Image via Flickr.
On Monday, Philadelphia filed a federal lawsuit against Wells Fargo asserting that the bank has engaged in discriminatory lending practices against black and Latino home loan borrowers.
The lawsuit alleges that since 2004, Wells Fargo has operated in violation of the Fair Housing Act by pushing black and Latino borrowers towards high-cost or high-risk loans even when those borrowers were eligible for more favorable options.
The complaint further claims that Wells Fargo incentivized employees who steered minority borrowers to the risky and high-cost loans and specifically calls out Wells Fargo’s “lender credit” loan. The credit allows the bank to pay a borrower’s closing costs upfront but the borrower would have to accept a loan with a higher interest rate.
The city investigated Wells Fargo’s lending practices through an analysis of available loan data, which found that the practices disproportionately impacted minorities. About 23 percent of loans from Wells Fargo to minority customers in Philadelphia were high-cost or high-risk, while only eight percent of loans made to white customers were high-cost or high-risk.
“The City of Philadelphia’s investigation revealed that both the resources of the City and the lives of Philadelphia’s citizens have been negatively affected by Wells Fargo’s discriminatory lending practices,” said City Solicitor Sozi Pedro Tulante. “The Law Department must take action in light of this evidence and halt these discriminatory practices on behalf of the citizens of Philadelphia.” Read more »
Left: Sebastian Cummings. (Instagram) Right: Loco Pez (Image via Google Maps).
Fishtown taco bar Loco Pez is a gritty and quirky spot, the kind of place where it’s not unusual to hear the kitchen cursing up a storm as you’re downing two-dollar tacos and Kenzingers, and where there’s a prominent sign reading cash only bitches. But one former employee says this ultra-casual, foul-mouthed culture went way too far. Read more »
Left: LeSean McCoy in a 2016 photo by Keith Allison (Flickr).
Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams has declined to press charges against former Eagles player LeSean McCoy after two cops were injured in an Old City bar brawl he was involved in. But that doesn’t mean that McCoy is completely off the hook. Read more »
Left: Attorney Richard “Dick” Sprague (AP Photo/Matt Rourke). Right: Ken Smukler in a 2015 photo (Twitter).
Dick Sprague is the most feared attorney in Philadelphia. Ken Smukler is a behind-the-scenes Democratic political operative who has worked for the likes of Kathleen Kane, Bob Brady, Rick Mariano and Marjorie Margolies back before she was Chelsea Clinton’s mother-in-law. And now Sprague and Smukler are squaring off in court. Read more »
Photo via iStock.com
It’s been nearly a year since we told you about a claim of gross stuff found in food in Philadelphia — the last time around, it was an allegation of a mouse head in a can of chick peas bought at a Philly grocery store — so we thought we’d bring you this things-that-make-you-say-ewwwwwwww tale of a human tooth allegedly found in a hamburger. Read more »
Usually, when the United States Attorney in Philadelphia makes a statement about a case, it’s over murderers, drug traffickers, and multi-million dollar embezzlers. But on Tuesday morning, U.S. Attorney Zane David Memeger spoke out about ADA-compliance issues at South Philadelphia Tap Room on Mifflin Street. Read more »
Philadelphia Police Headquarters, aka “The Roundhouse.” | Beyond My Ken | Wikimedia Commons
The city has settled a lawsuit with a Philadelphia Police detective who claims his superiors retaliated against him for blowing the whistle on civil rights violations within the department.
Detective Matthew Maurizio filed the suit in spring 2014, claiming he had been punished because he told his superiors about the practice of “icing” — holding arrestees in jail without the probable cause or charges required to do so, in violation of their rights.
The practice is used to shake loose information from the arrestees, Maurizio said in his suit. (See the complaint below.)
“Icing is to induce the held person to speak, to make the person provide a statement about matters the police are criminally investigating, to coerce the held person to speak when the person did not wish to speak to police or would not fully speak with police,” Maurizio’s lawyer, Brian Puricelli, wrote in the lawsuit.
The department, in a written statement to Philly Mag, denied the icing allegations. Read more »
Ralph Cipriano, left. Slade McLaughlin, right.
Billy Doe’s lawyer is pushing back against a Newsweek cover story that questions his client’s veracity in several Philadelphia Catholic Church sex abuse cases.
“I would think Newsweek would do some modicum of investigation of its journalism to make sure it was fair and unbiased,” said Slade McLaughlin. He took particular aim at the story’s author, Ralph Cipriano, a longtime Philly journalist who has covered the case closely for years.
“Ralph has an agenda,” McLaughlin said. “Ralph has his points to make.”
Cipriano this week stood by his reporting. “There’s no reason to believe this kid,” he told Philly Mag. He said criticism of the story amounted to “shooting the messenger” — and avoiding tackling hard questions raised by his reporting.
“My agenda was to expose a suspect prosecution and a fraudulent ‘victim’ who gamed the system,” Cipriano said in response to McLaughlin’s quote. “And he couldn’t have done it without his legal enablers, beginning in the district attorney’s office and ending with Slade McLaughlin.
Newsweek deputy editor Bob Roe also defended the story in an email to Philly Mag, saying Cipriano ” has consistently demonstrated that his loyalty is to the truth, not the players. We stand by the story.” Read more »
District Attorney Seth Williams | Photo by Matt Rourke/AP
City Hall in 2014 settled a racial discrimination lawsuit aimed at District Attorney Seth Williams, the Daily News reported today.
The suit was brought by MK Feeney, a white female homicide prosecutor who says she was fired in 2011, accused of being “untruthful” in the aftermath of a Daily News cover story about turmoil in the the prosecutor’s office. Her suit said that a fellow homicide prosecutor — a black man, and a member of the same fraternity as Williams — later confessed to leaking the info, but was not fired. That man has since left the D.A.’s office.
“She would not have been fired if she was black. She was not the right color. She was not in the same fraternity,” a source told the paper. Read more »
Larry Cooper isn’t just an innocent man — the Philadelphia man is a Good Samaritan. That, at least, is what a federal appeals court says. But that wasn’t enough to keep him out of jail.
According to court records: When Cooper left Jefferson University Hospital one day in April 2012 — his wife had just undergone surgery — he was approached by a stranger asking directions. While he was helping, two men came up and robbed the stranger. Cooper tried chasing the robbers down — and when that failed, gave his cell phone to the victim to call police.
The victim told police that Cooper was one of the robbers. The police then arrested Cooper, despite his denials of being involved in the crime. Unable to post bail, he spent 77 days in jail before going free. Read more »