Alleged 'Mobster' Hired Hit Men to Kill Three

Ronald Galati Sr.
We have never heard of a gangster "hiring" a hit man. Sounds like something a guy pretending to be a gangster would do....That is why we find so confusing the latest big-news Philly mob story -- that of Ronald Galati Sr., who is described as a mob associate who while under investigation for insurance fraud, hired hitmen to take out three targets.

Philly's NewsWorks reported that Galati had been an associate of former Philly mob boss [Joseph 'Skinny Joey'] Merlino and had also been convicted of racketeering in the 1990s for his connection to a murder plot planned by rival mobster John Stanfa. (Is this a copy editing mistake or did Galati change his allegiance? Depends on whether "planned by" should be "planned for" -- but we digress.)

SFGate reported that Galati Sr., 63, now behind bars again, has been the focus of an ongoing insurance-fraud investigation. He was arrested last week on allegations that he had hired hit men to kill three people. Attempting to take out one of the targets, two of the hitmen were caught and arrested.

Galati worked at American Collision & Automotive Center in South Philadelphia, of which his son, Ronald Galati Jr., is president. noted that the "auto-body shop has received more than $1 million from the City of Philadelphia for working on police cars and other city vehicles, is known for cozying up to cops by throwing block parties or repairing their personal vehicles at a discount."

But that cash cow is no longer giving milk. "City officials on Wednesday decided to stop sending cars there after the Daily News reported on the American Collision contract and Galati's alleged attempt to hire men..."

Galati will stay in jail over Christmas while a judge weighs the murder charges -- whatever that means. The "contracts" were put out on his daughter's boyfriend and two rivals (reminds us of Theodore "Teddy" Persico Jr.)

Galati also is accused of threatening people during a grand jury investigation focusing on organized crime and insurance fraud, according to SFGate.

"A police affidavit filed in court states that Galati agreed to pay $20,000 apiece for the killings of a rival shop owner who testified before the grand jury and the shop owner's son," the report noted.

The affidavit also noted the third hit, on the daughter's boyfriend, apparently was carried out in November: "Andrew Tuono [was shot] outside Tuono's Atlantic City, N.J., home. Tuono was shot three times in the abdomen but survived. Police caught two of the shooters, who said Galati had paid them to kill Tuono and the father and son, the affidavit said."

Additional evidence has been gathered, according to prosecutors, who added that they have could not disclose the details in court.

Galati case has no apparent ties to Philadelphia mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and his nephew George Borgesi who are on trial for racketeering in a case perhaps most notable for its lack of violence, with charges devoted mainly to loansharking and bookmaking.

But the fact that this guy has priors linking him to the mob and is taking up lots of Philly headline space in the slow-news holiday season could possibly have an impact on Uncle Joe's trial, something his lawyers are concerned about.

So are the mob links trumped-up charges, which the prosecution is moving to capitalize on? Federal prosecutors would never go to such nefarious lengths!