Updated news on the Gambino, Genovese, Bonanno, Lucchese and Colombo Organized Crime Families of New York City.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Ligambi was 6th boss to follow Bruno

Angelo BrunoAngelo BrunoWith his arrest today, reputed mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi joins a line of modern-day Philadelphia Mafia leaders who have found themselves in the crosshairs of either underworld rivals or federal prosecutors.
Here's a look at how the tenures of Philadelphia's Mafia Dons ended over the past 30 years.
- Angelo Bruno, mob boss from 1959 to 1980, assassinated outside his Snyder Avenue rowhouse on March 21, 1980. His consigliere, Antonio "Tony Bananas" Caponigro has been suspected of orchestrating - and perhaps personally carrying out - the shotgun execution of Bruno on that rainy Friday night. Caponigro and three suspected coconspirators turned up dead before the end of the year. Bruno was 69 when he was killed.
- Philip "Chicken Man" Testa, Bruno's underboss, took over the crime family after Bruno's murder. Died when a bomb planted under the porch of his home in the 2100 Porter Street was detonated by remote control on March 15, 1981. Like Caesar, Testa got it on the Ides of March. He was 57. (Bruce Springsteen's song "Atlantic City" includes the line, "They blew up the Chicken Man, last night," a reference to the Testa murder.)
- Nicodemo "Little Nicky" Scarfo, ruled the crime family from his base in Atlantic City from 1981 until his arrest in 1987. A Testa ally, Scarfo is considered one of the most violent mob bosses in Philadelphia and American history. He was convicted in separate trials on extortion and racketeering charges. The racketeering case included nine murders and four attempted murders. He was sentenced to consecutive 14- and 55-year terms. Scarfo, 82, is effectively serving a life sentence. His earliest release date is Jan. 5, 2033, according to prison records.
- John Stanfa, took control of the family around 1989 (Scarfo's cousin, Anthony "Tony Buck" Piccolo was a caretaker boss until then). Convicted of racketeering in 1995 (the case included five murders). Stanfa, 70, is currently serving five life sentences.
- Ralph Natale assumed the top spot in an alliance with Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino following a war with the Stanfa faction of the crime family. Natale, 76, was boss from 1995 through 1999 when he was indicted on drug dealing charges. A short time later, he became a government witness. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison and was housed in a protective custody wing of a federal facility. While information about protected witnesses is not public, it is believed Natale was released from prison earlier this year.
- Merlino, 49, took over in 1999 after he and a group of younger mobsters split with Natale. Convicted of racketeering - but not several murder and attempted murder charges that were part of the case - he was sentenced to 14 years in prison in 2001. He was released to a halfway house in Florida, where he has said he intends to relocate, in March
STRANGE FACT: Scarfo, Natale and Merlino have birth dates within a week of one another. Natale was born on March 6 (1935), Scarfo on March 8 (1929) and Merlino on March 13 (1962).



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