November 2, 1998 |
A judge has ruled that reputed slumlord John Gray, 63, is incompetent to stand trial for six murders, including those of four children, in a West Philadelphia apartment house that was rife with building code violations when it caught fire on April 5, 1997. Gray's lawyer, Ronald Greenblatt, argued that his client is suffering from brain damage that will never get better. He's faking it, said Assistant District Attorney Mark Gilson. "Mr. Gray's disability is proportionate to the amount of trouble he's in," said Gilson sarcastically.
February 18, 2011 |
Leslie Reyes cringes each time she hears a knock on her front door. She dreads opening her mail. Ever since her Kensington home went into foreclosure in May 2009 and was later listed for sheriff sale, Reyes has endured a steady rap-rap-rapping of shady property investors at her door. She's been peppered with threatening letters from the bank and "pay or quit" notices from bank-appointed rent collectors. So far, Reyes has beaten back the bombardment, and she's determined to keep her Emerald Street home.
November 18, 2009 |
THE PORT RICHMOND of the early 1990s had working-class charm. Neighbors traded Crock-Pot recipes. They knew every kid by name. They scrubbed their steps with bleach and prettied their stoops with marigolds and mums. Then came the invasion of Robert N. Coyle Sr. Coyle, a real-estate investor who already had a stronghold in neighboring Kensington, swept into Port Richmond with fistfuls of cash. One by one, Coyle bought homes, some as cheap as $7,000, until his housing empire ballooned to hundreds of properties.
September 25, 2007
In court, judges sometimes engage in what's known as a "colloquy" - an on-the-record conversation between the judge and the person who's in trouble. It's time for the Judicial Conduct Board of Pennsylvania to engage in a colloquy with Common Pleas Court Judge Rayford A. Means, the latest Philadelphia slumlord to don a black robe. An illuminating report in the Inquirer's Sunday editions by reporter Nancy Phillips detailed a multitude of problems at rental properties owned by Means.
June 30, 1989
Morris and Joel Geller, father and son, are the sort of predators who you'd have thought went out with Dickens. Alas, they did not and have been running a modern-day slumlord operation out of Northeast Philadelphia, bilking the weak and uneducated, shredding even the real estate business's flexible code of ethics and, according to the City Solicitor's office, dodging thousands of dollars of taxes on unsafe, dilapidated properties. The irrepressible Gellers continued "ripping people off" even after their arrest last year, the DA's office complained at a sentencing hearing this week.
December 18, 1987 |
Two-and-a-half years ago, Patricia Smith - victim of a notorious slumlord - gathered her courage and asked City Council to help repair her home. After listening to stories of betrayal and broken dreams, Council members agreed to help. They voted to establish a $300,000 home-repair fund for Smith and about 100 other slumlord victims. That was in June 1985. Today Smith, 54, still lives in a drafty Logan rowhouse with cracks in the walls and a collapsed back porch. And she still awaits City Council's help.
July 26, 2001
The School District, facing a $200-million-plus deficit, should fire 17,000 non-teaching employees today - political patronage employees first. Hire subcontractors to fill those jobs and you will see a leaner, more efficient school system. Stop playing with Band-Aids and begging in Harrisburg for more. We don't need more money; we need real leadership. Joe Simiriglio Jr., Philadelphia Same old rig(a)marole I noticed (July 23) that you have decided to slant the odds in your favor by cheating on the word sleuth puzzle.
May 24, 1991 |
Today was supposed to be eviction day for the 48 people who live in a stinking, festering slumhole called The Louvian, in Southwest Philadelphia. The city Department of Licenses and Inspection had decreed the apartment building - owned by a convicted slumlord - unfit for human habitation. An L&I official told the tenants they would be evicted at 10 a.m. But last night, the tenants got a reprieve, of sorts. Though L&I says the four-story building is a certified firetrap, there will be no evictions today.
March 21, 1996 |
For the last several days, U.S. Rep. Tom Foglietta and his Democratic primary challenger, John Braxton, have been trading insults over who was a bigger slumlord. Yesterday, the city's Department of Licenses and Inspections got into the middle of the fray - literally. L&I Commissioner Robert Barnett crashed a news conference in which Braxton was accusing Barnett of misusing his power by ordering a "raid" at his campaign headquarters at Foglietta's behest. Barnett, a former aide and campaign worker for Foglietta, got into a shouting match with Braxton and his campaign consultants, whom the commissioner declared to be "the sleaziest two people in politics in the city.
June 10, 2013 |
He was once an "undisputed king" of porn. But in his twilight years, he has recast himself as a visionary for a more vibrant downtown. The grand plan of 87-year-old Richard C. Basciano collapsed in a cloud of dust and debris Wednesday when the botched demolition of one of his Center City buildings rained death down on a building below. In an interview last year, Basciano talked of his ambitious plans for the 2100 and 2200 blocks of Market Street, where he planned to transform a decrepit stretch of nondescript buildings that included his shuttered porn theater.