Architect in fatal Market Street collapse cites Fifth

An overhead shot of the scence of the building collapse at 22ncd and Market An apartment building that was being torn down at 22ncd and Market collapsed onto a one story Salvation army thrift Store at the corner of 22 and Market and trapped people inside. Philadelphia Fire and police go through the rubble looking for survivors. 05/03/2013 ( MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer )
An overhead shot of the scence of the building collapse at 22ncd and Market An apartment building that was being torn down at 22ncd and Market collapsed onto a one story Salvation army thrift Store at the corner of 22 and Market and trapped people inside. Philadelphia Fire and police go through the rubble looking for survivors. 05/03/2013 ( MICHAEL BRYANT / Staff Photographer )
Posted: October 17, 2013

PHILADELPHIA Philadelphia architect Plato A. Marinakos Jr., who obtained the demolition permit for the Center City project where six people died in June, is fighting a federal subpoena for documents related to the fatal building collapse.

The U.S. Department of Labor disclosed the dispute last week, asking U.S. District Court for an order compelling Marinakos to turn over eight categories of correspondence and other documents, photographs, and video tied to the demolition work at 2136-38 Market St.

On Sept. 18, Marinakos' attorney, Paul A. Logan, provided 116 pages of material to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the Labor Department agency investigating the collapse.

Logan said some documents were being withheld because Marinakos was asserting his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, "in light of the ongoing grand jury and other criminal investigations and statements of the mayor." Logan did not specify what material has been withheld.

District Attorney Seth Williams is running a grand jury investigation of the June 5 collapse of an unsupported four-story brick wall of a building being demolished onto an adjacent Salvation Army thrift shop. Six people inside the store were crushed to death, and 14 others were injured.

Mayor Nutter has repeatedly called for severe punishment of those sharing responsibility for the accident.

U.S. District Judge Juan R. Sanchez scheduled a Wednesday afternoon hearing in the dispute between the federal government and Marinakos.

The federal petition included an attached statement from OSHA compliance officer Sarah Carle describing a December 2012 contract between building owner STB Investments Corp. and Campbell Construction, the demolition contractor. She said the contract identified Marinakos' architectural firm, a limited liability corporation, as architect for the demolition project.

"In my experience, communications between a demolition contractor and the project architect often reveal important information, such as the demolition methods used and the safety precautions taken, on a demolition work site," Carle said. "My inspection of the demolition project cannot be completed until I receive the documents requested in the subpoena."

The government argued that the subpoenaed documents were business documents belonging to Marinakos's architectural firm and could not be withheld on Fifth Amendment grounds.

Logan declined to comment in advance of the hearing.


warnerb@phillynews.com

215-854-5885

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