Man hurt by falling concrete settles with Basciano firm

Richard Basciano in his office above Show World and the Times Square Comedy Club. on 8th ave between 42nd and 43rd streets in December 2012. Linda Rosier/New York Daily News
Richard Basciano in his office above Show World and the Times Square Comedy Club. on 8th ave between 42nd and 43rd streets in December 2012. Linda Rosier/New York Daily News
Posted: June 14, 2013

A West Philadelphia man hurt by falling concrete in 2011 won a six-figure settlement Wednesday from the owner of the building that collapsed last week, killing six people.

Mark Gamble said he was injured by a chunk of masonry that fell from a building at 2100 Market St., just a block from last week's fatal collapse at 22d and Market Streets.

Both buildings were owned by STB Investments Corp., whose principal is Richard Basciano.

The longtime property manager for all of STB's properties, both in Philadelphia and New York City, acknowledged in legal documents in the Gamble case that he had no certification or training in maintaining properties. The manager, Thomas J. Simmonds, said he commuted daily from his South Philadelphia home to STB's Manhattan offices.

Gamble's lawyer, Bentley Saul, declined Wednesday to say exactly how much his client will receive in the settlement from STB and Papa John's Pizza, which operates a shop on the ground floor at 2100 Market. Saul said almost all of the settlement would be paid by STB, and he said Gamble was "extremely satisfied" with the settlement.

"What is clear to me . . . is that STB's failure to properly maintain its properties long predates the recent building-collapse tragedy," Saul said Wednesday.

"I wonder why STB didn't learn its lesson," he said.

The attorney who represented STB, Andrew J. Keenan, could not be reached for comment.

The property manager's deposition in the Gamble case offers a glimpse into the workings of Basciano's empire of deteriorating buildings. And it shows that architect Plato Marinakos, who obtained the demolition permit for the building at 2136-38 Market St. that collapsed, also was involved at 2100 Market.

Marinakos was brought in by STB in 2011 to evaluate how to renovate two long-vacant apartments on the second and third floors of 2100 Market. The apartments had been vacant since at least 1994, when Basciano acquired the building. After Marinakos' assessment, no improvements were made and the apartments remained vacant.

Asked during the deposition if anything had been done since 1994 to make the apartments rentable, Simmonds said, "No." Asked why, he responded, "The owner didn't want to."

Simmonds acknowledged that he did little to maintain the building either before or after Gamble's injury.

Gamble sued in 2011, saying a concrete overhang above the pizza shop door fell on him as he was passing by on Aug. 27, 2011, on his way to work. He said he had extensive injuries to his head, neck and back, and blamed the accident on negligence by STB.

Simmonds, 50, said he had worked for STB since 1983 and had been the company's property manager since 1986. He said he knew of no structural inspection made of the 2100 Market property during STB's ownership.


Contact Paul Nussbaum at 215-854-4587 or pnussbaum@phillynews.com.

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