The City of Philadelphia shut down Blasius Chocolate Factory on Wednesday over a tax dispute. The 88-year-old candy company’s owner, Philip Kerwick, says he has a $12,000 delinquent tax bill.
Blasius is a popular place to buy Easter candy. “These last four days make or break me,” Kerwick told Action News. “I don’t think I will be able to survive this year.” Last year, Kerwick said Easter candy made up half of his sales. The shop is only open from late November to Mother’s Day.
Kerwick is disputing the tax bill, and says city officials didn’t appear at a hearing to negotiate a payment. He’s (quite understandably) angry. And he ranted on the Chris Stigall show on 1210 this morning.
Kerwick says his case is emblematic of the problems with city government: “This city has become the third world. At my business, the street people leave their blankets, they live on my property, and they urinate and defecate."
Hold it. People have been doing this in Philadelphia for centuries, and certainly "leaving blankets" and "using the bathroom in public" don't warrant a "third world" description. But cut Kerwick some slack: He's angry, and it seems silly the city would choose his biggest time of the year to shut him down — that's when he can earn the money to pay his outstanding tax bill!
Kerwick alleges local politicians are out to get him over past political differences when he was a local ward leader. “It started with Mr. Michael Meehan. I refused to support the corrupt councilman at the time, Jack Kelly, for re-election. So Mr. Meehan made a fraudulent campaign into my divorce. He actually testified in court that I was a danger to kill my children.”
This is Philadelphia, where going after people for political reasons is a sport. But I would avoid mentioning the time a member of the Meehan family, well-known Northeast Philly Republicans, testified against you in court saying you might kill your children to the radio station.
“I expect my day in court. I can’t believe that this mayor of this city would take away these kids Easter.”
Oh snap! The mayor ruined Easter. For children! I support this line of accusation most of all.