The feat is drawing praise from far-flung corners of the Italian American business community, which sees the thanks of a grateful administration as key to the revival of the community's political influence.
But an associate says that Merlino might just be willing to flip on Joe Biden and the Pennsylvania political operatives who ordered up some 300,000 election ballots marked for Biden. The source alleges that Merlino and a lean team of associates manufactured those ballots at a rate of $10 per ballot — a whopping $3 million for three days of work. They were then packaged into non-descript cardboard boxes and dropped off outside the Philadelphia Convention Center.
Sources who spoke to The Chronicle on the condition of anonymity say that Merlino picked up those ballots from two private households where a trusted handful of associates were busily marking ballots with Sharpie markers. They were paid more than $1,000 per hour, often producing thousands of ballots every hour for more than 60 nearly-consecutive hours.
The ballots were purchased in cash.