Friday, January 2, 2009

Imprisoned Scala, 65, succumbs to cancer

Salvatore "Fat Sal" Scala, 65, died Dec. 29 in Butner Federal Medical Center in North Carolina, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News. Scala was serving a six-year sentence for extorting money from a Manhattan strip club.

Authorities suspect that Scala (right) was one of four men involved in the 1985 assassination of Gambino Crime Family boss Paul Castellano. That assassination allowed John J. Gotti to take command of the Gambino organization. However, Scala was never charged with Castellano's killing.

Battling liver cancer, Scala requested an early release. The request was denied by the federal prisons system, despite the recommendation of the judge who sentenced him last year. In a letter to prisons director Harley Lappin, federal Judge Lewis Kaplan wrote, "At the time of sentencing I made clear my view that his offense, though serious, did not in my view warrant his dying in prison. I respectfully urge you to look into this man's situation with a view to the possibility of compassionate release of this apparently dying man."

Uvino convicted of Long Island beatings

Michael Uvino, reputed captain in the Colombo Crime Family, was convicted by a federal jury on Christmas Eve of beating two men, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News. The victims reportedly had set up a robbery of poker players at a Long Island social club. Uvino was convicted along with Philip Costanza and Brian Dono. Codefendant John Tripi was acquitted.

Gotti attorneys request Judge Scheindlin

Attorneys for John A. "Junior" Gotti have asked that their client's upcoming racketeering trial be held before Manhattan federal Judge Shira Scheindlin, according to a story by John Marzulli of the New York Daily News.

Scheindlin presided over Gotti's last three racketeering trials, all of which ended in mistrials. The Gotti camp believes that Scheindlin is fair and that her familiarity with Gotti history will ensure a swift trial.

Gotti, 45, is awaiting transfer from Florida back to New York. Prosecutors transported him south for arraignment and hoped to try him in the Tampa area. But a federal judge ruled that the trial should be held in New York.

About Me

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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.