Judge to Inquirer Owners: Let’s Have Us an English-Style Auction — You Have a Month

George Norcross (left) and Lewis Katz in court late last year. AP Photos | Matt Rourke

Inquirer ownership partners George Norcross (left) and Lewis Katz in court late last year. AP Photos | Matt Rourke

And there you have it. In a ruling issued on Friday, Vice Chancellor Donald F. Parsons of the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware has decreed that the warring partners in Interstate General Media — the company that owns the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and philly.com — will have a private auction among themselves to determine who will own the operation going forward. And that it must happen right quick:

… I will order the dissolution of IGM. In addition, I will order IGM to be sold in a private, “English-style” open ascending auction between General American and Intertrust. The minimum bid for the auction shall be set at $77 million in cash. I hereby direct General American and Intertrust promptly to confer and submit a proposed form of order implementing these rulings consistent with the other terms of the proposed private auction that were discussed at the conclusion of the evidentiary hearing and during the final argument on April 24, 2014. I further order that in no event shall the auction for IGM be held later than May 28, 2014; that is, no more than thirty calendar days from, and inclusive of, Tuesday, April 29, 2014.

So, imagine the kind of auction you see on TV: a fast-talking auctioneer and bidders who raise paddles or wink or make little shooting gestures with their hands when they hear a number they like. Now imagine that there are just two guys doing the bidding: George Norcross and Lewis Katz.

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Wolf Campaign Fires Staffer After Plagiarism Complaints

The Tom Wolf for governor campaign hit a bump last night as it admitted that several passages in a policy document were lifted wholesale from white papers on energy efficiency published by Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls.

The move came after the campaign of U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz, one of Wolf’s opponents for the Democratic nomination, pointed out in a news release what it called the “troubling plagiarism” in his Fresh Start governing blueprint.

“I have directed the staff to make sure nothing like this ever happens again and have asked for a new process to be put in place to ensure it does not,” Wolf, a York businessman and former state revenue secretary, said in a statement.

Schwartz campaign spokesperson Mark Bergman told the Inquirer: “Tom Wolf claims to be a different kind of candidate [and] says he will lead us in a new direction … yet the words are not even his own.”

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Citizens Bank Park: A Decade in the Stadium We Didn’t Want


Out at home? CBP attendance dropped last season. Photograph: Aero-Imaging, Inc./Newscom

The first 10 years of Citizens Bank Park, I think we can all agree, have been pretty great. Five division titles. Eight winning seasons. One magical night in October 2008. Many fans will claim 11th and Pattison as hallowed ground long after global warming turns it into a beach.

But do you remember when the decision to build in South Philly seemed like not just a defeat — but a complete failure of civic imagination? In the early days of the debate on replacing Veterans Stadium, folks were hot for a Camden Yards-style retro park smack-dab in the middle of downtown. Fans whimsically debated putting a new park at the old Schmidt’s brewery, near 30th Street Station, even on the waterfront. Politicians talked more realistically about two locations: North Broad at Spring Garden, and in Chinatown at 12th and Vine.

But each proposed site was eventually sunk by some combination of community or political NIMBYism and logistical or infrastructural clusterfuckery. So the new stadium arose in the shadow of the old one, in the expanse of parking lots and nothingness we call, as if it were an affliction, the “sports complex.”

When the Phils were the best team in town, it didn’t much matter where their stadium was. But last year, attendance dropped by half a million fans. And we may face another dismal August in South Philly. It’s worth asking: Did we blow it?

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Police Marine Unit Pulls Body from the Schuylkill

According to the Philadelphia Police Department, the marine unit recovered a body from the Schuylkill River Friday afternoon.

No identity has been released, though lieutenant John Stanford in the department’s public affairs office says the body of a white male was pulled from the river near the Walnut Street bridge.

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The Scariest Storm Prediction Images on Facebook

Storm Snow arrival times via  accuweather.com

Storm Snow arrival times via accuweather.com

For many of you planning to turn President’s Day weekend into a quick get-away from this winter o’ cold ’n’ doom ’n’ horrors, the impending nor’easter has likely thrown a big clunky wrench into your travel plans. 

While on hold last night trying to swap a Thursday morning flight for a Friday departure, a scroll through my Facebook feed filled me with abject dread. We’ve all had our share of terrifying (and vaguely/not-vaguely phallic) storm front imagery this winter, but there’s something about this latest batch of storm prediction shots that’s especially terrifying (and not-vaguely phallic).

The Scariest Storm Prediction Images after the jump »

Philly Ice Storm Taking A Toll on Trees and Roads of Chestnut Hill and Northern Suburbs

Phillymag.com correspondent Larry Mendte, who rounded up a bunch of Emmy nominations last night, is celebrating by pounding the icy pavement to document the toll the Philly ice sorm and freezing rain have been taking on the region’s trees, roads and power lines. We’ll add more photos as we get them. 

Photo | Larry Mendte

Photo | Larry Mendte

More of Larry Mendte’s photos after the jump »

Cecily Tynan: 3 Possible Storms Next Week


Graphic via Accuweather.

Our friends at Be Well Philly have tipped us off to the fact that Philly weather juggernaut Cecily Tynan is warning of snow on Monday. Sayeth Tynan:

What we get depends on track. A southern track (scenario #1) would keep most of the precipitation south of us, bringing us nothing more than flurries. But a northern track (scenario #2) would give us rain changing over to several inches of accumulating wet snow. UGH!

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Two Former Closers, One Former Catcher Possible Replacements for Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews


The first major ripple from the Phillies’ new television deal with Comcast sees longtime television broadcasters Gary “Sarge” Matthews (seven years) and Chris Wheeler (37 years!) ousted from the booth (but not the organization).

Todd Zolecki is reporting that Comcast wants one color commentator to replace the duo.

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