Is There Even a Cosa Nostra in Philadelphia?

"Who knows him?"
Ralph Natale
--John Gotti, former boss of Gambino family, in response to Ralph Natale's question regarding if New York's families would support Sicilian-born John Stanfa as boss over Philadelphia. 

"If the mob was really the mob, I'd still be a mob guy."
--Big Ron Previte, former capo of the Philadelphia family.


As we noted in a recent post, mob memberships in Philadelphia were for sale around 10 years ago.

Someone could have made a cash payment to George Borgesi, supposedly the family's consiglieri, as late as 2003, as well as Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, in the 1990s.

Now we're learning that the problems go even deeper than that -- at least during the Philadelphia mob's Stanfa-Natale-Merlino period. In fact back then mobsters outside of Philadelphia questioned the bona fides of several members and the family hierarchy's legitimacy seems to have been a major issue.

At least until Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi began running the show. Only now he's supposedly retired...


DEVELOPING.....

Comments

  1. Uncle Joe running things as acting boss while Joey merlino was in the Joint might be the best thing that ever happened to this sinking ship for one he brought respect back with his crew by building up the things that make the mob run like a well oiled machine.
    Now with Stevie mazzone and Johnny chang be put in charge while Joeys in Fla will see if it continues with the Ronny the wig Galati trial and Nicodemo trials in the near future things could change if people start talking and dont forget that Boy George Borgesi is a big piece to the puzzle also he.s uncle Joes nephew and a big earner in the 90.s and wasnt afraid to get his hands dirty either before he went to Jail. Also Mikey Lancelotti a capo Marty Angelina who.s in jail will have something to say if changes start from these trial
    Gonna Be Interesting For The Mobsters Of Brotherly Love. Philly

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  2. How could someone not question the legitimacy of Ralph Natale. The man is made by Joey Merlino who is a soldier and then is immediately proclaimed boss!?! They even made an ex-cop for gods sake! It was a free for all in Philly for a while, all the rules were broken.

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  3. well u see Joey made himself boss even while he had Ralph as the lightning rod and a lot of John Stanfa guys have come into question Big Vince fillipelli John Veasey Sergio Bataglia phillip Colletti to name a few. Philly

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  4. One thing philly send to have is a mob where all the members are close knit. They grew up together, they're from the same neighborhood, their fathers, uncles, and grandfathers were in the life, and their often times blood related. Sure, they started breaking all the rules after scarfo went away in terms of upholding mob traditions, especially the merlino faction (e.g I'll make u if u make me), but there is still an authenticity about the faMily that keeps me interested.

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  5. can somebody tell me about the old timers during the scarfo era who are out !? how wil they fit in ?? and should the philly crime family import sicilians/calabrians from the old country to bring back the structure and rules ( they are the real mafiosi)
    i read leonetti's and previte's book and according to them and other sources those are the real gangsters! merlino ,mazzone , angelina, borgesi rest of merlino crew are all thieves who steal from the borgota/friends? and where is charly delucca on this topic? thanx in advance

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  6. Supposedly Phil Narducci is running a crew with the old time Scarfo guys who are back out on the streets, including his brother Frank Narducci and Joe Grande. Milano was shelved by Ligambi and brought back by Narducci. From what I've heard the Pungitore's have no interest in returning to the life, and they are doing quite well in real estate. Skinny Joey is running things from South Florida through his guys back in South Philly. Stevie Mazzone is the street boss and Johnny Chang underboss.

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  7. Well, to be fair, the ex-cop you speak of (Ron Previte) was actually inducted by John Stanfa, not Merlino. And after Stanfa went away, the FBI tried to use Previte for years to record/incriminate Joey and he could never do it. I'd say the 14 year sentence worked out pretty well, considering he was looking at life (possibly the death penalty for the Sodano hit in Jersey) if I recall correctly.

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  8. why was milano shelved?

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  9. Honestly, I have no idea and couldn't tell you. He was serving a long racketeering sentence as part of the Scarfo trial, and wasn't released until 2003. I heard that Ligambi/Merlino put him on the shelf shortly after Ligambi became the acting boss. His brother, Eugene, was also part of the Scarfo organization and became a government witness in 1989. Both of those answers are just speculation, but as of now it's believed that he's back in with the Narducci crew. I've also heard several places that there is serious tension brewing between Narducci and Johnny Chang. With all of Merlino's guys back on the street, and a few more due back on the street in 2015, things could get really interesting in the City of Brotherly Love.

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  10. If its true there is friction between Johnny chang and phil narducci thats not good Johnny might be the only level headed one from the merlino guys therefore with this Nicodemo trial in 2015 coming up if he stays stand up nothing happens if he flips Some of the merlino crew and ligambi boys will have major problems if phil narducci plays his cards right and i think he will he.ll inherit the top spot by default andi dont think Skinny will come back from fla rumor has it the scarfo boys really dont care for him. Philly

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  11. werent one of the pungitores involved with salvy testa in killimg phil narduccis father. philly

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  12. I tend to agree that the Nicodemo trial will be a huge make or break for the whole Philadelphia mob. But, for it to be a major problem, that suggests that he would "flip" if he were to be convicted and sentenced to a long prison term. There is no evidence from the past to prove that Nicodemo would be a guy who would flip. If anything, with all the evidence against him, I think if he was going to flip he would have done it already. It seems right now that he and his lawyer both believe they can beat this case. However, in the event he does lose the case and does become a rat, he could essentially be the guy who puts the last nail in the coffin for LCN in Philadelphia. He could give them Uncle Joe and the three unsolved hits during his time as acting boss - it's believed that Nicodemo was involved and/or the shooter at least in the Johnny Gongs hit. Philly PD and the FBI believe he can give them info on the other two hits as well. He could give them information that would put Merlino away for good, as well as Borgesi. I don't know what kind of information would be had against Chang and Mazzone, but at the very least they would be put away for racketeering. If Nicodemo flips and eventually all of those guys go away (some for life) then yes, Narducci wins/takes the top spot by default. But what would really be left for him to run, a few soldiers? The family would essentially be decimated to almost nothing. The numbers in the family are already low (around 30 made guys on the street), if this were to happen, they would basically be a street gang. There would be no need for a formal structure or hierarchy anymore.

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  13. Also, regarding the Scarfo guys and Skinny Joey. The few guys from the Scarfo era still involved do not care much for Merlino at all, but right now it looks like everybody has fallen in line. The only person who could even think about making a move would be Narducci, and even still, I don't think he has enough backing to make a move against Chang/Merlino. Plus, these guys know what the last street war between Stanfa and Merlino did for business. I don't know if Joey will come back or not. His parole restrictions expire in September, which means he can associate with whoever he wants and do as he pleases, but I think he remains in Boca for now. I think he likes his life down there. He's not in the spotlight or getting as much attention as he would in Philly. Think about it, this guy was a celebrity back home. If he came back he would have law enforcement all over him the minute he steps back into the city, and things are running just fine with him down in Florida and Mazzone running the ship for him in Philly.

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  14. Ed, could you send a link or show where you got the quote at the top of the article? Is it from a book? The whole quote just doesn't make sense to me. I don't know when Gotti and Natale could have met or even spoken to each other, unless you mean Junior Gotti. Senior Gotti was put away in 1992 and sent to Marion Federal Prison in Illinois. Ralph Natale was serving a federal prison sentence in McKean FCI in Pennsylvania from the late 1970's until 1994, when he was inducted by Merlino and appointed the front boss of the Philadelphia LCN. They were never out on the street at the same time or in prison together at the same time. And, to the best of my knowledge, I thought Gotti and the Gambino's were the ones who were behind installing Stanfa as boss in Philadelphia.

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  15. Joey needs to stay in Fla he comes home and starts putting his hand in the cookie jar this thing thats left will turn to shit especially since Georgie was told to stay out of Del county which was his before he went to jail the two of them together running things wont bid well for Stevie and Johnny and what uncle Joe built back up while they wete in the joint all joey needs is his envelope and things should be okay. Philly

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  16. I think the comment was made about Ralph natale not John Stanfa but not %100 sure remeber reading something about it though i think philly

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  17. this article has been developing for 10 days when are you gpoing to finish it? what was point of starting if you werent going to finish?

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  18. I'm not even gonna bother writing this one! You all nailed it in the comments!

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  19. It's in Anastasia book on Ron Previte.

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  20. Just kidding but you guys have set the bar high; I need more time....

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