the garbage hauling industry.

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Writer, editor, researcher, web publisher, specializing in organized crime history. (I am available to assist with your historical/genealogical research, as well as your writing and editing chores. Email me at
I am editor/publisher of crime history journal, Informer; publisher of American Mafia history website; moderator of Mafia-related online forums; 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.