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Fellow Cons Call Him 'Bubba' : Gucci Takes a Taxi From Prison to Halfway House

March 31, 1987|United Press International

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Fashion designer Aldo Gucci, called "Bubba Gucci" by fellow inmates, arrived via taxi--his chauffeur was busy--at a halfway house in south Florida to serve the remaining months of a one-year sentence for income tax evasion.

Gucci, 81, was transferred to a Salvation Army center in West Palm Beach after serving five months at the minimum-security Eglin Federal Prison Camp in northwest Florida, said Mike Cooksey, superintendent at Eglin.

Gucci was placed aboard a plane Monday for the 600-mile flight, Cooksey said. His arrival at the 125-bed concrete facility encircled with barbed wire reportedly was by cab as transients stood nearby.

"The chauffeur was busy so he called a cab," said James Travis, assistant director of the halfway house.

The fashion designer will remain at the halfway house not far from one of his homes in fashionable Palm Beach until he is eligible for release as early as June, Cooksey said.

Gucci will work in the community during the day. Salvation Army Maj. Charles Smith said a prisoner with a home in the area can go there with permission but must return by 10 p.m.

Gucci, who also owns homes in New York, Beverly Hills, London and Rome, was assigned to a work detail at Eglin.

Robert Bauer, who served time with Gucci at Eglin, said he was a tailor.

"We called him 'Bubba Gucci,' " Bauer said. "Anybody who was a good guy we'd call Bubba. And Gucci was a good guy. For all his money, he was down-to-earth."

Gucci pleaded guilty January, 1986, to evading taxes on $11.8 million of income. In September he was sentenced to a year and a day in prison and fined $30,000. Later, Gucci was ordered to pay the full $7.4 million in taxes plus interest and penalties.

The tax evasion scheme unraveled in 1982 when Gucci's son, Paolo, had a falling-out with his father and sued the company and his father in a family feud over control of the firm founded in 1906 by Guccio Gucci, Aldo Gucci's father.

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