How Will NBC10 News Report on the Fattahs?

It was 12:49 p.m. and the big headline on CBS Philly’s website was “PA US Rep Chaka Fattah Indicted in Racketeering Case.” On the ABC 10 website the headline read: “Rep. Chaka Fattah Indicted in Racketeering Case.” The headline on NBC10’s website at the same moment? “Pregnant Women Fear Transportation Trouble During Papal Visit.” Read more »

Gerry Lenfest Awards $1,000 Bonuses to Philly Newspaper Workers*

Philanthropist H.G. "Gerry" Lenfest speak at a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. Photo | AP, Matt Rourke

Philanthropist H.G. “Gerry” Lenfest speaks at a news conference after a closed-door auction to buy the The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in Philadelphia. Photo | Matt Rourke/AP

Here’s the good news: If you work for the Inquirer, Daily News, or Philly.com, Gerry Lenfest is going to give you $1,000.

The not-so-thrilling news? If you’re a member of the Newspaper Guild, you won’t see any of that money in cash. Instead, it’ll go to help pay for your health insurance costs.

“As negotiated by their leadership, in lieu of the $1,000 bonus being paid to the Guild’s individual members, a payment of $1,000 for each Guild member is being made to that union’s (health and welfare) plan,” Lenfest said in a Wednesday afternoon email announcing the bonus. Read more »

Chaka Fattah Indicted in Alleged Racketeering Conspiracy

Chaka Fattah | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

Chaka Fattah | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

[UPDATE, 3:50 p.m.]: Fattah has issued a statement on this morning’s indictment against him and four associates:

“This has been an eight-year effort by some in the Department of Justice to link my public service career to some form of wrongdoing. With today’s charges, this misguided campaign has now moved from speculation to specific allegations.

“As I have previously stated, I have never participated in any illegal activity or misappropriation of taxpayer dollars as an elected official. For the last 21 years, I have represented the people of Philadelphia in Congress with honor and dignity, helping millions of families through my efforts focused on education, employment, mortgage relief, and health care. I will proudly continue to serve my constituents and look forward to helping millions more.

“Per House rules and precedent, I have stepped aside from my role as Ranking Member on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science.

“This will not be a distraction from my service to the people that elected me, and I am confident that I will be cleared of these charges.”

[ORIGINAL, 11:30 a.m.]: On Wednesday morning, the United States Attorney in Philadelphia announced federal tax evasion charges against sitting Democratic U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah, who has represented Pennsylvania’s 2nd District since assuming office in 1995.

Fattah and four associates were indicted on Wednesday for their alleged involvement in a racketeering conspiracy that involved misappropriating “hundreds of thousands of dollars of federal, charitable and campaign funds,” according to a statement by the U.S. Attorney. Also charged are Bonnie Bowser of Philadelphia, Karen Nicholas of Williamstown, N.J., Herbert Vederman of Palm Beach, Florida, and Robert Brand of Philadelphia. Charges include racketeering, conspiracy, bribery, money laundering and bank fraud, among other offenses. (Read the full indictment, and a list of charges and defendants, below.) Read more »

Who Are Fattah’s Indicted Associates?

Chaka Fattah | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

Chaka Fattah | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP

You can’t have a RICO prosecution without alleged co-conspirators. So who have the Feds targeted in addition to Chaka Fattah?

Herbert Vederman, 69, Palm Beach, Florida.

Biography: A politically potent lobbyist with strong ties to former Gov. Ed Rendell, Vederman is the other big fish in this indictment (below). Vederman was a former clothing executive who joined Mayor Ed Rendell’s administration as an unpaid deputy mayor. He headed up economic development for the city for a time, and played a role in a 1995 City Hall scandal called “boobgate,” which involved strippers and L&I, because this is Philadelphia. He’s contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years to Rendell’s political campaigns. Later, Vederman was a lobbyist for hire in the government relations division of Stradley Ronon, the law firm. He also served as finance director for the Fattah for Congress Committee for more than three years. Read more »

Man Trapped by Freight Train Has Leg Amputated in Rescue

Early this morning, a man was rescued from under a freight train in the Bustleton section of Philadelphia.

The Associated Press reports that emergency medical crews rescued a 46-year-old man by amputating one of his legs after he was pinned between a freight train and tracks around 2:45 a.m. The AP says authorities told them a crew from Einstein Medical Center worked for two hours to help free the man. Read more »

Are Philly Police Tracking Your Car’s Whereabouts?

Shutterstock.com

Shutterstock.com

Philly Police are among several local agencies using technology to photograph and record millions of license plate numbers — and, over time, to track the movements of a vehicle and its driver.

Civil libertarians say the technology raises privacy concerns, NBC 10 reports, but police say it helps them solve crimes.

Since the beginning of 2014, Philly Police say they’ve recorded nearly 30 million license plates. That information led to the recovery of 521 stolen cars and the arrest of six suspects. Philly Police retain the license plate info for a year, then purge, saving only if the plate is associated with criinal activity. Read more »

Scott Walker Tries Pat’s and Geno’s, Gets Heckled

Left, by Matt Stanley. Right, via Twitter.

Left, by Matt Stanley. Right, via Twitter.

South Philadelphians weren’t fans of Scott Walker when he stopped by two famed corner cheesesteak outlets.

The Wisconsin governor and Republican presidential hopeful ate cheesesteaks — which he apparently enjoys witout — at both Pat’s King of Steaks and Geno’s Steaks this afternoon.

He got heckled on Twitter for ordering that American cheese.

And for “scaring the little children”…

Matt Gelb, an Inquirer reporter, followed Walker’s movement from steak to steak, and reports that people weren’t happy that Walker skipped a line at Geno’s.

He also apparently couldn’t finish his second steak, but he did talk ball with some people from the area.

But why was Governor Walker here in the first place?

We’ll just have to wait and see how that turns out in the primary next May.

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