Building Collapse: Owner Is Richard “Porn King” Basciano, a Sam Rappaport Alum [UPDATE]

Today the four-story building once known as Hoagie City at 2136 Market Street collapsed and took much of the Salvation Army Thrift Store down with it, trapping people in the rubble, sending several to the hospital and, according to the latest reports, resulting in one fatality.

The owner of the building was Baltimore native Richard Basciano, associate, friend and one-time estate executor for notorious blight meister and slumlord Sam Rappaport. If one is truly judged by the company he keeps, Basciano would already be held in low esteem, but he shoulders another burden: a reputation as the porn king of Times Square–this was back in the ’70s and ’80s, when that was quite an achievement. His friends and business associates at that time had criminal ties and mob ties; one of them, in fact, was assassinated by John Gotti.

As Giuliani–his “nemesis”–increasingly compromised his smut biz, Basciano stepped up his business here in Philly. He was probably best known for his Forum porn theater. But due to his connection with Rappaport, he also grabbed up rows of buildings that Rappaport left behind, setting up what he claimed would be a bolder, less porny future. Writing about Basciano’s purchase of the buildings on Market Street, the Inquirer’s architecture critic Inga Saffron wrote:

Basciano has hewed faithfully to Rappaport’s recipe on real estate: Hold tight onto properties. Invest nothing, even as your buildings crumble in full public view. And wait patiently for the big payday to come along.

He will not see that payday now. It doesn’t come so easily after a building collapse.

As with last year’s warehouse fires, we are now in for long months–years, really–of any number of parties shirking accountability. There are already people saying the demolition site was obviously not safe. Is Basciano to be blamed for that? Or would it be the demolition contractor hired by architect Plato Marinakos Jr.?

One very odd and discomfiting note: philadelinquency reminds us that a wall in a parking garage that was part of Sam Rappaport’s estate collapsed in 1997 and resulted in the death of a Municipal Court judge. Was this when Basciano was acting as Rappaport’s estate executor? From what we have heard now, it was a collapsing wall that caused today’s level of destruction as well.

We will have more updates as this story develops…

UPDATE: City Paper says there’s more than one slumlord involved here. Ted Snyder, the Sam Rappaport of Old City, seems to also work with the architect who contracted the demolition team for this job. Again, the company you keep…

CP’s assertion of ownership of the building needs some explanation because it contradicts what you may see elsewhere. As philadelinquency puts it, “The owner of record is STB Investments Corp, and most real estate types in the know, know this to be Richard Basciano.” But when a journalist does a little digging, they don’t find Basciano’s name in property records. Instead, they discover a bunch of relatives named Ben instead. Why would someone rather not own a building, even as he likes to trumpet his plans to transform the neighborhood? How’s this for an answer, also from CP:

STB was cited by L&I for failing to seek a vacant building permit for the now collapsed building.  The violation was dismissed without prejudice because L&I could not locate the property owners

Classic.

 

 

  • Adam

    Interesting quote from Caplan. He’s pretty plugged in in Philly. I hope Ertz gets past the 49ers.

    “Adam Caplan ‏@caplannfl

    Here’s what I said during pre-draft show on TEs: Eagles might select 2 TEs out of this draft. Might have 4 active on game days.”

    • eaglepete

      wow, interesting, we absolutely need a TE. But isnt Ertz the guy with the tiny arms, T rex TE right ha? although second rated on most boards.

      • GEagle

        I have a real hard time seeing how chip could like Ertz over Escobar or Kelce… I don’t understand..what is it? Cuz Ertz has the bigger name? Ertz is Joekel…Esco and Kelce are Lane Johnson….SWING FOR THE FENCES!!!

        • Adam

          Bigger name? He’s the bigger name because he had better production than Escobar and Kelce. 2nd ranked TE for a reason. Plus I never said Chip liked them over those guys, that was my opinion.

          • GEagle

            take your thong out of your cheeks…no one was coming at you! why would I talk shit when you are in the majority oppinion? I was simply asking what you saw in Ertz over those guys, because you are one of the more respected oppinions I can find around here? If I’m not seeing something please share it with me….not sure why you felt the need to turn this into a pissing contest…I’m simply asking people what they see in Ertz to want him over Esco and Kelce?….no one was attacking you..

            I’m simply from the school of thought that draft evaluation for chip is more than, well this kid played against me and had a big game. I think if Ertz had never lit up Oregon,mhe would never be talked about for a chip Kelly offense over Esco, Kelce and possibly Vance….no one was disrespecting of or coming at you, I was looking to engage in an intelligent football debate, and I saw that you liked Ertz and wanted to see if you could show me something g that I wasn’t seeing in him is all…cheers

          • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

            Ertz could come to Philly and challenge for meaningful minutes and add quality depth to the roster. Kelly’s familiar with this kid, he could do nothing to contain him when Oregon played Sanford.

            Ertz is an accomplished pass catching Tight End, Big target to work the seams but he’s not the chosen blocker of the bunch.

            Harbaugh may pull the suspense surrounding Ertz by selecting him before anyone else considers adding the kid.

        • GisFeable

          You mean the same Johnson that you said made absolutely no sense in selecting?

          • GEagle

            what did you say? Oh that’s right, too irrelevant for anyone to remember hahaha

  • eaglepete

    Cyprien, Arthur Brown, Keenan Allen, would love any one of them in that order. Anyone know if Brown fits our D scheme? All I hear are good things about that guy, thought hed be gone in first for sure. This is when the draft gets interesting.

    • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

      Brown’s one of the highly rated interior linebackers, with good range. His talent and ranking justifies a selection and adding to the talent on the roster and depth at the linebacker position. The Eagles aren’t in a position to by-pass obvious talent no where on the roster.

  • FMWarner

    NoGenoNoGenoNoGenoNoGeno. Please. I would love to see Cyprien or Banks.

  • Mikeq

    I don’t understand why some fans are so interested in Tyrann Mathieu. We already have about the exact player in Boykin- minus so many failed drug tests that “he stopped counting”.

    • FMWarner

      Me either. Guy is a late rounder and wasn’t as good a corner as he was a returner. It’s just name value, everyone knows who he is.

  • Warhound

    Plz, No Te’o

  • Bob

    Basciano is a piece of garbage

  • thegreengrass

    He better get charged with six counts of Involuntary fucking manslaughter.

  • Christopher Zeitz