WASHINGTON, March 20, 2016 – A notorious real estate mogul responsible for the deaths of at least two fathers to six children, forty five years apart, is dead himself.
Pete Thomas Scamardo died on Monday March 7, 2016, according to his obituary in The Washington Post. Scamardo will be buried tomorrow, Friday March 11, 2016.
Scamardo was born to Lucille and Marion P. Scamardo on August 11, 1938 in Hearne, Texas, a town of less than five thousand people in Central Texas about 300 miles from the Mexican border near Laredo, Texas.
Since second grade, Scamardo and Sam Degelia, Jr. were friends starting in second grade, eventually becoming business partners. In the summer 1968, Degelia, Jr. was a married father of four children all under ten years old and together with Scamardo owned Commodity Trading Corporation, a grain trading company.
That summer, Scamardo was introduced to Charles Harrelson, known today as the father of actor Woody Harrelson but at the time he was connected to organized crime and worked as freelance hit-man.
Eventually he’d become the only person to assassinate a federal judge in the twentieth century. In 1979, Harrleson was hired by Jamiel Chagra, of El Paso, Texas, to kill U.S. District Judge John H. Wood, Jr.- nicknamed Maximum John, for his long sentences; Chagra was scheduled to appear in front of Wood.
Harrelson was convicted of this crime and spent the rest of his life in prison dying in 2007.
Prior to the Wood murder, Scamardo was trafficking heroin across the Mexican border which Harrelson took to Kansas City to distribute. When Harrelson lost a shipment of heroin worth $5,000 during a traffic stop, Scamardo began pressuring the assassin to kill his partner, Degelia, in order to collect on insurance policy thought to be worth $100,000; the partners had mutual insurance policies.
Sam Degelia, Jr. was killed on July 6, 1968. Eventually Harrelson, Scamardo, and another accomplice named Jerry Watkins were all arrested with Watkins quickly cutting a deal.
Scamardo would be convicted of being an accomplice to commit murder, but his legendary attorney, Percy Foreman- who also defended Martin Luther King’s killer James Earl Ray, has had a career in which he only lost 53 of more than fifteen hundred death penalty cases, and who convinced the jury to only give Scamardo a seven years’ probation sentence in 1970.
Scamardo moved shortly thereafter to Fairfax County, Virginia, where he reinvented himself as a real estate mogul and upstanding citizen. Scamardo was “one of the early visionaries to develop in the Dulles Toll Road Corridor and was instrumental in the growth of that market,” according to his obituary.
The Dulles Toll Road Corridor was the explosion of commercial property which popped up after Dulles Toll Road was built in Fairfax County in the early 1980s.
Scamardo was estimated to have built over 1 million square feet of office space in the region: worth between $50-100 million at the time of his death.
The Washington Post included him in an article as early as 1985 on the real estate boom in Reston.
When Centennial Development Corp. President Pete Scamardo looks down from the top of his new six-story Executive III office building near Dulles Toll Road, the Reston he sees around him is vastly different from the Reston of 1978.
That was the year Scamardo, then an adventuresome, budding developer, made his decision to develop his first office building in Reston. In those days, the major commercial space was concentrated at Reston’s own International Center and in the U.S. Geological Survey buildings.
Now, Centennial, the largest single developer of commercial space in Reston, has more than 750,000 square feet of office space in Reston, and another 500,000 is planned for construction in the next 18 months. The 21-year-old new town itself has blossomed into a major office market
Scamardo appeared occasional in the business pages quoted as an expert in commercial real estate; the murder was never mentioned.
In 2000, his daughter Dina, married Chris Mackney, known then as Chris Machnij.
Their wedding was held at Scamardo’s 250 acre farm in Upperville, Virginia, which one wedding guest described as “idyllic” and others as “magnificent”.
The band was led by Scamardo’s other son-in-law, Warren Haynes, who has played with among others The Grateful Dead, the Allman Brothers, and is currently the leader of his own band, Gov’t Mule.
Haynes is married to Scamardo’s other daughter, Stefani, and they have one son, Hudson, according to Scamardo’s obituary, which left out all details of the two deaths.
Chris and Dina were married from 2000-2008, during which time they had a boy and girl. Mackney was never made aware of the murder or the families mob connections.
In 2008, shortly after the divorce got started Chris Mackney found an article which included Scamardo’s role in Degelia, Jr.’s murder. The next day and for the next five plus years, Dina Mackney changed lawyers, changing to a more aggressive strategy, eventually spending over $1 million, an amount only Pete Scamardo could afford.
They did this until Chris Mackney was forcibly removed from his home, left penniless, with no access to his two children. The ongoing harrassment and repeated jailings are said to have destroyed Mackney’s will to live and he killed himself on December 29, 2013.
Mackney’s horror in family court, along with Sam Degelia, Jr’s murder, are both detailed in the book by this reporter: Bullied to Death: Chris Mackney’s Kafkaesque Divorce.
Mackney’s suicide became notorious and turned him into a martyr like figure after his ex-wife’s attempt to copyright the suicide note months after the actual suicide went viral.
Besides two daughters and three grandchildren, Scamardo leaves behind his wife of 51 years, Andrea R. Scamardo, his sister, Betty Oney, of Fort Worth, Texas and her two children.
His on-line guest book at the funeral home has several entries, here’s the one from Fred Spain,
“Dear Andi, Dina, Stefani and family, We are very sad and heartbroken over the passing of our dear friend and we pray for his peaceful resting in his father’s house in heaven where we will all meet again some day. Fort Washington, MD”
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