Everyone Is Suddenly Interested in the Historical Commission

The Historical Commission meets on a regular basis, and it’s not exactly a hot ticket–there aren’t any scalpers outside. Yet on Friday the City of Philadelphia’s Chief Integrity Officer Joan Markman attended a meeting of the Commission on a day when it was discussing a project taking place two blocks from her house. Though she said she had no stake in the outcome either way, she was remarkably interested in the “process,” as she put it.

The project being discussed (prior to a consideration of a homeowner’s vinyl siding request) was an OCF coffee shop owned by developer Ori Feibush. From the Daily News:

At issue was Feibush’s OCF Coffee House, which is in a historically protected building at 21st Street and Fairmount Avenue. The first-floor exterior of the building was illegally altered when he built the cafe, and he applied for “legalization” of those changes in December. The commission rejected that request but has since worked out a deal with Feibush in which he will make alterations to the exterior and get approval.

Markman, having watched the board reject first-time legalization applications from several homeowners earlier in the meeting, spoke up and appeared to be questioning whether Feibush was getting special consideration.

“So you are insinuating that that process wasn’t followed here?” Chairman Sam Sherman asked her at the meeting.

“No, that’s not what I’m insinuating at all,” she said.

“That’s exactly what you’re doing,” Sherman said.

Another commissioner said:

“I resent your implication that we’re doing something inappropriately. I don’t necessarily agree or disagree with all my colleagues on the commission, but I do believe you are out of line. And if you are here at the mayor’s request, he’s out of line.”

She was not there at the mayor’s request. Nutter called her appearance “a mistake.”

Critics: Chief integrity officer lacking integrity [Daily News]
City’s Chief Integrity Officer’s Integrity Questioned After Speech To Panel [CBS 3]
City Official Throws Her Weight Around to Kill Coffee Shop, Suffers a Verbal Bitchslapping [philadelinquency]