March 14, 2016 |
When nonunion electrical contractors work in John Dougherty's South Philadelphia neighborhood, they may get a jolt. Take the case of Frank Lafontano, a Philadelphia police officer who runs Frank's Home Repair out of his modest rowhouse southwest of Dougherty's home. Last year, Dougherty's Electricians union Local 98 wrote to Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey, complaining that Lafontano's moonlighting violated police policy. The union also circulated fliers saying Lafontano's firm failed to obtain a city permit before starting electrical work on a townhouse project at Third and Reed Streets.
January 31, 2016 |
When David P. Silverman translated mystical writings on the side of a 4,000-year-old Egyptian coffin recently, he discovered a plea to the earth god, Geb. The long-ago writer sought protection for the coffin's inhabitant, a district governor named Ahanakht. But these days, the words could just as easily mean protection from the trembling earth next door. University City is the site of yet another construction project. This time, it's the demolition of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania's Penn Tower complex, in order to make way for a new patient pavilion.
October 3, 2015 |
Two weeks after a building under construction in Center City was set on fire - and after police released surveillance footage of a man they said was the arsonist - Stephen Pettiway took to the Internet to tell his side of the story. "[The city is] trying to discredit my character," he said in a video posted Tuesday to his Facebook page. "They put me on TV saying I was a man of interest for arson. . . . It backfired. " What Pettiway didn't know was that police were already watching him - and that an Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives agent had been surveilling him even as he filmed his video.
October 2, 2015 |
STEPHEN PETTIWAY'S love of Facebook helped federal agents track him down. In a video posted to his page Tuesday, Pettiway, 52, riffs on Pope Francis' visit and the "martial law" that he says it forced onto the city. And then he admits to being the suspect in an arson investigation. "And they trying to discredit my character," Pettiway says in the video. "They put me on TV saying I, I was a man of interest for arson, the whole nine yards in case you guys didn't know. " It's important to note that in bulletins distributed to the media, investigators provided only a grainy picture of the suspect in a blaze that caused nearly $2 million in damage and displaced 40 residents at a Center City high-rise last month.
October 2, 2015 |
A Philadelphia man was arrested Wednesday after allegedly setting a fire that caused more than $1 million in damage to a restaurant under construction in Center City, authorities said. Stephen Pettiway was arrested without incident in the area of 17th and Blavis Streets in Nicetown by the ATF Citywide Arson Task Force, ATF spokesman Steve Bartholomew said. Pettiway was scheduled to appear in federal court early Thursday afternoon to face a charge of arson, Bartholomew said. The investigation, with help from the Philadelphia Police and Fire Departments, was continuing, he said.
July 24, 2015 |
For the guys at Longo's Auto Sales in Collingswood, the Route 130 project can't end soon enough. "We went from selling 25 cars a month to 12," says owner Jim Longo. Adds salesman Bob Hartley, who works on commission: "You can't print my opinion of the project. " To say Longo's "overlooks" the $31 million makeover of 130 between the PATCO viaduct and North Park Drive doesn't begin to convey the used-car lot's proximity to three years of disruptive construction. Not to mention, traffic jams: About 65,000 vehicles per day thunder through this stretch of 130, often backing up south to the White Horse Pike and north to the (former)
July 7, 2015 |
A BOUQUET OF balloons hung above an empty table in a Northeast Philadelphia union hall full of construction workers. A sign reserved the table for "Friends of Fonzie. " The workers, known to occasionally get into heated arguments, were conducting the routine business of reading expense reports and voting on issues with "ayes" or "nays. " Suddenly they grew silent and just smiled: Alfonso "Fonzie" Soglia, 4, and his parents had arrived. The Glaziers Union Local 252 had invited the boy as guest of honor at this monthly closed-door gathering June 17 at Southampton and Townsend roads.
April 26, 2015 |
As usual, the mourners, one by one, cast a single red rose into the Delaware River, one rose for each person killed on the job during the last year. As usual, like every Workers' Memorial Day ceremony, the petals floated away, bright spots of red on dark water - 144 roses this year, one for each person killed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware from March 2014 to March 2015. As usual, a bagpiper played "Amazing Grace," the mournful strains floating across Penn's Landing.
April 25, 2015 |
A labor organizer at the center of much of the corruption within Ironworkers Local 401 was sentenced to eight years in prison Thursday for his leadership in the group's long-standing efforts to maintain a grip on city construction jobs through violence and intimidation. Edward Sweeney, the union's one-time business agent overseeing work in Philadelphia, apologized to U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson for the role he played in recruiting members to commit dozens of acts of extortion and sabotage, including a 2012 arson at the construction site of a planned Quaker meetinghouse in Chestnut Hill.
April 17, 2015 |
A federal judge Friday rejected a plea agreement between the prosecution and defense in the case of former Ironworkers Local 401 business agent Christopher Prophet. Under the agreement, Prophet, 44, of Richboro, Bucks County, who had pleaded guilty in December to racketeering conspiracy and extortion, would have been sentenced to five years in federal prison. But U.S. District Judge Michael Baylson said he wants to wait until after he sentences the union's three other former business agents, who were also indicted, before he sentences Prophet.