Philly Wiseguy Galati Decides to Take 'Em to Trial

It appears less likely that Ronald Galati, an associate of the Philadelphia Mafia, will flip, according to a recent story on Big Trial Blog by George Anastasia, who reported that the "wannabe wiseguy" is letting the Feds take the case to trial.

What's more, he's even "considering taking the stand in his own defense."

Galati, who was :arrested shortly before last Christmas, faces a long list of people who have betrayed him -- his daughter and the hitmen he'd allegedly hired to murder his daughter's boyfriend.

Galati will square off against three key charges -- the attempted whacking of the boyfriend, Andrew Tuono in Camden, as well as counts related to insurance fraud and witness intimidation in Philadelphia.

As noted recently, Galati is, in fact, in such deep trouble that the Feds consider him ripe for flipping. The Feds are supposedly looking for some assistance to help them, once and for all, nail the power base in Philly: Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi and Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino.

However, as Big Trial notes: "His apparent resolve to go to trial and perhaps tell his story in his own words to the jury undercuts speculation and media reports that he might cooperate with authorities.

"I don't know anything about anybody," he has reportedly told those close to him."

Galati had been an associate of former Philly mob boss [Joseph 'Skinny Joey'] Merlino and had been convicted of racketeering in the 1990s for his connection to a murder plot planned for rival mobster John Stanfa.

Galati Sr., 63, 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."

That contract has since ended.

While on Big Trial we found an interesting story: Skinny Joey's First Interview Since Leaving Prison | Big Trial Blog.

It includes a close call for the Mafia Prince of Philadelphia, who was lucky enough not to say anything incriminating when he met a Gambino soldier for coffee.

Nick "Stefanelli, known as “Nicky Skins,” was set to testify for the Feds in 2012 -- before the aging gangster turncoat decided to take another way out -- suicide. Still, he'd flipped years earlier and had been wearing a wire for close to two years.

Stefanelli, 69, was found dead in a New Jersey hotel room.

Skinny Joey Merlino in full John Gotti mode.

Onto the Big Trial interview:

They met in a Dunkin’ Donuts near the beach in Boca Raton.

Nicholas Stefanelli, a 60-something mobster from North Jersey, was full of propositions and ideas for “business” ventures.

Joey Merlino, recently turned 50 and out of jail for about a year, was all ears.

Merlino was looking for a fresh start in Florida, or so he said. Stefanelli had come recommended from a defense attorney in Newark who had worked on one of Joey’s cases.

They talked for about an hour. At first, Stefanelli focused on ideas for bars and restaurants, businesses he knew Joey was interested in. Money and backers were available, he said. They could make something happen, he promised. Then he steered the conversation to past events in the world in which they both operated.

Stefanelli, known as “Nicky Skins,” was a soldier in the Gambino crime family.

Merlino, who everyone knew as “Skinny Joey,” had been or was (depending on your frame of reference) the boss of the Philadelphia mob. He had just finished a 14-year stint in a federal prison. He had no desire to go back. So when Stefanelli started asking about some of the guys up north and talking about pending criminal cases, Merlino pulled back.

There are certain things you don’t talk about, especially with someone you’ve just met.

A couple of Joes
“He  asked me about Joe (Ligambi, one of several prominent Philadelphia mob figures then awaiting trial on racketeering conspiracy charges),”  Merlino recalled. “I said he was a nice guy and I hoped he beat the case.”

Then Stefanelli asked about Nicky Scarfo Jr., who was in federal prison awaiting trial on charges that he and an associate had looted a Texas-based mortgage company, siphoning out more than $12 million through bogus business deals and phony consulting contracts.

“When he asked me about Scarfo, I said it was a shame what happened to that kid,” Merlino said. “I said his father (jailed mob boss Nicodemo “Little Nicky” Scarfo, an unindicted co-conspirator in the fraud case) was going to get him 100 years … And I meant it.”

The meeting at the Dunkin' Donuts was in December 2011. A year later, Merlino learned that Stefanelli was recording everything they said when they sat down over coffee that day.

“The fuckin’ guy was wired,” Merlino said. “I got the tape. In fact, I got two from Joe Ligambi’s lawyer. He thought I had talked to the guy twice. But we had only met once."

"There were two tapes because the guy was wearing two wires, one on his body and one in his watch. He shoulda been fuckin’ electrocuted.  The feds sent him down here to set me up. I told him I’m legitimate. I don’t want nothing to do with any of that other stuff … What else could I say?”

Kim K.
Merlino is sitting in a posh restaurant in the W Hotel on Beach Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, a short drive from the condo in Boca Raton where he has been living with his good friend and former South Philadelphia neighbor Donnie Petullo.

For the first time since his release to a halfway house in Florida over a year ago, Merlino has agreed to talk publicly about himself, about where he is and what he hopes to do with the rest of his life.

READ REST -- it's a long, interesting story..... One highlight:

"Everyone at the table agrees that Kardashian has parlayed her physical attributes into a money-making career. Merlino doesn’t see any reason why he can’t cash in as well. He may not have a big ass, but he's got a lot of other things going for him. The only stipulation, he said, is that whatever he does has to be legitimate."


  1. Skinny being skinny u gotta love it. Philly

  2. Ok guys Ronny the wig Galati is looking at 30 yrs does he go to trial get convicted then decides to talk Or does he have better leverage with the feds if he talks before he.s conficted and we really dont know if he has any thing on Uncle Joe or not.

  3. Galati faces 30 years? Thought it was less. He looks like the kinda guy who'd do his time and not flip. Nicodemo with the hot wife, who knows. Bath Beach guys Tommy Reynolds and Fabrizio were young like him, with families, too, and refused to flip. Reynolds got life without parole and the Herder, 50 years. Some people think doing time is easier, I guess. Reynolds must have one regret, though. Not putting a bullet in someone's head when he had the chance.

  4. I dont know Galati he talked talk the talk did a stretch in the 90.s but what was it 3 yrs ur right though its 15 to 20 add the other indictments u see what i was sayingabout the 30 yrs he dies in there.
    I meant Anthony Nicodemo a few times i dont know if he talks or not 50/50 i got him at. He.ll have almost 3 yrs by time trial is over if he cops to a deal for those murders he does tops 8 but gives up the big boys . Gonna be interesting winter for them guys. He talks its almost a given Anthony Staino will have a big fecision to make. Philly

  5. Ed like the picture of skinny in Gotti mode
    Kim k smokimg as usual and the picture of galati daughter isnt bad either philly

  6. You must assume he is steaming in prison demnding Paciello get why has he not been whacked?? and not just because of some crack head like reynolds but due to the fact that his cooperation triggered a dominoe efffect that decimated the leadership of the family. After watching what has happened in Montreal, I know the mafia stills hits New York just that weak? ??

    As for Nicodemo..... he figures if he is guilty and flips he would have to do 5-10 years for a couple why not fight the case and if they buy it great, if not take a page from Leonetti and flip after the guilty verdict.

    Love the column....Suits


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