Wiseguys Out Of Jail, Local Mob In Chaos - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Wiseguys Out Of Jail, Local Mob In Chaos

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PHILADELPHIA -

For mob boss Joe Ligambi the living is easy. The 74-year-old wiseguy can be seen most days relaxing at his South Philadelphia home after two juries failed to find him guilty on federal racketeering charges. He was released after two long trials and almost three years in jail. But while he's chillin at home at 17th and Federal, trouble is brewing over who controls the local wiseguys and the ever dwindling mob dollar..
 
"Everybody's getting out, the pie's a little smaller, the money's not out there anymore, they might think they have devys on it and there could be some problems," said John Apeldorn, former commander of the city's Homicide unit and organized Crime Unit during the mob's hay day in the late 1980s and 1990s.
 
"Could something happen, I think there's a recipe there for violence absolutely," he added.
 
The aging Ligambi has told some he's done running the mob. Insiders say he may not be up to the task of unifying 15 to 20 made guys on the street, dividing up the ever shrinking mob gambling dollars and finding new ways to make a buck.
 
"Book making, numbers, all that's legal now and they've faded a little bit," Apeldorn explained. "You've got the Russian mob, the big drug people, they're actually falling down the ladder."
 
With gambling and the once popular video poker business fading by the day, the wiseguys have turned to new business ventures trying to make money. Like internet gambling cafes, state lottery stands, even the auto repair business  and trash hauling. They've  dabbled in the home improvement business, storm window replacement, flipping homes for profit, they've even tried the hardwood flooring business.
 
 
"Where do you breed these businesses, well you gotta have people out there who know what's going on. If they know what's going on, they can approach them and say we want our tribute" he added.
 
While none of those new ventures have proven to be big money makers yet for the mob, deciding who gets what share of the shrinking mob dollar tranlates into trouble on the horizon. There are now three mob factions on the street. Former mob boss Joey Merlino's crew, headed by acting boss Steven Mazzone, Joe Ligambi's skeleton crew of wisegyuys and members of the old Nicky Scarfo mob who are just now returning to the streets after nearly three decades behind bars.
 

"If you don't get somebody to step forward to consolidate all that, which is probably the biggest problem confronting them, you're gonna have a big problem," Apeldorn, who now heads the Citizens Crime Commission,  predicted.
 
"In my opinion it will never happen," said one former wiseguy

Mob insiders like this former mob soldier, who asked us to conceal his identity, says bringing these three mob factions under one leader and sharing those shrinking mob resources is near impossible.
 
"It's a time bomb waiting to explode," he predicted.
 
"When I was at homicide, they were dropping bodies all over the place and what you don't want to do is you don't want to go back to that," Apeldon said. "If they don't get along then you have a climate for violence to happen."
 
"If someone steps over someone's territory or into somebody's territory, that's when we have what.., well that's where you have the big bang," he added.
 
"In the end, the government's gonna bury all of them," said our mob insider.
 
In addition to worrying about their current leadership void, shrinking finances and infighting, the wiseguys also have to be concerned about two ongoing criminal cases where two of their own could end up turning against them if they get convicted.

If that happens, who's running the mob and where the next buck is coming from will be the least of their worries. Staying out of prison will once again be their top priority.

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