Brooklyn Daily Eagle/July 2, 1928
Spread of Chicago Gang Wars Seen in Mowing Down of Notorious Brooklyn Leader—Revenge Suspected for Murder of De Amato, Capone’s Aid.
The gang wars of Chicago are spreading into New York, detectives insisted today, as men were sent out to search for a shining black sedan motorcar, with Illinois license plates, which was used by four men who with automatic pistols and sawed-off shotguns mowed down Frank Uale, Brooklyn’s most notorious gang leader, strikebreaker and underworld character, late yesterday afternoon.
Inspector John Sullivan, chief of detectives, personally was leading the hunt for Uale’s murderers, not so much because the police felt any particular horror at his killing, but because, recently, the streets have been chosen for spectacular slayings in true Chicago style. And the detectives believe that Uale was killed as a result of a Chicago war, that he was an enemy of “Scarface Al” Capone, although once he had been a friend, and that yesterday’s murder was a reprisal.
District Attorney Charles J. Dodd said he expected more shootings to follow Uale’s death.
“It looks like a lot more trouble,” Dodd said.
Threat By Capone Reported
Just one year ago yesterday seven shots were fired at Uale from the ambush of a doorway at 65th St., near 14th Ave. Six days later one Jimmie De Amato was killed at 153 21st St.— at least his body was found there. De Amato was said to be one of “Scarface Al” Capone’s representatives in New York, and the detectives have been told through those mysterious whisperings of the underworld, that Capone himself sent word there would be “a reply to that death.”
Until February of this year, Uale and Capone, however, were still friendly, at least on the surface. Then, it is known, they fell out.
De Amato Murder Is Clue
All this is clouded by the mystery and mist that always surround a gun battle between rival gangs. But at police headquarters today it was said, as a most workable theory, that Uale was killed because of De Amato’s death and because of the enmity which had grown up between Capone and Uale.
Shortly after De Amato’s death inspector Sullivan questioned five men who were said then and still are said to have been members of Uale’s gang. The police were morally certain they had the murderers of De Amato, but they never could get legal evidence and they had to drop the case. And now the De Amato murder stands out as the chief wheel about which the Uale murder revolves.
Supreme Court Justice Hagarty in 1923 refused an application for citizenship made by Uale, holding that although he had not been convicted of crime his record was such that citizenship should not be granted him. At the same time he enjoined Uale from making any similar application for a period of years.
Inspector Sullivan has learned that Uale came from his Manhattan retreat at 219 W. 81st St. (where he is said to have lived with Lucreida Julotta, asserting she was his wife), to Brooklyn about 2 o’clock yesterday. He went to a speakeasy at 65th St. and 4th Ave.
Killed Leaving Speakeasy
Joe Capone, who is no relative of the Chicago gang leader, but who, the police say, was very friendly with Uale, was there, and Joe has told the police that Frankie remained until a telephone call came for him about 4 o’clock.
“That’s my wife,” he told them. “She wants me to come home and take her for a ride.”
So he left and went up through 10th Ave. to 44th St. Between 11th and 10th avenues he was killed. The men in the motorcar which swept up behind evidently yelled at him and then as he turned fired into his car.
“They were professional killers,” said Inspector Sullivan. “Everything about the way in which this thing was handled shows it.”
Graduate of Streets.
Frankie Uale was a graduate of the streets. He was mixed up in a lot of different activities in South Brooklyn, and for years progressed without molestation in the forming of a big gang there. But, like other gangsters, he stretched out for more power. He began to invade the precincts of Bill Lovett and the wars along the East River.
Gangsters of Columbia and Union streets, five years ago, resented his encroachments. There was a gang war for a time which kept the police busy. “Peg Leg” Lonergan was killed. Frank Guffo was found dead. Two men named Anastasia and Ferrero went to the deathhouse, and they, so the police say, were members of the Uale gang.
But Frankie was making money fast enough and he got friendly with “Scarface Al” Capone. He went to Chicago and there learned how to make money from various grafts on a big scale.
Mixed in Chicago Warfare
His business grew. He got mixed up with Chicago warfare and came back here. Then he went back again. And now, shot down in the spectacular manner which has marked all of Chicago’s gang killings, Frankie Uale has been murdered.
Friends of his went to the Brooklyn Burial Company at 860 Atlantic Ave. today and ordered a casket. It will cost $15,000 and will be trimmed in solid silver. And it is to be almost a duplicate of the casket in which Dion O’Banion, slain Chicago gangster, was buried. The Chicago police once arrested Frankie Uale for that murder, but couldn’t “pin it on him.”
Two women claimed the body as his wife. The police are in a quandary about that. Ostensibly, his wife, Mary, and two children lived with him at 1406 66th St., Brooklyn. But he said that Lucreida Pulotta, who also has a young baby, was his wife.
Uale, whose name was pronounced Yale and quite often spelled that way, was killed in a theatrical and almost melodramatic way.
Shortly before 4 o’clock yesterday the big, dark-visaged, black-haired despot of an underworld that extended from Brooklyn into Manhattan and even into Queens was driving in his big new motorcar in 44th St., Homewood, between 4th and 5th avenues. He was driving in the very center of the street, as he always drove, for Frankie Uale alive was under no delusions. He knew certain people wanted to “get” him and he did everything to prevent them. He invariably drove in the middle of the street since it is more difficult to ambush a man there.
He was wearing a new light gray suit and a Panama hat. He had on many of the diamonds which have made him rather famous in South Brooklyn since he has made it his home. He was sitting there, behind his wheel, as haughty as usual, but watching the road and the sidewalks in front of him with a catlike intensity.
Black Sedan Trails Victim
Behind him, more than half a block behind, was a jet black sedan car, which shone gaudily in the afternoon sun. Uale didn’t know it carried a Chicago license. If he had he very probably would have tried to speed away.
Then, in front of 923 44th St., the sedan speeded up. It dashed close behind the Uale machine. And then began a heavy fire of pistols and sawed-off shotguns. There was no machine gun, apparently.
In a few moments it was over. Uale, mortally wounded, lost control of the car and it hurtled to the sidewalk, scattering frightened children and mothers. The machine leaped through a hedge and crashed against the stone steps of the house of Mr. and Mrs. Solomon Kaufman at 923.
Shot Misses Child
One of the gunmen’s shots narrowly missed Jeanette Weinstein, 7, who was sitting in her father’s parked car at No. 947.
Various policemen came later. Inspector John Sullivan hurried down with Captain Bishop and 50 or 60 detectives. One after another the police identified Frankie Uale, because they all knew him. They’ve had him under arrest many times, but he has almost always beaten them. Frankie Uale had a reputation for being a “fixer,” and his record proves his reputation pretty well earned.
Having made the identification and successfully held back the large crowd which gathered quickly, the police began to work. The one outstanding thing they had was their knowledge that Uale was “due.” Every detective who knew anything about the situation had been predicting the death of Frankie Uale for at least two years.
Ex-Pal of “Scarface” Capone
But it was a gunman’s death. And because it was, its details have been effectively covered. The police know well that it was revenge, but even they cannot, today, tell from what quarter that revenge came. There were so many persons who might have felt that Frankie Uale. dead, was a source of quiet for them.
Uale had been associated with noted and notorious people all through his somewhat hectic and excited 35 years of living. When he was a pal of “Scarface Al” Capone, the Chicago gang leader, who has been credited, probably without much reason, to Brooklyn. Uale is said to have provided money and hiding places when “Scarface Al” was in trouble with the Chicago police two or three years ago.
One of “Scarface Al” Capone’s most hated and persistent enemies was Dion O’Banion, a rollicking, singing Irishman, who was as cruel as cruelty could make a man under that exterior of happiness. When O’Banion was shot down and killed in his flower shop, Uale, on Nov. 24, 1924, was “partly identified” as one of the assassins, but escaped trial, as he did in the killing of Jim Colosimo in 1920.
Before Uale left Chicago finally for Brooklyn he was arrested in Chicago in a raid on a Capone hangout in the Loop. A pistol was found in his possession, but he succeeded in convincing the Chicago authorities that he had a New York permit and that he merely was on a friendly visit to the Windy City.
So he came back. And he became again the quiet and highly dignified undertaker of Bay Ridge that he had been before he went to the Central West. Ostensibly, Uale was for years an undertaker. He was also interested in several restaurants in Brooklyn, and, on the surface he was credited with being a respectable and respected citizen.
If he had ways and means to “fix” things for men whom he knew when they got in trouble, who can prove it? If he collected from strike-breakers everywhere in the city, and supplied the armed forces which caused the trouble in the strikes, who is to prove it? If he ran a string of bootleg joints and collected from each of them, who is to prove that?
These days, your big gang leader doesn’t do the work himself. He is the despot who sits behind the scenes and issues the orders which are invariably obeyed.
Stories of Uale’s activities trickled into headquarters and Inspector Sullivan, head of the Brooklyn detectives, has for years been trying to find evidence enough on Uale to “get” him. But Uale has outguessed him, principally because his followers have kept their mouths shut always.
They tried to hang the murder of “Peg Leg” Lonergan, five years ago, on Frankie Uale without success. They tried to get him on the Mickey Demosel murder, which was a gang fight in 1923 in Manhattan, and they failed again. They tried to clinch him on the murder charges in Queens and on at least three Brooklyn robberies. They never got anywhere.
Way back in 1915, Uale, coming here from Chicago—so reports have it, but they are not very clear—was caught in a $3,000 fur robbery. He was close to conviction when a man named Tony Gregori came forward and confessed. Tony took “the rap”—he went to jail—instead of Uale. The veterans of the police force will insist even now that Tony “took the rap under orders.
Then in 1916 they caught Uale again. It was another fur robbery. But he beat that case. Since 1920 he had been arrested as a gun toter, for disorderly conduct, selling narcotics, robbery and what not. But invariably he had beaten the case against him. And in doing so he had earned his reputation for being a “fixer.”
This Uale was picturesque in his lifetime, but most gang leaders are in one way or another.
Down near 1406 66th St., where he lived, he was called “a good man.” He gave $6,000 to St. Rosalie’s R. C. Church in Flatbush recently, and broke ground for its new parochial school in May. He has given coal and wood to the poor in winter. He gave outings to children. He was “a good man” and no mistake. But he was a despot. And the police know he was a gangster.
Only one thing seems sure today. The police knew he was marked for death.
And they know, too, that unless they get somewhere in solving this murder something is going to happen to them. The Jerge murder and the Uale murder were entirely too spectacular. There may be a connection between them. Anything is possible, but it was certain today that the promised shift of expert detectives would come unless the Uale murder is “broken.”
Among other honors bestowed upon Uale was that of having a cigar named for him and his picture, surrounded by tropical flowers and foliage, portrayed on the inner cover of the box. In the background stands Morro Castle on one side and the Brooklyn Bridge on the other. As Uale pronounced his name Yale, the cigarmakers preferred to call the cigar the “Frank Yale.”
God-Fearing Man, Says Wife.
Mrs. Lucreida Uale discussed her dead husband to some extent this afternoon, although she would not tell much about herself, and would not go into details about the other marriage which, according to reports, preceded hers.
“He was a God-fearing man, but not a man-fearing man.” she said. “He was always paying rent for somebody or doing things like that. He ran a boxing carnival for a church and paid $1,500 out of his own pocket so it would be a success. I knew only the good side of him and I believe that under my influence he would have stopped his affiliations outside the home.”
She said she had received a telephone call that “Frank had been hurt” and that she went to the station house in Brooklyn. She did not know he had been murdered until she arrived there. She said she had never heard him say his life was in danger.