Authorities: South Philly Man Stored Deer Blood, Carcasses to Stage Crashes

Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams announced yesterday the results of a 16-month grand jury investigation: 41 people charged in a massive insurance fraud scam. The alleged kingpin? Ron Galati Sr., a reputed mob associate who is already charged in multiple murder-for-hire plots. Busy guy!

“I live my life to cheat insurance companies,” cooperating witnesses were quoted as saying in the Daily News. “My high every day is to cheat insurance companies.” Progressive and Erie Insurance Companies were the first to alert the authorities.

The fraud was an elaborate one, prosecutors say. Multiple grand jury witnesses testified Galati kept deer carcasses, hair, and blood in his shop in order to stage deer collisions. Those are usually deemed non-fault accidents, so the insured party would not be found at fault.

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PHOTOS: Philly Gays Get a Taste of Flavors of the Avenue

This weekend East Passyunk Avenue hosted its annual Flavors of the Avenue festival, an all-day taste fest featuring restaurants up and down the South Philly enclave. HughE Dillon was there to take photos, so I asked him to snap some of the LGBTers for G Philly. You can check them out in the slideshow below.

One Year on the Market: Frank Palumbo’s Former Main Line Home

palumbo house

The house is secluded behind tall trees and a fence, as this 2012 Google Street View capture shows.

There are a slew of properties on the Main Line worth more than 204 Merion Road’s $1,399,000 asking price, but those houses with their gaudy price tags — well, they’re just houses.

This house is different. This is where the legendary nightclub owner Frank Palumbo and his “vivacious” former Hollywood starlet wife, Kippee Valez, lived. That means the new owners of 204 Merion Road will be acquiring a home that comes with a story.

In 2004 the Inquirer’s Matt Blanchard said the home “is probably the closest thing to Graceland in Pennsylvania, and the last remnant of a once-great hospitality empire.”

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Wild Bill Guarnere and Babe Heffron: A Remembrance


Edward “Babe” Heffron and William “Wild Bill” Guarnere in Philadelphia in 2007. Photo by AP.

In the span of 14 weeks, Philly and the world lost two heroes. Edward “Babe” Heffron and William “Wild Bill” Guarnere — World War II paratroopers from Easy Company, 506th PIR, 101st Airborne, who gained unexpected but well-deserved fame from the 2001 Stephen Ambrose book Band of Brothers and the Tom Hanks miniseries it inspired — took their final jumps on December 1st and March 8th, respectively.

As flags fly at half-staff today in Pennsylvania as Bill is laid to rest — a perfect final salute to him and his brothers in arms — it’s hard to fathom that I’ll never again be able to call Bill and hear his exuberant “Yowwwza!” And then “What’s shakin’, kid?” Or hear Babe on the phone go from a sleepy “Hello?” (after prowling Center City all day) to a booming “Oh, my achin’ back! How the hell are ya?”

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PHOTOS: QOTA Fifth Anniversary Party on East Passyunk Avenue

QOTA — the monthly queer party on East Passyunk Avenue — turned five this weekend. The occasion was fittingly celebrated at Paradiso, where the first QOTA party kicked off in 2009. Here are some snaps of the event, from event spearhead Kory Aversa.

Looking for more events? Check out our Philadelphia Event Listings page for a rundown of local goings-on through May.

What Will Happen to the King of Jeans Sign?


If you’ve ever been toward the end of East Passyunk Avenue in South Philly, you’ve seen it: The incredible sign for the King of Jeans, the now-closed retailer. It features… well, you can see it above: A woman in hot pants is squatting down, kissing a shirtless man wearing jeans.

The King of Jeans is now closed, and the location has been approved to be turned into a five-story retail, office and apartment space. The King of Jeans sign may be on its last legs.

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Partial Building Collapse at Ninth and Wharton


Perhaps due to snow and ice, the roof has fallen in on 848 Wharton Street, which, according to public record, is owned by Maria Olivieri of the Pat’s Steaks family. Looking at a Google image of the building before the roof collapse, it seems as though that part of it had some structural issues before the snow came. In the current photo, an orange sign suggests that the building had attracted some notice from L&I. A permit was granted and recently renewed for demolition of the interior, though without any structural changes.

Last March someone posted a complaint about the building on SeeClickFix titled “Dangerous Vacant Building”:

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Habitat: Artsy, International Vignettes in Passyunk Square

Photo by Conrad Benner

Photo by Conrad Benner

Name: Julia Koral
Neighborhood: Passyunk Square

Where are you from, and why did you choose to call Passyunk Square home?
“I’m originally from NEPA (Northeastern PA.) I moved here in 1999 for undergrad at UArts. Two years after I graduated I made my way to Brooklyn for grad school, and returned in 2008 for my current job at Urban Outfitters — I work in the home office designing store displays. I have always gravitated to South Philly. It’s comfortable. It’s home.”

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Passyunk Square Townhouse Goes in a Week!


It’s cute, it’s charming, and it’s in a neighborhood that’s just soaring with potential. The increasing growth of retail and young transplants suggests that the value of this 1,000+ square foot home will only appreciate, so why not? With three bedrooms, a basement for storage and laundry, and a bathroom and powder room, it’s the perfect neighborhood starter home. The backyard is a keeper as well, ideal for making s’mores and grilling burgers.

No surprise that despite the age of some of its fixtures and its less than exciting exterior, it has an offer in already. Keep that in mind, South Philly homebuyers.

Last asking price was $285,000.

Gallery below…

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