Jose Lambiet

Judge gives ‘Skinny Joey’ Merlino a pass to be best man at Boca wedding

The place to be in South Florida over the weekend was no doubt a wedding at Boca Raton Resort & Club that featured two alleged mobsters who had to get special permission from a federal court to attend.

The three-day, out-of-central-casting wingding — the wedding of Philadelphia criminal lawyer Michael Caudo with New Jersey trade union secretary Christine Morelli — starred alleged Mafia boss “Skinny” Joey Merlino as the best man and guest Anthony Cirillo, Merlino’s co-defendant on a pending racketeering case.

Boca Raton resident Merlino, whose release from the federal pen in 2011 and move to South Florida was greeted with an article in the Miami Herald headlined “The Mobster Next Door,” had to get special permission to be able to perform his best man duties.

First off, his curfew — he must be in his townhouse between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. while his current case goes through the court system — had to be extended by the judge until 10 p.m. for the rehearsal dinner.

And then, the no-contact order that prevents Merlino and Deerfield Beach resident Cirillo from talking to one another had to be dealt with.

Here is how Judge Richard Sullivan solved that problem: He agreed to let Merlino, according to court papers, go to the rehearsal dinner while Cirillo stayed home, and on Sunday, agreed that Merlino attend the ceremony if he cleared out immediately to let Cirillo attend the reception and luncheon. Merlino got to return at night for the banquet.

Skinny Joey, 55, had spent most of his adult life in prison when he attempted to make a new life for himself in Boca.

He did find a good job as a maître d’ in a Philly Italian-style restaurant and, to his neighbor’s disappointment, his townhouse became a party center where it wasn’t rare to spot scantily clad women.

Investigators, however, figured out Merlino’s lifestyle didn’t match the salary of a maître d’, and in August 2016, he and Cirillo were among 46 alleged organized crime members indicted in schemes including arson, extortion, health-care fraud, sports betting and cigarette and gun smuggling.

Merlino is facing another 20 years if convicted.

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