Woman Claims High-Priced Strip Club Fired Her Because She’s White

A dancer on stage at Vanity Grande. (Photo via YouTube)

A dancer on stage at Vanity Grande. (Photo via YouTube)

You may have never heard of Vanity Grand, a strip club in Southwest Philadelphia, but it’s no hole in the wall. The high-priced bottle-service venue at 61st and Passyunk has recently presented events hosted by the likes of hip-hop stars Rick Ross, Future, and 50 Cent, and Meek Mill is scheduled to appear there this weekend. Vanity Grand is the kind of place where Floyd Mayweather goes to literally throw lots of money around. Well, the club now finds itself the subject of a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by a woman who used to work there. Read more »

Luxury Jeweler Paul Morelli Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Left: Paul Morelli (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images). Right: Accuser Kathryn Hanegraaf (Lauren Carey Photography)

Left: Paul Morelli (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images). Right: Accuser Kathryn Hanegraaf (Lauren Carey Photography)

Paul Morelli isn’t just any Philadelphia jeweler. His high-priced designs turn up in the style pages of the New York Times, which also heralded the opening of his Madison Avenue location in 2014 by declaring him “no longer fine jewelry’s best-kept secret.” And his pieces, which can cost upwards of $150,000, can sometimes be found in places like Neiman Marcus, Harrods of London, and Bergdorf Goodman, where thieves made off with hundreds of thousands of dollars in Morelli jewelry in a daring 2012 heist. (“That thief obviously has good taste,” a Morelli rep told the New York Post.) Remember Rihanna’s see-through dress? Jewelry by Paul Morelli.

In other words, Morelli is a bona fide luxury jeweler. But according to a young woman who once worked for him, Morelli wasn’t a very good boss. Read more »

State Lawmakers File Brief Against Soda Tax

Sodas for sale in a refrigerated case

Photo by Marlith (license)

Thirty-six state lawmakers have signed on to a brief opposing Philadelphia’s soda tax in Commonwealth Court. The Inquirer reported on Monday that the five state senators and 31 state representatives include three Philadelphia lawmakers: state Sen. Anthony H. Williams, state Rep. Angel Cruz, and state Rep. Martina White.

The beverage industry sued Philadelphia late last year over the soda tax, which applies a 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax to all sweetened beverage products sold within city limits. While the tax is applied to distributors, most retail outlets are passing the cost on to consumers. A judge threw out the lawsuit, but an appeal is pending. Read more »

San Francisco Sues Trump Over Sanctuary City Funding Ban

Photo by Evan Vucci/AP

Photo by Evan Vucci/AP

In what could be the first of a wave of lawsuits over the issue, San Francisco has sued President Donald Trump over his plans to strip so-called “sanctuary cities” of federal funding. Philadelphia is one of the cities targeted by Trump’s executive order.

The suit was filed on Tuesday by San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera. “The president’s executive order is not only unconstitutional, it’s un-American,” Herrera said. “That is why we must stand up and oppose it. We are a nation of immigrants and a land of laws. We must be the ‘guardians of our democracy’ that President Obama urged us all to be in his farewell address.” Read more »

Driver of Amtrak Train That Derailed Sues Amtrak

Left: Brandon Bostian (Courtesy of Robert Mongeluzzi); Right: The aftermath of the Amtrak Train 188 derailment (AP/Mel Evans)

Left: Brandon Bostian (Courtesy of Robert Mongeluzzi); Right: The aftermath of the Amtrak Train 188 derailment (AP/Mel Evans)

The driver of the Amtrak train that derailed in Port Richmond in 2015 has sued his former employer.

Brandon Bostian was the engineer of Amtrak 188. Eight people were killed and more than 200 were injured — including 11 critical injuries — in the crash. His lawsuit against Amtrak, filed Wednesday in Common Pleas Court, accused the railroad company of failing to provide a safe working environment.

The NTSB report on the crash laid the blame on Bostian, saying he was distracted by radio traffic about a rock that hit another train the same night and did not slow down enough as he entered a curve. Read more »

Philly Auto Show Sued by Garage Over Pop-Up Bar

A photo of signage for "The Garage" bar at last year's Philadelphia Auto Show. (Court exhibit)

A photo of signage for “The Garage” bar at last year’s Philadelphia Auto Show. (Court exhibit)

The tuxedos are rented and the cocktail dresses have been procured for this Friday’s Black Tie Tailgate kickoff to the 2017 Philadelphia Auto Show, which runs through February 5th at the Convention Center. But now organizers are forced to address a new lawsuit filed by Garage, the popular bar with locations in South Philadelphia and Fishtown. Read more »

Philly’s Biggest Losers of 2016

Background image by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia™

Background image by M. Edlow for Visit Philadelphia™

Now that the last shreds of wrapping paper have been vacuumed up and the good dishes are finally put away, we revisit our time-honored tradition of taking a look back at the year and the losers, miscreants, and ne’er-do-wells it spawned. (For a more optimistic view of Philadelphia, consider Holly Otterbein‘s Biggest Winners of 2016.)

Ed Rendell

The once-lovable former champion of the everyman now spends his time being largely irrelevant and making facepalm-worthy comments in places like the Washington Post. But when you’re pulling in a cool $5,000 each month to do virtually nothing for a casino in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, you probably don’t care. Read more »

Judge Rejects GOP Suit Over Poll Watcher Rules

Election Day in Philadelphia  in 2010 | Photo by AP/Matt Rourke

Election Day in Philadelphia in 2010 | Photo by AP/Matt Rourke

A judge has rejected an argument from Republicans that asked for the state’s poll-watching rules to be overturned. U.S. District Judge Gerald Pappert said that there is no constitutional right to poll watching, and rejected a lawsuit the Pennsylvania Republican Party had filed against the state.

Before 2004, Pennsylvania law said certified poll watchers could only watch the returns in their districts. That year, state lawmakers amended the election code to allow poll watchers to perform their duties anywhere in the county in which they were registered to vote. A 2015 bill in Harrisburg to allow poll watchers to work anywhere in the state did not pass; with this lawsuit, Republicans attempted to push it through the courts instead. Read more »

After DNA Exoneration, Anthony Wright Sues City and Police

Anthony Wright with his granddaughter after his release from prison in August. Photo by Kevin Monko, courtesy The Innocence Project

Anthony Wright with his granddaughter after his release from prison in August. Photo by Kevin Monko, courtesy The Innocence Project

Less than one month ago Anthony Wright walked out of prison, where he had spent the previous 25 years for the 1991 rape and murder of his 77-year-old neighbor, Louise Talley. DNA evidence has proven that Wright, 44, was not the killer, and now he is suing the City of Philadelphia as well as the police. Read more »

Here’s the LeSean McCoy Lawsuit Filed by Two Philly Cops

Left: LeSean McCoy in a 2016 photo by Keith Allison (Flickr).

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 »

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