Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino the former and possibly current Philadelphia mafia boss will have a chance to enjoy the holidays with his family and his brand new restaurant before heading off to prison. He was sentenced to four months in prison for violating the terms of his supervised release by meeting with a fellow mobster and other known criminals down in Florida. He was scheduled to begin his sentence this week but a judge ruled to have the beginning of his term pushed back to after the holidays.
Prosecutors captured Merlino meeting with Philly mob capo John “Johnny Chang” Ciancaglini down in Boca Raton which was a direct violation of terms of his parole from his 2001 racketeering conviction. But his lawyer claims the meeting was nothing more then a chance and casual encounter and not a planned meeting by his client hence it was not a parole violation. The Third Circuit Court will now have some added time up until January 5 the new date for Merlino to begin his prison term to rule on his appeal.
Joey Merlino is also celebrating the opening of a restaurant down in Boca Raton which carries his name “Merlino’s” in which he is also works as the maitre’d backed by a rich family friend. The recipes he says are from his mother Rita and the restaurant seems to be off to a fabulous start. Skinny Joey is said to be greeting diners with hugs, kisses, hand shakes and of course great tables around the room with his usual flair. When asked if he would share some of the recipes Merlino said “I went to jail for not telling,” he quipped. “I’m not giving up a recipe. I’m not telling.” The menu includes great sounding dishes like veal South Philly ($32), sauteed in brown gravy with sausage, mushrooms, hot and sweet peppers, and garlic and linguine crab gravy ($24) – blue crab, sauteed onions, basil, parsley, and fresh tomato sauce.
“Joey Merlino out front of Merlino’s Restaurant”
It is believed by many including some in law enforcement that Merlino may still be in control of the Philly Mafia from down in Florida using members of his old crew to handle things on streets back home. The current street boss Steven Mazzone is a long time close associate of Merlino although Joey ever since his release has maintained that he is out of the life and happy down in Florida.