Reputed Florida-based Philadelphia mob boss Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino rang in the New Year with his old crew in Pennsylvania, attending a New Year’s Eve party in Philly’s Packer Park neighborhood. Several South Philly wiseguys were in attendance, per exclusive Gangster Report sources, including Merlino’s alleged acting boss and best bud, Steven (Handsome Stevie) Mazzone and his alleged consigliere and former reputed acting boss Joseph (Uncle Joe) Ligambi. Top alleged crime family associates like the Wagner brothers (Ray & Eddie) were there celebrating as well. The party was held in a tent outside. Photos have already started popping up on social media, showing Skinny Joey dancing and schmoozing with Ligambi.

The uber-magnetic and notoriously-savvy 53-year old Merlino did 12 years in prison on federal racketeering charges for his role leading the Philadelphia mafia in the mid-to-late 1990s and following his release in 2011 relocated to Boca Raton, Florida, where he’s opened a restaurant and according to the FBI and mob insiders, rules his Philly mob kingdom from afar. Cleared of his parole restrictions in the spring, Merlino has made frequent trips back home to Pennsylvania to visit and reportedly hold meetings and try to settle brewing disputes with what has become a crowded and clique-intense crime syndicate in recent years.

Described by insiders as a “fragile balance,” it appears that as many as four separate factions and/or sub-factions have emerged in today’s 2016 Philadelphia mafia, one led by Merlino, one alleged to be led by his former consigliere and confidant George (Georgie Boy) Borgesi and two reputedly headed by 1980s, “Little Nicky” Scarfo-era soldiers Joseph (Joey Pung) Pungitore and Phil Narducci, respectively.

The Narducci contingent is alleged to be the most significant non-Merlino led group, said to be backed by the infamous 10th-&-Oregon Gang. Sources claim due to increased tensions between Narducci and Merlino and Merlino’s alleged acting underboss John (Johnny Chang) Ciancaglini, if any form of tribute was being offered through Stevie Mazzone, it isn’t anymore. Borgesi (jailed from 2000-2014 and off parole restrictions since the summer), is reportedly on the outs with Merlino, too.

Merlino himself claims to be retired from the mob, scoffing at the notion that his trips to Philly are anything more than vacations to visit old friends and his family. Despite the Skinny One’s contentions of innocence, the FBI is openly investigating him again for a series of racketeering offenses spanning multiple states.

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