Yale, Frank (1893-1928)

[This bio is an excerpt from a larger article, "What do we know about Frankie Yale?"]

Born Longobucco, Italy, Jan. 22, 1893.

Killed Brooklyn, NY, July 1, 1928.

Frankie Yale
Frankie Yale was a Brooklyn gangster and businessman with ties to Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria and Al Capone. His 1928 assassination coincided with dramatic changes in the Brooklyn underworld and the Mafia of the United States.

Yale was born Jan. 22, 1893, in Longobucco, a town in the southern mainland Italian region of Calabria. His father, Domenick Ioele, was born about 1860. His mother, Isabella DeSimone Ioele, was born between 1863 and 1865. Frank had two brothers, John and Angelo, and a sister, Assunta. Domenick Ioele crossed the Atlantic to America in 1898. John and Frank joined him in New York in the early 1900s. Isabella, Assunta and Angelo followed on Sept. 4, 1907. Domenick worked as a wholesale produce merchant. John was employed as a postcard printer. Frank "Yale" found early work as a railroad guard.

Yale's first arrest occurred in October 1912. He was convicted of disorderly conduct and fined $10. In July 1913, he was arrested with Michael Petro and Andrew Bombara for first-degree robbery and second-degree assault. In court, the victim refused to identify the defendants. Yale become involved in some gang conflicts, including a brawl that drew police officers to a Bath Beach, Brooklyn, coffeehouse on Feb. 1, 1917. Yale, then 23, and two other men were arrested for carrying revolvers. On May 21, Yale was convicted on a weapons charge and was given a stay in the penitentiary on Blackwell's Island.

In the same year, Yale married Mary DeLapere. In June 1918, daughter Isabella was born to the couple. Another daughter, Rose, was born in October 1919. In January, 1920, the young Yale family lived with Mary's parents in a multi-family home at 6605 14th Avenue in Brooklyn. At that time, Yale reported that he was employed as an undertaker.

Yale was noted in Chicago at the time of "Big Jim" Colosimo's May 1920 murder and was briefly considered a suspect in the killing.

Yale was wounded in the chest during a two-day gang fight at Manhattan's Park Row in February 1921. Another brawling gangster, Michael Demosci, was killed in a shootout. In June, Yale was arrested in connection with the decapitation murder of Ernesto Melchiorre at Coney Island. He was quickly released for lack of evidence. A short time later, on July 15, Yale's car was riddled with heavy-caliber bullets fired from a passing vehicle. Robert (Rocco) Lawrence of 72nd Street and Yale's brother Angelo were wounded in the attack. Frank Yale and companions Anthony "Little Augie Pisano" Carfano and "Babe" Cannalle were unharmed. Silvio Melchiorre, brother of the recently murdered Ernesto, was killed eight days later. Yale was suspected of involvement but there was no evidence to hold him.

In the early 1920s, Giuseppe "Joe the Boss" Masseria eliminated a bothersome rival and assembled a strong Mafia organization in Manhattan. He quickly welcomed Yale and Carfano into his growing underworld empire.

As a businessman, Yale was involved in a funeral home, in a restaurant, some laundries, a taxi company and a cigar manufacturing plant. "Frankie Yale" cigars included with the crime boss's image on the box. Yale provided generously to charities in Brooklyn and was a donor to St. Rosalia's Roman Catholic Church.

In the early morning of July 9, 1923, another attempt was made to murder him. Gunmen shot and killed the only occupant of the Yale automobile, driver Frank Forte. Police and press concluded that Forte was killed by accident.

Yale made another trip west to Chicago in November 1924, following the death of highly regarded Chicago Mafia leader Michele Merlo. Yale traveled along with Brooklyn Mafioso Saverio "Sam" Pollaccia. The visit of the Brooklyn mobsters coincided with the Nov. 10 murder of Chicago's North Side Gang boss, Dean O'Banion.

Chicago Police recalled that Yale had been in town when Colosimo was killed and suspected him of involvement in the O'Banion murder. Yale and Pollaccia were held, as police checked into their alibis. When their stories checked out, they were released.

Yale's father, Domenico, died at his Brooklyn home on March 3, 1926. His March 6 funeral was said to be among the largest recalled in Brooklyn.

That summer, Yale and his wife separated. Yale began spending time with a woman in Manhattan, though he continued to support Mary and their daughters. He quietly sought a divorce. That summer, Yale married again. He and his wife Lucita were joined in a civil ceremony in Brooklyn. Some said that Lucita had formerly been married to a murdered Mott Street restaurateur.

When friction began between Capone and Sicilian Mafia bosses in Chicago, Masseria stepped in to make Capone his personal vassal, a capodecina in the Masseria organization. At about the same time, Masseria became quite close to Yale lieutenant Carfano. Yale, targeted by rivals for many years, was growing less important to his primary underworld protector, Masseria.

Capone and Yale reportedly partnered in a rum-running operation. Rumors got back to Capone that Yale was cheating him. Capone responded by having a spy named James DeAmato inserted into Yale's organization. In July 1927, DeAmato was found dead on a Brooklyn street.

On May 2, 1928, a daughter was born to Frank and Lucita Yale. Later in the year, Mary Yale was granted an interlocutory divorce decree including alimony of $35 a week.

At about 4 p.m. on July 1, 1928, Yale was driving his Lincoln automobile along 44th Street in Brooklyn, when he was overtaken by a black sedan. Shots were fired into the Lincoln's rear window, and Yale accelerated in an effort to escape. The two cars came abreast between 9th and 10th Avenues, and a volley was fired by pistols and a sawed-off shotgun into Yale's car. Yale's skull was crushed by the slugs, and his car veered off the road, crashing into the stone steps in front of 923 44th Street. He died immediately.

Yale was given an elaborate gangland sendoff, arranged by the Graziano & Janone Funeral Home and his lieutenant Anthony Carfano. A funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Rosalia's Church. An estimated 15,000 people turned out to catch a glimpse of Yale's reported silver coffin, believed to be worth $15,000. The funeral cortege included 200 automobiles of mourners and a "mountain of floral tributes, gaudy enough to have satisfied even the show-loving gang leader."

The police investigation of Yale's killing eventually pointed to Capone. Three of Capone's associates reportedly had left him in Miami Beach and headed north on a train that reached New York City hours before the murder. Investigators learned that Capone had threatened Yale following the slaying of James DeAmato. Later, ballistic evidence linked the weapons used in the Yale killing with those used in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago. Police arrested various individuals in connection with the Yale murder but were unable to assemble a convincing case against any of them.

Though the loss of his powerful Brooklyn group leader should have negatively impacted Giuseppe Masseria, Masseria appears to have suffered no ill effect. By the end of the 1928, Masseria was proclaimed boss of bosses of the Mafia in the United States. Two other men appear to have benefited greatly from the elimination of Yale. Anthony Carfano took charge of many of Yale's lucrative rackets. And Giuseppe Profaci, who quietly led a small Mafia organization comprised of relatives and fellow immigrants from Villabate, Sicily, assumed control of Yale men and territory in southern Brooklyn. The added strength and prestige instantly made Profaci a significant player in the national Mafia network.


  •  "1,000 suspects seized by Chicago police," New York Times, Nov. 17, 1924.
  •  "10,000 guarded in Frank Yale's $50,000 burial," New York Evening Post, July 5, 1928, p. 18.
  •  "2 men wounded when gangsters attack in motor," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 15, 1921, p. 18.
  •  "Auto gunmen wound two in car and flee," New York Tribune, July 16, 1921, p. 13.
  •  "Capone subpoenaed in murder of Yale," New York Times, July 8, 1928, p. 3.
  •  "Decision reserved in case of justices' pistol permits," New York Tribune, Feb. 25, 1922, p. 7.
  •  "Frank Yale saved again in gang feud; friend shot dead," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 9, 1923, p. 18.
  •  "Gangster shot dead in daylight attack," New York Times, July 2, 1928, p. 1. 
  •  "Give up monument at Uale son's request," Brooklyn Standard Union, March 12, 1926, p. 6.
  •  "Gun that slew Yale traced to Chicago and Capone arsenal," New York Times, Jan. 18, 1930, p. 1.
  •  "Gunmen kill man in crowded street; old feud suspected," New York Tribune, July 24, 1921, p. 7.
  •  "Gunmen kill one, wound 2, in Park Row," New York Tribune, Feb. 7, 1921, p. 3.
  •  "Hold merchant for perjury," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 9, 1913, p. 2.
  •  "Hunt Yale's slayer at showy funeral," New York Times, July 6, 1928.
  •  "In the real estate market: Parochial school to cost $175,000," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 24, 1928.
  •  "Permits by justices to carry guns valid," New York Evening World, March 2, 1922, p. 2.
  •  "Police reports clash on fatal Yale bullet," New York Times, Jan. 29, 1930. 
  •  "Prison, then exile for daring robber," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 21, 1917, p. 3. 
  •  "Question gangster in Marlow murder," New York Times, July 19, 1929, p. 16. 
  •  "Ruby Goldstein stops Cecolli in first round," Brooklyn Standard Union, May 3, 1927, p. 11.
  •  "Say three carried guns," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Feb. 2, 1917, p. 20.
  •  "Shot dead for another," New York Times, July 9, 1923.
  •  "Uale breaking ground for parochial school," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, July 2, 1928, p. 3.
  •  "Uale, gangster, left estate of $3,000 only," New York Times, Oct. 15, 1930.
  •  "Warren rebuffs plea to fight gangs," New York Times, July 12, 1928, p. 1.
  •  "Yale killed by Chicago gun," New York Sun, Jan. 18, 1930, p. 2.
  •  Critchley, David, The Origin of Organized Crime in America: The New York City Mafia, 1891-1931, New York: Routledge, 2009.
  •  Domenico Ioele Death Certificate, No. 5158, Kings County, NY, March 3, 1926.
  •  Frank Uale Death Certificate, Borough of Brooklyn, City of New York, No. 14764, July 1, 1928, filed July 3, 1928.
  •  Gentile, Nick, Vita di Capomafia, Rome: Editori Riuniti, 1963.
  •  Pasley, Fred D., Al Capone: The Biography of a Self-Made Man, Garden City NY: Garden City Publishing Company, 1930.
  •  Passenger manifest of S.S. Nord America, departed Naples on Aug. 22, 1907, arrived New York City on Sept. 4, 1907.
  •  Thompson, Craig, and Allen Raymond, Gang Rule in New York: The Story of a Lawless Era, New York: Dial Press, 1940.
  •  U.S. Census of 1910, Brooklyn borough, New York, Supervisor's District 2, Enumeration District 1073, Ward 30. 
  •  U.S. Census of 1920, Brooklyn borough, New York, Supervisor's District 3, Enumeration District 955, Ward AD-16.
  •  U.S. Census of 1930, Brooklyn borough, New York, Supervisor's District 32, Enumeration District 23-1389, Ward AD-16.
  •  World War I draft registration card of Frank Uale, June 1917.
  •  World War I draft registration card of Angelo Ioele.