Jury rules in favor of city against N.E. Phila. man

Posted: July 25, 2012

A federal jury ruled Friday in favor of the city against a Northeast Philadelphia man who alleged that he was harassed by employees of an anti-blight program that was embroiled in a criminal scandal.

Steven P. Tengood filed his suit in December, alleging that city inspectors trespassed at his home and that a cleanup crew stole property from his backyard.

The employees were part of the city's Community Life Improvement Programs. A 2009 grand-jury investigation led to the arrests and convictions of workers who stole from homes they were supposed to help clean.

One of the defendants in the lawsuit, Rycharde Sicinski, pleaded guilty in the criminal case and was sentenced to prison.

Four other city employees named in the suit - Thomas M. Conway, Beverly L. Penn, Martin Higgins, and Roseanne Elia - were not charged with any crimes. Penn was dropped as a defendant before the suit went to trial.

Jeffrey M. Scott, an attorney who represented the city, said there was no evidence that the four defendants "did anything remotely that looked like any kind of improper conduct."

Joshua Upin, Tengood's attorney, said his client was considering an appeal.

Conway is a deputy managing director for the city, and Penn works as a city lawyer. Higgins and Elia also still work for the city, Scott said.

Contact Robert Moran at 215-854-5983 or bmoran@phillynews.com, or follow @RobertMoran215 on Twitter.

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