March 16, 2020 — In late 2017, New Jersey Pagans Motorcycle Club elder statesman Ferdinand (Miserable Freddy) Augello met with a Philadelphia mob figure to discuss his displeasure with superstar attorney Edwin Jacobs having offered up his name to authorities as a suspect in the murder of radio host April Kauffman, according to FBI records, wiretap transcripts and a new book on Kauffman’s high-profile slaying. Philly television investigative reporter Annie McCormick (ABC Channel 6) recently released The Doctor, The Hitman and The Motorcycle Gang on Camino Books.
The 63-year old Augello was found guilty of coordinating the details in the Kauffman homicide and running a pill mill operation with her husband, Dr. Jim Kauffman, who hired him for the job, at a 2018 trial and received a sentence of 30 years to life. April Kauffman, 47, was shot to death inside the couple’s bedroom on May 10, 2012 by Pagans affiliate Francis (Cousin Frank) Mulholland. Her husband and the bikers he was pushing pain pills with worried she was going to leverage her knowledge of their business in divorce proceedings.
Augello, the one-time boss of the Pagans’ Cape May chapter on the Jersey Shore, outsourced Kauffman’s killing to chapter member Joseph (Irish Joe) Mulholland — no relation to Cousin Frank. Irish Joe Mulholland turned state’s s evidence and Cousin Frank Mulholland mysteriously died of a heroin overdose before Augello’s arrest. Irish Joe recruited Cousin Frank to pull the trigger. Dr. Kauffman, 68, hanged himself in jail awaiting trial.
Shortly after his wife’s murder, Kauffman retained renowned attorney Edwin Jacobs, considered the premier criminal defense attorney in the area and a genuine miracle worker in front of a jury, to be his legal counsel. He wouldn’t be indicted for another five years though and in March 2017, Jacobs sent a letter to prosecutors putting forth Augello and Cousin Frank Mulholland as names they should look into in terms of suspects in the case. The letter was in response to a written questionnaire prosecutors requested Dr. Kauffman give answers to.
Within months, Augello was made aware of the letter and became furious. His successor as Jersey Shore Pagans skipper, Andrew (The Chef) Glick, got ahold of a copy of the letter and showed it to him at a November 2017 get together. Glick wired up on Augello and was the star witness, along with Mulholland, at his trial the following year.
On the Glick wire, Augello speaks of meeting with higher ups in Philly’s Bruno-Scarfo crime family to voice his anger over Jacobs’ actions. Jacobs is longtime counsel for Philly mafia don Joseph (Skinny Joey) Merlino. Police detectives also watched on as Augello sat face-to-face with a Bruno-Scarfo crime family lieutenant at a Atlantic City casino to discuss the matter.
Augello and an associate were observed eating with a “known member of Philadelphia LCN” at the food court inside the Borgata hotel and casino on November 13, 2017. Detectives could see Augello showing the wiseguy the Jacobs’ letter and they believed he wanted word sent to Merlino of the indiscretion.
Then on the morning of December 20, while sitting at Augello’s kitchen table, Augello told Glick, “These mafia guys I know…the one guy is the direct underboss of the guy that’s running Philly (Merlino)….he told me (Jacobs) is doing Merlino’s case right now and they (he and Merlino) wouldn’t be happy with this lawyer knowingly putting my name out there.”
Merlino pleaded guilty in a gambling case and did a year in federal prison. One source says the “known LCN member” Augello met with was Skinny Joey’s reputed street boss Michael (Mikey Lance) Lancelotti. In 2008, Lancelotti was indicted for running a sports book out of the Borgata’s poker room, but had the case dropped.
The business relationship between the Philly mob and the Pagans dates back to the 1970s and a partnership in the Chrystal meth trade. Merlino’s dad, Salvatore (Chuckie) Merlino, the Bruno-Scarfo clan’s underboss in the 1980s, feuded with the biker gang — his house was shot up in a spring 1984 attack with his mother present —but under Skinny Joey’s reign beginning in the 1990s, tied between the two groups were strengthened.
The slick, 58-year old Skinny Joey is particularly close to Philly Pagans boss Steve (Gorilla) Mondevergine, a former cop reinstalled as president of the chapter last year after a decade on the sidelines. Merlino was released to a Miami halfway house last October. Chuckie Merlino died behind bars in the fall of 2012.