Here’s what’ll be making news this week

Posted: May 07, 2012

SCHOOLS

Council to grill school chiefs

School-district officials will be on the hot seat in City Council on Tuesday, when they appear before the city’s legislators to explain their budget and why they need an additional $94 million in property-tax revenue. Council has raised questions about Mayor Nutter’s proposed property-tax- reassessment plan, which would generate the extra money for the schools. With Council members wanting more information on how the schools will spend the dollars, this hearing — which starts at 10 a.m. in Council chambers in City Hall — could go long.

FEDERAL COURT

Warden faces sentence

Troy Levi, 50, of Williamstown, N.J., who was warden at the Federal Detention Center from 2005 to 2011, will be sentenced Monday in connection with a 2010 coverup of employee misconduct. Levi pleaded guilty in January to obstructing justice.

Federal prosecutors said that a corrections officer who was being investigated for an unrelated workplace-violence incident entered the prison on Aug. 30, 2010, with an unauthorized, loaded firearm in his bag that he had forgotten about. Court papers said that Levi told subordinates who wanted to report the incident that he had authorized the officer to bring the weapon into the prison because he couldn’t secure the trunk of his car. The defense said Levi simply tried to protect an employee over an honest mistake.

The government and defense jointly recommended a sentence of five years’ probation (the first four months under home confinement), 400 hours of community service and a $15,000 fine as part of the plea agreement, which must be approved by the sentencing judge.

Elderly woman to plead guilty

An 82-year-old Royersford woman is expected to plead guilty Tuesday in connection with a scheme to collect Social Security disability benefits under one Social Security number while working and collecting retirement benefits under a second Social Security number. Federal prosecutors said that between January 1978 and June 2011, Evelyn Baptiste, a/k/a Evelyn Jenkins, collected $186,681 in federal disability benefits to which she wasn’t entitled.

COMMON PLEAS COURT

Sentence for getaway driver

On Wednesday, Jamaal Simmons, the getaway driver in the 2009 slaying of an innocent bystander, is scheduled to be sentenced.

Simmons, 28, has stayed mum on the identity of the gunman, who remains at large. But witnesses identified Simmons as the driver of the van from which the shooter emerged to fire at a man near the corner of 24th and Norris streets, at the Raymond Rosen Manor public-housing complex, on July 25, 2009.

The intended target was spared, but Rodney Barnes, 46, a Philadelphia Housing Authority carpenter, was struck in the head while gathering supplies from his truck.

Barnes, a father of four and an ordained minister, died two weeks later.

A Common Pleas jury convicted Simmons of third-degree murder and related counts in January.

Cop sentenced

On Friday, fired Philadelphia cop Keith Corley will learn if he’s going to prison when he is sentenced for indecent exposure and official oppression.

Corley, 28, got busted and fired for offering a woman a ride in his squad car last August and ended up receiving oral sex from her in Cobbs Creek Park.

A jury in March found the four-year veteran guilty of the two counts and not guilty of sexual assault and involuntary deviant sexual intercourse.

DEVELOPMENT

Historic buildings demolished?

On Friday, the Philadelphia Historical Commission will consider whether to recommend a plan to allow the Episcopal Church of the Savior Cathedral to demolish two historic buildings it owns at 3721 and 3725 Chestnut St. in order to raise money to fix structural problems in the church building itself, which is located on 38th Street between Chestnut and Ludlow.

Under the plan, a private developer would build a 25-story apartment tower on the site of the two Chestnut Street buildings and on an adjacent lot also owned by the church, in a financial deal that would yield $3.5 million to repair the church.

The church was built in 1898 by the prominent architect Charles Burns, whose work includes the Church of the Advocate, in North Philadelphia. Burns also designed the 3725 Chestnut St. brownstone and modified the house at 3721 Chestnut to be part of the church complex.

The public meeting will be at 9 a.m. Friday in Room 18-029 in the municipal office building at 1515 Arch St. Both buildings on Chestnut Street are on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places. n

Staff writers Catherine Lucey, Valerie Russ, Michael Hinkelman and Mensah M. Dean contributed to this report.

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