Frank "Gumba" Saladino (December 1945- 2005) was an American mobster and last known boss of the Rockford crime family.
Saladino was born in Rockford, Illinois. His father was Giorgio Saladino, a made member of the Rockford crime family and rumored to have been behind the hit that ended the life of bookmaker Charles Kalb. Frank's brother in law was Rockford crew leader Phil Cannella who was suspected of firing the 'warning' shots that informed Gaspare Calo to give up his boss's seat to [[Joseph Zammu in 1964 along with Joe Saladino (no relation). Following a two year prison sentence for the crime Saladino began working full time for the Rockford crime family as an enforcer and was also listed on Frank Buscemi's payroll while employed at Rondinella Foods, Inc. By the early 1970s, law enforcement intelligence had confirmed he was a 'made member'. Then Saladino took un-traditional route when he began to spend more time in Chicago. Saladino was considered by law enforcement to be "a murderous enforcer and intimidating physical presence for the Mob".
Beginning in the late 1970s Saladino became affiliated with the Southside/26th Street and Northside crews of the Chicago Outfit. In 1981 he was arrested for his part in a burglary ring that involved several Outfit members and associates. He would serve three years. Upon his release he was seen more frequently in Rockford and often in the company of mob boss Frank Buscemi and Buscemi's cousin Salvatore Galluzzo. Along with the same 1984 article published by the Rockford Register Star newspaper that identified Sebastian Gullota as a capo it also pointed out Saladino as a mob soldier. Additionally rumors have circulated that Saladino may have been behind the 1980 murder of Rockford mob soldier Joe Maggio.
Boss of Rockford
After the death of Sebastian Gullotta, Saladino took over as boss of the Rockford family which the FBI by then had referred to as 'extinct', in reality illegal gambling and loansharking was pouring money into the gangsters' coffers. Joe Saladino and John 'Tiger' Frisella were raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars from a myriad of wire rooms later raided by federal authorities that were scattered throughout Rockford. No doubt much of it made it's way to Saladino's pockets who was by now regularly cutting in Chicago due to the partnership between the two crime families. The mob boss was also invested in several of the strip clubs in and around Rockford. By now Saladino was already showing his girth and tipping his scales at over 300 lbs.
Family Secrets and death
On April 24, 2005 federal authorities levied a crushing blow against the powerful Chicago Outfit. The case known as 'Family Secrets' would rock the city's top gangsters as such notables as Joseph "Joey the Clown" Lombardo and James Marcello were indicted and eventually handed life sentences. The RICO case focused on illegal gambling but specifically on 18 unsolved murders dating back to the early 1970s. Frank Saladino was suspected of participating in five of them and was on the list to face the music. Prior to the indictment Saladino, who had long made it a habit to have several addresses, had taken refuge at a Motel 6 in Hampshire, IL. The staff described his room to be a pig pen and he would reside their for several weeks prior to the indictment. As federal agents entered his room they found Frank Saladino dead from natural causes. Most likely his weight factored into his early demise. Agents found close to $100,000 between checks and cash on him. From a legal standpoint due to his death the Rockford syndicate and their connection to the Chicago Outfit was severed from the Secrets trial.