August 11, 2019 — The Philadelphia mafia’s acting boss Joseph (Uncle Joe) Ligambi is retiring, according to the newest episode of Mob Talk Sitdown on YouTube. Ligambi has headed day-to-day affairs for the Bruno-Scarfo crime family for most of the last two decades. Philly mobologists and award-winning reporters Dave Schratwieser and George Anastasia host the on-line series which evolved from their popular television news segment that ran on the city’s Fox affiliate for years. Ligambi turned 80 on Thursday.

The crime family held a combined retirement party and 80th birthday party for Ligambi at the Jersey Shore last week per sources, a soirée attended by the entire syndicate’s rank and file and probably the prying eyes of the FBI, if only for the fact that word of the fiesta, ironically intended to be a surprise, spread like wildfire in the weeks preceding it, even reaching mob-gossip circles in the Midwest. Sources tell Gangster Report Ligambi’s nephew and longtime Philly mob administrator George (Georgie Boy) Borgesi, 55, planned the bash and is in line to succeed Ligambi as acting boss of the borgata

Georgie Boy Borgesi’s childhood best friend Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino, has been at the helm of the mafia in Philly in some form or another since the 1990s. Borgesi was Merlino’s consigliere from the late-1990s into the early 2000s when they both went to federal prison for racketeering

Merlino is wrapping up a short stint behind bars for a gambling offense. His most recent case was out of New York and Borgesi was seen chauffeuring him around Manhattan and Philadelphia to court appearances and meetings with his attorneys last year.

Fresh off finishing his own 10-year prison term, Uncle Joe Ligambi became Merlino’s acting boss in the summer of 1999 and stabilized an organization being torn apart by infighting and violence. Merlino fought a war for power in the crime family with Sicilian-born don John Stanfa for the first half of the 1990s, littering the street with bodies. Stanfa was jailed for racketeering and murder in 1994. Merlino, Borgesi and several others in their so-called “Young Turks” crew beat multiple murder charges at a heavily publicized 2001 trial.

A low key and well-liked bartender and bookie during his come-up through the underworld, Ligambi was brought into the mob by Skinny Joey’s father, Salvatore (Chuckie) Merlino, who was the underboss of the Bruno-Scarfo clan in the 1980s. According to federal prosecutors, Ligambi got his mafia “button” in 1986 for being a triggerman in the gangland slaying of veteran Philly mob figure Frank (Frankie Flowers) D’Alfonso the year before. D’Alfonso refused to fork over tribute cash on his hefty loan sharking and gambling operations to then boss Nicodemo (Little Nicky) Scarfo.

Ligambi was convicted of the Frankie Flowers murder however had the conviction tossed on appeal and beat the case at a 1997 retrial. He then beat a racketeering indictment at a pair of trials (hung jury, acquittal, respectively) in 2013 and 2014.

Following his fight with the law, Ligambi briefly stepped aside as acting boss and transitioned to consigliere, but was called back to duty around mid 2015 to help smooth waters for a crime family in flux with old-school Philly mob players returning on the scene after serving lengthy prison sentences for their activity in the bloody Little Nicky Scarfo era in which Ligambi made his bones in. The most recent Mob Talk Sitdown episode reported that despite Ligambi’s acting boss title, he’s actually been conducting himself in a more consigliere-type capacity for the last couples years. Earlier Mob Talk Sitdown episodes named 56-year old Michael (Mikey Lance) Lancelotti as Merlino’s street boss these days.

Federal investigators continue to eye Ligambi for ordering at least three unsolved Philly mob murders: the 1999 murder of former consigliere Ronnie Turchi, the 2002 murder of Scarfo era figure Raymond (Long John) Martorano and the 2003 murder of Merlino-rival John (Johnny Gongs) Casasanto. Long John Martorano came out of prison in the fall of 1999 and allegedly tried to challenge Ligambi’s rule.

Georgie Boy Borgesi has bragged of playing a role in 11 mob hits, according to federal informants. He walked from the same racketeering case his uncle was slapped with eight years ago. Since getting out of prison, Borgesi worked his way back up the ladder to capo status, reestablishing the Philly mob’s New England satellite crew he got off the ground in 1998 and leveraging mob contacts from around the country he made in the can. He’s also pocketing some serious Jack by legitimate means, diversifying into construction, stock market investments, real estate, and lighting, according to sources.

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