Philly Cosa Nostra Is A-Rockin and A-Rollin...

 Philadelphia is seeing a "resurgence of the local crime family," George Anastasia noted on BigTrial.
Uncle Joe and George Borgese....

Philadelphia is seeing a "resurgence of the local crime family," George Anastasia noted on BigTrial.

Which may be why there's been talk about known members of New York's Gambino crime family showing up in Philly very recently. As we know from the dear departed Nicholas "Nicky Skins" Stefanelli, the Gambino crime family was known to break bread with the Philly guys. A soldier who flipped and was wired for sound by the FBI for two years, Stefanelli was 69 when he whacked himself in March 2012.

Stefanelli — who operated in New Jersey but reported to jailed New York capo Nicholas "Little Nicky" Corozzo — secretly taped countless cronies after he and his son were nabbed in a drug-dealing operation. Nicky Skins decided to cooperate to get his kid off the hook.

He made lots of tapes, however, and the recordings live on. (He even caught Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino in a conversation, though Merlino, saying afterward that he had sensed something was amiss with Stefanelli, was able to duck the guy without saying anything incriminating.)

Stefanelli recorded that five-hour lunch meeting that occurred on May 2010 at LaGriglia, a restaurant located in Kenilworth, NJ. A contingent of Philly guys, including Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi, Anthony Staino and Joe Licata, met with a Gambino crew that consisted of Gambino brothers Joe and John Gambino from New York. Wonder if they told him they'd once planned to murder him?

(Yes, Anastasia kicked off that AARP piece with this meeting.)

Straight-up, here's some interesting details from Anastasia's BigTrial story:

Law enforcement investigators are also aware that back in October there was a mob initiation ceremony in which five associates were formally inducted into the crime family. Traditionally, a making ceremony is overseen by the crime family boss and the initiates are individuals who have sworn a blood oath of allegiance to Cosa Nostra and who have proven that allegiance by having taken part in a murder.
But this is Cosa Nostra 2000 and individuals are often "made" because of their blood relationship to another member or because they are good earners. Money trumps murder in the modern American Mafia, at least in South Philadelphia.

So many guys are back in the City of Brotherly Love, that it seems there was such a growing hankering for a place where old friends could gather and talk over an espresso with a modicum of privacy that a bona fide Mafia social club opened its doors.

Law enforcement and the media were jolted awake once they learned that the Philly mob had taken such a brazen step, as Anastasia notes, referring to Fox29's Dave Schratwieser's special report.

Among the joint's habitues: Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi, his nephew, George Borgesi, and others -- all of whom "are frequently spotted" going to the clubhouse, located at 11th and Jackson Streets.

Borgesi and some others also have worked their way into a new business venture that has something to do with the construction and home rehab sectors. They even opened a Passyunk Avenue office. This apparently isn't a racket, according to Anastasia's sources.

"It's all legit," said one such source with knowledge of the new business ventures. "They're not doing anything wrong."

Yet, as Anastasia noted: "It has not been lost on law enforcement... that the ventures into home rehab, construction and mortgage refinancing are exactly what mob informants Louis "Bent Finger Lou" Monacello and Anthony Aponick testified about at Borgesi's last two racketeering trials."

And to think it wasn't that long ago that Borgesi was requesting permission to whack someone. He was declined but the supposed target was not an obvious target for him, a source told me. In other words, it was someone in Borgesi's own circle, not one of his supposedly "known" enemies.

Location of infamous Gambino, Philadelphia mobsters' luncheon.

The Mob Clubhouse, Lauded, Lamented, Gone... 
Most Mafia clubhouses in New York -- and it would seem, most of the rest of the U.S. -- have long since closed and disappeared.

So when one seems to open, it tends to attract attention.

"Both the FBI and investigators with the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Office and State Police have been tracking the activities," Anastasia notes. Of course. That's their job.

Said another law enforcement source: "It doesn't bode well for their rehabilitation if they are hanging out with the same people with whom they committed crimes." A retired head of the Organized Crime Strike Force for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia, he added that this is definitely one of the things that "bear(s) watching."

Several mobsters have returned home and are on the streets; some are considered, essentially, unconvicted murderers.

"None of the murder or attempted murder charges that were part of a 2001 racketeering case against mob boss Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino, Borgesi and five other defendants were proven," as Anastasia noted.

Those unsolved murders may overlap with the three homicides that Philly lawmen were seeking to link to Uncle Joe and some of his top associates. Last year Anthony Nicodemo pleaded guilty to third-degree murder, conspiracy, and weapons charges in the 2012 shooting death of Gino DiPietro, for which he was sentenced to 25 years minimum, was identified as a suspect in the 2003 murder of John "Johnny Gongs" Casasanto.

That hit is among several allegedly linked to "Uncle Joe" Ligambi. The other murder victims are Ronnie Turchi, who was hit in 1999, and Raymond “Long John” Martorano, who reached the end of the road in 2002.

Ligambi is one of the more successful modern bosses. He is credited with cooling down the Philly underworld following decades of unrest. Departing jail after being held without bail during the time it took two mistrials to run their course, Ligambi started talking about retirement. It looks like he's still around the streets and was last considered to be a sort of co-consiglieri.

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