Michael Corleone must have been talking about retired gangland boss Joseph “Skinny Joey” Merlino when he raged: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!”
In Merlino’s case, the feds are the ones doing the pulling.
Just nine days before Merlino, of Boca Raton, was to successfully end his three years of probation and gain total freedom from the penal system, Broward County Sheriff’s deputies say, he violated probation. They tailed Merlino, 52, to Boca nightspots where he met with other convicted felons.
Now, Merlino, 52, has been told to show up in a federal court in his native Philadelphia to tell a judge why he shouldn’t go back to jail for years. He already served 14 years for racketeering, illegal sports betting and receiving stolen goods.
Merlino was sprung in September 2011 and moved to Boca. The Miami Herald’s Julie Brown found him in a garden-variety suburban development where neighbors of his $400,000 townhouse complained of loud parties, scantily clad women and a Christmas tree flying from his balcony.
Merlino’s probation was to end on Sept. 11, and the feds filed to violate him Sept. 2 — at a time when, as Gossip Extra reported last month, he and investors are about to open a restaurant in the heart of Boca.
According to the probation violation filing, BSO deputies claim he went to a restaurant then a cigar bar June 18 with John Ciancaglini, Brad Sirkin and John Fiore — all convicted felons.
Ciancaglini was a co-defendant in the racketeering case that sent Merlino to jail. Fiore is suspected of having ties to the New Orleans mob families, and Sirkin was convicted in a credit card scam.
So happens that Merlino’s probation specifically mandated that he not associate with known criminals.
Said Edwin Jacobs Jr., Merlino’s attorney in Atlantic City: “It is surprising that one can make it just fine on probation for nearly three years but gets in trouble nine days before the probation ends.”
‘rock’ the house
Actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was supervising the move into his new, 13,000-square-foot house in suburban Fort Lauderdale when he found something missing.
Another 5,000 square feet.
So workers are now constructing what’s deemed to be a “recreational building” in the back of his new, $5.5 million crib in Southwest Ranches, according to a construction permit.
While a PODS container filled with The Rock’s stuff was by his front door this week, workers were building the state-of-the-art gym and sports room, and an extra apartment.
“He’s very particular about where he works out,” a source close to The Rock said.
He sure can afford it: Johnson made $52 million between June 2013 and June 2014, according to The Hollywood Reporter — double what Leonardo DiCaprio made.
Marlins consultant dead
A medical consultant for the Miami Marlins was found dead Thursday on a Jupiter beach, and police say there’s no sign of foul play.
Orthopaedist Frank Cook, a knee specialist who treated sports superstars like Magic Johnson and works with the Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals during spring training in Jupiter, was just 59.
He was known in South Florida’s triathlon circles as both a competitor and a doctor who treated extreme athletes.
The causes of his death were under investigation as of late Friday.