In 2010 high ranking members of the Philadelphia mafia family and the Gambino crime family from New York sat down for lunch at La Griglia a nice upscale restaurant in New Jersey. A social gathering between mob families labeled by prosecutors as a mafia “board of director’s” meeting. But no one realized they were being recorded on a secret witetap being worn by Nicholas “Nicky Skins” Stefanelli a former Gambino family mobster from North Jersey who had turned rat. The meeting was attended by three members of the Philly mob including Joseph Ligambi and capo Joseph “Scoops” Licata and six members from the Gambino family including Stefanelli and John Gambino part of the family ruling panel at the time.
During the meeting Stefanelli introduced John Gambino as a “caporigeme with the administration” which indicated he was a not only a captain but also a part of the Gambino families current ruling panel according to testimony from former FBI agent and mob expert Joaquin “Big Jack” Garcia. Licata in turn introduced Ligambi as “our acting boss” indicating that he was currently the head of the family according to Garcia. Both men can clearly be heard on the Stefanelli wiretap recordings making these introductions along with Ligambi and other talking about fellow mobsters , making ceremonies, and mobsters that previously turned rat. At one point Ligambi refers to former mobster Pete “Pete the Crump” Caprio who had flipped on Philly mafia as “that piece of s–t”.
Prosecutors believe that these wiretap tapes should be enough evidence to prove their racketeering conspiracy charges against Ligambi. Although these same tapes were played for the jury at the previous trial which ended in a hung jury. Prosecutors hope this jury will see things differently and buy into their belief that these tapes clearly establish Ligambi in his role as boss of the mafia in Philadelphia. But the tapes do not contain any discussions about illegal gambling or loansharking which the racketeering conspiracy charge is built around which may be a problem once again at this retrial.