Wednesday, January 4, 2017


by Jeff Canarsie

Joey Merlino
I've covered the boys from Philadelphia for a long time, and I haven't seen any group like the currently group we have in Philadelphia.  Granted, it has some familiar faces, there is some serious stuff going on in Philadelphia and you can bet it's all gonna hinge on what happens to Joey Merlino and his indictment.

I spoke at length months ago about the Philadelphia mafia.  The one thing I really told you to take notice of was George Borgesi(nephew of Joe Ligambi). The reason wa
s Georgie was front and center is because he was making waves in Philadelphia.  The reasons? Simple.

1. Borgesi when he left for "vacation" all his rackets were left to Marty Angelina.  We know Marty ended up in and out of the can as well, but when Borgesi came home he expected Merlino to have Angelina give back said rackets.

2. Borgesi's expectations were that Angelina would gladly hand them back over, and he was wrong. Not only did Angelina refuse, but scoffed at the idea.

This caused Borgesi to request a meeting with Joey Merlino(boss of the Philadelphia Mafia).  Joey refused to force Angelina's hand, then Borgesi asked for Angelina's head in return.  Keep in mind these guys all grew up together.  Joey refused.

As a result, Borgesi not only opened a social club on Packer Avenue in South Philadelphia, but began to openly be seen going in and out of the social club bringing attention.  FOX 29 in Philly covered it.

George Borgesi
Not only was Borgesi upset, but he began to try and gain traction with associates, and hangers on, and essentially anyone would listen to him and his problems.  His uncle- Joe Ligambi(Former Street boss and consigliere) would not give Georgie a shoulder to lean on, creating more static within the faction.

Another facet that annoyed certain "mob guys," was the elevation of Philip Narducci to Capo.  Not just a toughguy and high earner, but an ex Scarfo guy.  Joey extended this a
s an olive branch to former Scarfo guys.  Better to play together in the sandbox then fight.  Joey has learned more than enough since the days of Stanfa and Natale.

Odds on Favorite--Phillip Narducci
The Philadelphia mob is still run traditionally, but has splintered into four factions.  Keep in mind the numbers have climbed to pre- Scarfo type days(which saw maybe 50 members) raise to just over 100 today.   Also keep in mind you have 100 guys fighting over six rackets.

On the side of this, is Joey Merlino's upcoming trial. The only Philadelphia member named in a huge sweeping indictment that has some 48+ wiseguys arrested for crimes out of New York, Rhode Island, and Connecticut.  Joey stands to lose the most here, but a power struggle is going to come to Philadelphia like locusts from the plague.  Too many guys have everything to gain by Merlino going away for a long time.  Mostly Narducci, Borgesi, Mazzone, and Ligambi(who doesn't want leadership) and others. He was lucky to skate his last indictment.
"Uncle" Joe Ligambi

Borgesi will jockey for position, hoping that associates will support him, along with his Uncle, but Georgie lacks the power and toughness to take over the Philadelphia mafia.  Mazzone while close to Merlino isn't the leadership type.  Ligambi is older and wiser, and he's not going to play the front boss game.  That leads us to Narducci. In my opinion, he's the one guy who could make a run, with support from New York, and do it in a way that will keep the streets pointing north.

Where this gets dicey, is whether Borgesi will accept such a move, or whether he will preemptively strike.  It's going to be really difficult for him to take over anything as long as Narducci is in the streets. Borgesi just doesn't have the gall.  So how does this end for Philly?  Two ways.

A. If Joey Merlino goes away, there is going to be huge power struggle and a fight over rackets, power and money.

B. Joey stays out of prison and everyone tows the line.

If I was a betting man, I bank on a power struggle between whatever is left over if Joey heads to prison which would surely be a semi-lengthy sentence.  Either way-- things may be on the rise in Philadelphia, but they are also getting treacherous.

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