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John Stanfa

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NEWS
August 26, 1995 | By George Anastasia, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
In the end, even his lawyer conceded that Tommy Horsehead talked too much. Unfortunately for the South Philadelphia mob figure, when he did talk, someone was usually nearby wearing a body wire and getting it all down on tape. Gaetano "Tommy Horsehead" Scafidi, described as an "arrogant" street tough with a "lack of respect for the law and a misguided feeling of invincibility" by a federal prosecutor yesterday, was sentenced to 82 months in prison by Judge Ronald Buckwalter after a hearing in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.
NEWS
September 13, 1993 | by Frank Dougherty, Daily News Staff Writer
Peace has broken out in the Middle East, the Phillies remain in first place, and Letterman is still beating up on Leno. But the big news today is that Philadelphia mob boss John Stanfa finally has a nickname. The calls have been counted, and the cards mailed to the Daily News "Name the Don" contest have been reviewed. Now for the envelope, please. In sickness and in health, for better or worse, the closed-mouth mob chieftain who used to drive Angelo Bruno's car will be known as "Tightlips.
NEWS
September 1, 1993 | By Ralph Cipriano, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER Inquirer staff writer Craig R. McCoy contributed to this article
It was a standoff that lasted more than four hours. On a hot, sweaty day, at least a dozen police officers had staked out a warehouse in Grays Ferry owned by John Stanfa, the reclusive godfather of Philadelphia. And inside the dark building, guarded by a black and white pit bull, the occupants had refused to come out. Then a stocky man in a baggy suit strolled down the street, said a cheerful hello to a man he knew, and ducked inside a nearby pizza shop. Salvatore Avena, John Stanfa's lawyer, asked to borrow a phone.
NEWS
March 2, 1993 | by Joe O'Dowd, Daily News Staff Writer
Gang figure Joseph Ciancaglini, member of a family prominent in Philadelphia mob circles for years, was shot down this morning in his restaurant in the Grays Ferry section of South Philadelphia. Ciancaglini, whose age was given variously as 31 or 34, survived a hail of bullets despite being wounded at least four times. He was in critical condition in the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Cherry Hill. The shooting took place in the Warfield Breakfast and Lunch Express, a small restaurant on Warfield Street near Reed, just west of 34th Street.
NEWS
February 2, 1992 | By George Anastasia and Laurie Hollman, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
About 20 years ago, the story goes, John Stanfa, newly arrived from Sicily and struggling to start a construction company, was doing some renovation work for a South Philadelphia businessman. "He was quiet, a good worker, very polite," recalled the businessman's brother. "He used to call my brother 'Mister Frank.' " About a year ago the businessman died. And Stanfa came to the funeral. "He was a lot different," said the brother, a former South Philadelphia resident.
NEWS
September 28, 1995 | By George Anastasia, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
There was the bomb that failed to detonate after being planted under a car. The shotgun that misfired from point-blank range. And the ambush that was called off because the hit man had to report to his parole officer. Those were some of the misadventures in a saga of alleged mob hits and misses laid out for a U.S. District Court jury yesterday during opening arguments in the racketeering trial of reputed Philadelphia mob boss John Stanfa and seven associates. The trial, which will include testimony from five former mobsters who have turned government informant and tapes of more than 100 secretly recorded conversations, is scheduled to resume this morning before Judge Ronald Buckwalter.
NEWS
June 4, 1996 | By George Anastasia, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
It worked for Ollie North. Will it work for John Stanfa? The jailed mob boss was back in federal court yesterday, looking on as his lawyer tried to persuade a judge to reverse his racketeering conviction. Lawyer Thomas Carroll offered the same argument that prompted a judge to throw out all the charges against North in the Iran-Contra case. North, a National Security Council aide in the Reagan White House, was convicted in 1989 of three felony charges stemming from the administration's clandestine campaign to arm the Nicaraguan contras.
NEWS
September 25, 1993 | By George Anastasia and Jeff Gammage, INQUIRER STAFF WRITERS
Another reputed organized-crime associate has been caught up in the Philadelphia Police Department's mob dragnet. Raymond Esposito, 51, described by law-enforcement authorities as an associate and sometime driver for reputed mob boss John Stanfa, was charged Thursday afternoon with a weapons offense after police stopped a car in which he was riding and found that he was carrying a loaded .38-caliber handgun. Esposito, of Gibbstown, was released yesterday on $5,000 bail pending a hearing Oct. 19. "This is the fourth gun we've removed from the streets," said Police Inspector Richard Zappile.
NEWS
April 26, 1994 | By George Anastasia, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Mob hitman Philip Colletti yesterday pleaded guilty to racketeering conspiracy charges, admitting his involvement in the Aug. 5 gangland murder of rival mobster Michael Ciancaglini and the attempted murders of Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and Steven Mazzone. Colletti, a key government witness in the pending trial of reputed mob boss John Stanfa and some 20 other underworld figures, entered his guilty plea during a brief hearing before U.S. District Judge Ronald L. Buckwalter. Colletti quietly told Buckwalter that he understood the nature of the charges against him and the implications of his plea.
NEWS
April 4, 2001 | By George Anastasia INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Former mob boss Ralph Natale tied one of the most notorious and poorly executed gangland hits in Philadelphia history to Joseph "Skinny Joey" Merlino and two codefendants yesterday as he finished his third day of testimony in Merlino's federal racketeering trial. Natale said he was told that Merlino and codefendants Martin Angelina and Steven Mazzone were involved in the August 1993 ambush of rival mob boss John Stanfa, which occurred during morning rush hour on a congested Schuylkill Expressway.
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NEWS
March 7, 2014 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
BEING THE subject of a Mafia murder contract carries with it a certain distinction. Not that you would be inclined to capitalize on such an honor, not if you were a prominent criminal lawyer like Donald C. Marino, one of the city's busiest attorneys who later became chancellor of the Philadelphia Bar Association. In fact, Marino, who died Monday at age 74, said he didn't know that he was one of the targets of the vengeful mob boss John Stanfa in 1993. Asked by Daily News reporter Kitty Caparella in 1996 if he knew about the contract, Marino replied, "This is the first I'm hearing about this.
NEWS
February 6, 2014 | By Joseph A. Slobodzian, Inquirer Staff Writer
Salvatore J. Avena, 87, of Cinnaminson, the Camden lawyer whose association with ex-Philadelphia mob boss John Stanfa led to his own indictment - and acquittal - on racketeering charges, died Monday, Feb. 3. Edwin Jacobs Jr., an Atlantic County criminal defense lawyer who worked for and won Mr. Avena's acquittal in federal court in Philadelphia in 1996, on Tuesday night confirmed Mr. Avena's death at his home after a long illness. "There was only one Sal," Jacobs said. "He was bigger than life; a hard-hitting, tough, old-time lawyer who gave as good as he got. " Jacobs said Mr. Avena maintained his Camden law practice long after the 1996 federal trial, closing it only last year: "He still represented some old clients.
NEWS
February 6, 2014 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, Daily News Staff Writer morrisj@phillynews.com, 215-854-5573
SALVATORE J. Avena, a highly regarded South Jersey lawyer for 63 years, specializing in personal injury and criminal cases and as a counselor to police organizations, could not shake his identification in the press as a "mob lawyer. " "It's unfair," said Richard L. Friedman, his partner in a Camden law firm. "I'd say over the years no more than 3 percent of his practice involved mobsters. " But Avena's legal representation of leaders of the Philadelphia-South Jersey organized crime family and his own indictment in 1996 on racketeering and related charges branded him as the lawyer for the mob. And then there was the fact that Avena's father, John "Big Nose" Avena, was a mob boss murdered by rival gang members on Aug. 18, 1936, leading some to a like-father-like-son conclusion.
NEWS
March 18, 2013 | By Chris Mondics, Inquirer Staff Writer
Convicted Philadelphia mob hit man John Veasey claims in a CBS News 60 Minutes report to be aired Sunday evening that he's a changed man, driving a church school bus and regularly attending worship services as a born-again Christian in a middle-class suburb. Yet the program observes Veasey, who has married and works as a successful salesman of luxury cars in an undisclosed location in the Midwest, is still exhibiting some of his former underworld bravado. He explains in the program how he instigated a barroom fight that resulted in his guilty plea for misdemeanor battery.
NEWS
December 14, 2012 | By Robert Moran, Inquirer Staff Writer
A 50-year-old man was gunned down on a South Philadelphia street Tuesday afternoon in what police characterized as a mob-related killing. At 2:55, police were called to the 2800 block of South Iseminger Street, where they found Gino DiPietro with multiple gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at Hahnemann University Hospital at 3:21. Witnesses reported that a black Honda SUV fled the scene, police sources said. Police soon found a 2011 Honda Pilot several blocks away, in the 3200 block of South 17th Street.
NEWS
April 27, 2012 | BY WILLIAM BENDER, Daily News Staff Writer
SAY WHAT you want about the Philadelphia Mafia, but they have a helluva health-care plan. Mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi, for example, had a gold-plated benefits package that came with his no-show position at Top Job Disposal, a South Philly trash company where he "performed no work or productive services," according to a superseding indictment unsealed Thursday. LigambiCare also extended to his relatives, federal prosecutors say. Because what's the point of leading an organized-crime family if you can't spread the wealth around?
NEWS
February 14, 2012 | By George Anastasia, Inquirer Staff Writer
Hit man-turned-government informant John Veasey, whose testimony helped bring down mob boss John Stanfa and a dozen of his top associates in the 1990s, says he's on the road to redemption. And he wants everyone to know it. "I never respected the Mafia or what it stood for," Veasey said in an interview with Philly.com last week. "My only regret was being dumb enough to join . . . I always said they either rat or kill each other. " Veasey has done both. But now, he says, he's a changed man. The outspoken and opinionated former South Philadelphia triggerman popped up on several local radio and television shows last week to talk about The Hit Man: A True Story of Murder, Redemption and the Melrose Diner , an e-book written by former Inquirer reporter Ralph Cipriano and Fox 29's Dave Schratwieser.
NEWS
January 30, 2012 | BY WILLIAM BENDER, benderw@phillynews.com 215-854-5255
JOE STANFA doesn't want you to read this. He can't make you put down the newspaper or click on another website, but he's worried that continuing on could be bad for business, for his fresh start. "I don't want to scare people away," Stanfa said from behind the counter at Joey Giusepp's, his new pizzeria just off the Schuylkill Expressway, in Grays Ferry. Stanfa is perhaps the only proprietor in Philadelphia who doesn't want you to know about his pizza joint. He'd rather make you a hoagie than talk about the blood that was shed at the same address nearly 20 years ago, or the story behind the scar on his cheek.
NEWS
December 13, 2011 | By George Anastasia, Inquirer Staff Writer
Not for nothing was Tony Soprano a solid-waste management consultant. The writers of the HBO series made New Jersey's most famous, albeit fictitious, wiseguy a player in an industry that for decades has been targeted for exploitation by organized crime. In that respect, Soprano was a "garbage mobster," a term used by the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation in a report made public last week that warned of the mob's continued presence in the multimillion-dollar waste-disposal business.
NEWS
May 23, 2011 | By George Anastasia, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Reputed mob boss Joseph "Uncle Joe" Ligambi was all about money, not murder, say law enforcement and underworld sources who have tracked the surprisingly long tenure of Philadelphia's low-key, circumspect Mafia don. On Monday, in a move that could signal the end of Ligambi's run, the alleged mob kingpin, 71, and a dozen other reputed members and associates of his organization were named in a 50-count indictment built around gambling and loan-sharking...
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