Weigh in on the city's budget plan

Posted: March 12, 2012

HERE'S WHAT WILL make news in Philly this week:

CITY COUNCIL

Time to talk budget

City Council will hold its first budget hearing of the year later this week, but it won't be in Council's chambers.

Residents will be allowed to sit in on the hearing, which will be held at St. John's AME Church, on 71st Street near Yocum, in the 2nd District, at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Council plans to hold other budget hearings at various community locations to offer residents a chance to weigh in on the budget process.

Mayor Nutter unveiled the fiscal year 2013 budget last week. Nutter has noted that the budget doesn't include calls for any new tax increases, but critics have said that upcoming changes to the city's property-tax system will amount to a backdoor tax increase.

COURTS

Runway-driver hearing

Kenneth Mazik, the Chadds Ford man arrested last week for allegedly driving drunk onto a runway at Philadelphia International Airport, has a court date this morning.

Mazik, 24, was behind the wheel of a black Jeep Cherokee that crashed through an airport gate the morning of March 1, authorities said.

He's been charged with DUI, reckless endangerment and a slew of other charges for the incident that briefly shut down the airport and drew national attention.

Mazik is being held on $1 million bail.

Pill-mill trial

Trial starts today in the case of Dr. Richard Minicozzi, of Elkins Park, who prosecutors say was a doctor in title only.

Instead, they say in court papers, he was "nothing more than a common drug dealer" who used his medical license to operate a pill mill out of his South Philadelphia office with office assistant Joan Israel. Israel pleaded guilty to conspiracy last week.

Authorities allege that Minicozzi deposited more than $1.5 million in cash from his business over the time of the alleged conspiracy, not including cash he pocketed. Minicozzi has pleaded not guilty.

Sentencing for pol

Sentencing is scheduled Wednesday for David Kane, the former chairman of the Limerick Board of Supervisors, who operated a real-estate investment company called Kane-Core Inc. in Skippack, Montgomery County.

Kane, of Phoenixville, operated the company with former Skippack Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Marino.

Kane pleaded guilty in December to filing a false tax return for 2004, failure to file tax returns in 2005-07, during which he had income of approximately $800,000, and related offenses.

Among other things, the government's plea memo said that Kane used more than $300,000 of kCi funds for personal expenses, including a car, restaurant meals, Eagles tickets, strip-club expenses, golf expenses, vacations and a housekeeper.

Prosecutors said that Kane also failed to file income-tax returns for 1999 through 2003. Four co-defendants in the case previously pleaded guilty to various charges. Kane faces a potential guideline sentence of 41 to 51 months.

Arguing over PHL

Oral argument regarding Tinicum Township and Delaware County's appeal of a Federal Aviation Administration decision from December 2010 giving the green light for Philadelphia International Airport's runway development and airport expansion projects will be held tomorrow.

At issue is whether the FAA's analysis of the potential air-quality effects was arbitrary and capricious under federal environmental laws as well as a federal law that the project must be consistent with existing plans of public agencies for development of the areas surrounding the airport.

- David Gambacorta,

Mensah M. Dean

and Michael Hinkelman

contributed to this report.

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