Longtime plastics compounding executive Charles Gitto passed away Oct. 26 at age 80.
Gitto was a native of Fitchburg, Mass., who served as a U.S. Marine in the Korean War. After his military service, he earned a degree from Clark University in Worcester, Mass.
He then worked in sales for Great American Chemical Co. and for Lynn Plastics, an early PVC compounder in Lynn, Mass. He next founded PVC compounder Abbott Industries Inc., but sold that firm in 1979 to join his brother in launching Gary Chemical Corp. in Leominster, Mass.
Gitto sold Gary Chemical to Evode Ltd. in 1989, which renamed it AlphaGary CorpAfter selling Gary Chemical, Gitto owned Pace Wire and Cable in Pepperell, Mass., before re-entering the compounding market in 1990 with Gitto Corp. in Lunenburg, Mass. That business later merged with another firm to become Gitto Global Corp.
The latter years of Charles Gitto's career were marred by a financial scandal that enveloped Gitto Global. He was indicted in 2008 on federal charges of conspiracy and wire fraud. Five other Gitto Global officials, including Gitto's son, Gary, also were indicted. Federal officials claimed the firm's executives spent company funds for their personal use, eventually running up corporate debt of more than $50 million.
Gitto Global had filed for bankruptcy in 2004. At that time, a lawyer for Gitto said Gitto wasn't involved with the firm and his title of chairman was only an honorary title. Gitto did own Tradex Corp., a firm that owned the building and land that housed Gitto Global. Tradex filed for bankruptcy in 2005.
In late 2010, Gitto was dismissed from the case against him because medical conditions prevented him from being able to assist in his own defense.
While in the military, Gitto won a National Defense Service Medal and three others. He later won numerous awards for his involvement in civic affairs in the Leominster area. He served on the Board of Trustees at St. Anselm's College in Manchester, N.H. He and his family also donated to fund a science lab at Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass.