Meeting Of The Minds, Mob Style: Philly Button Man Borgesi Breaks Bread With NYC Wiseguys

Philadelphia mobster George (Georgie Boy) Borgesi, off parole since last summer, just keeps wheeling and dealing, extending his powerbase. Per exclusive Gangster Report sources, the 53-year old Borgesi, the Philly Italian crime family’s former consigliere, has had at least two meetings since the beginning of the year with members of New York’s Gambino mob, one in New Jersey and one in Florida. This is his second year of freedom after nearly a decade-and-a-half in the can.

“Georgie ain’t slowing down, he’s making up for lost time and loving it ,” said one source. “The New York guys like him. He’s got that going for him. They respect what’s he’s done.”

Last month, Gangster Report cited sources in revealing Borgesi had been meeting with and leveraging out-of-state mob contacts he made behind bars. Back in January, Dave Schratwieser and his FoxPhilly TV News investigative team reported on Borgesi’s new basecamp at a pizza-parlor-turned-clubhouse in South Philadelphia at the corner of 11th and Jackson, as well as the fact that Borgesi’s uncle, Joseph (Uncle Joe) Ligambi had recently moved from consigliere to acting boss and confirming Gangster Report’s breaking the news in late 2015 of a recent making ceremony. The following week, resident City of Brotherly Love mobologist George Anastasia reported at that the mob induction ritual took place in October 2015 and included a class of five initiates.

Gangster Report has learned at least three of the new button men are loyal to Borgesi, one of four faction leaders in a crowded South Philly underworld these days. According to Gangster Report sources, Borgesi met with Gambino members in South Florida at a posh penthouse hotel suite during a February visit down South with his uncle to see his boyhood pal and reputed current Philadelphia mafia don Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino. The week before that, these sources say, he met with a different set of Gambinos in New Jersey at a local “dive bar” for lunch.

Borgesi is said to be, at least partially, at odds with the perpetually-magnetic and consummately-slick Merlino, who splits his time between the suddenly-congested Pennsylvania gangland scene and the fun and sun in Boca Raton and the comfy confines of his trendy restaurant. The 76-year old Ligambi served in an advisory and brokering capacity in both Borgesi’s “sit down” with Merlino and his meal with the Gambinos, per sources.

“Things are getting better between Georgie and Joey,” one source said. “I don’t know if they’re over the hump yet, but their closer than they were six months ago.”

Ligambi was recorded by Gambino liaison and FBI informant Nicholas (Nicky Skins) Stefanelli in 2010 at an upscale New Jersey Italian restaurant discussing a variety of subjects with Gambino luminaries such as “Cherry Hill John” Gambino, a cousin of long-deceased crime family namesake “Don Carlo” Gambino. The recordings were played at Ligambi and Borgesi’s pair of federal racketeering trials that ended in hung juries – Stefanelli, who also taped an uneventful conversation with Merlino at a Florida Dunkin Donuts, didn’t make it to the witness stand, he committed suicide in 2012.

Merlino made Borgesi in the mid-1990s. Borgesi allegedly bragged to a friend-turned-FBI informant (“Bent Finger Lou” Monacello) of committing 11 mob murders. In the late 1990s, he became Skinny Joey’s consigliere.

Per sources, Merlino and Borgesi butted heads over Merlino’s not punishing fellow childhood chum Marty Angelina for pillaging his gambling and loan sharking businesses while Borgesi served 14 years in prison. The three were all convicted together in a high profile federal RICO case in 2001. Years earlier they fought and won a bloody street war for control of the Philadelphia mafia as swaggering thirtysomething goodfellas eager to put their collective mark on the east coast mob landscape, which they wound up doing in spades.

Cosa Nostra News reported earlier this week that Ligambi is once again the target of a criminal inquiry being launched by a beefed-up FBI mob squad. He was Merlino’s acting boss while Merlino served a dozen years in prison (1999-2011), going into semi-retirement and consigliere status following his two mistrials in early 2014. Schratwieser and his FoxPhillyNews team broke the news that Ligambi had replaced Merlino’s best friend and seasoned No. 2, Steven (Handsome Stevie) Mazzone as acting boss in mid-to-late 2015.

Gangster Report sources say the move by Merlino to reinstall Ligambi as his day-to-day front boss was a “measure to calm tensions,” emerging from the various factions currently circling the wagons on the street. The induction of three Borgesi loyalists was a goodwill gesture on Skinny Joey’s part, these sources contend.

Ligambi bridges the gap between opposing Philly mob crews. He was “made” in the 1980s Nicodemo (Little Nicky) Scarfo era, along with reputed faction heads Phil Narducci and Joseph (Joey Punge) Pungitore, but his mentorship of the 1990s Skinny Joey era mob is undeniable. Crafting himself a reputation as a gentleman gangster with master diplomacy skills, Ligambi stabilized a near-careening out of control syndicate, for all intents and purposes having endured two decades in a row of dysfunction, death and overall chaos when he took the reins in the summer of 1999 on the heels of Merlino’s arrest.

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