The city's current mob boss keeps a much lower profile than his imprisoned predecessor.
Joseph Anthony Ligambi is the current boss of the Philadelphia mob, but who is he really? In 1988 the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation issued a report titled "Organized Crime Roster--Profiles of Bruno/Scarfo Group" that listed Ligambi as a "soldier" in the Bruno/Scarfo Organized Crime Family. In 1990 the Pennsylvania Crime Commission listed him as an "inductee" of the Pennsylvania La Cosa Nostra family headed by Nicodemo Scarfo.
Clearly, Ligambi is a seasoned organized crime veteran, but it's not like he's a household name. Not like, say, Joey Merlino.
Merlino, the city's former mob boss, reveled in his criminal status right up until he got carted off to jail.
But Ligambi, 65, maintains a profile so low that his name doesn't even register with most Philadelphians.
We decided to ask Lt. Tom Coccia of the Philadelphia Police Department's Organized Crime Unit to share a bit of what he knows about the city's current mob kingpin.
So who is Joe Ligambi anyway?
"From my point of view right now, he's the head of the Philadelphia faction of La Cosa Nostra."
Has Ligambi been flying under the radar all these years, or has law enforcement been marking him for a while?
"He's been known to law enforcement for more than 30 years. He's no spring chicken."
There's been an assumption for a long time that the new mob is run by young, flashy guys like Joey Merlino. Is Ligambi a throwback to the old-school, more low-key mob?
"Yes. He's more traditionally old-school. You have to remember the Philadelphia faction of La Cosa Nostra took major hits from law enforcement. Merlino goes away, and this guy, Ligambi, he's been to jail before. He's been accused of murder before. However, the process works, he paid his dues, he kept his mouth shut and he rode to the top spot. When you talk about a low-key guy, he's it. In his formative years he was involved in crime with Angelo Bruno, and whatever he learned along the way he learned during Bruno's reign. The kind of low-key program he's running now is something he carried over from Bruno."
What kind of activities is the mob involved in now?
"The same old stuff--racketeering, numbers, sports betting, loan sharking. Those are the mainstays that afford them inroads into legitimate businesses."
What about prostitution or drugs?
Letters to the Editor