People Are Fuming Over That $10,000 Gay-Bashing Reward
In the early evening hours of September 16th, as video of the alleged Center City gay-bashers was in the process of exploding all over social media, Philadelphia restaurateur Tim Adams, partner in Penn 6, City Tap House and Field House, contacted the media about a $10,000 reward he was putting up in the case. And now Twitter user @FanSince09, whose online sleuthing was heralded by many as having solved the case, is asking questions. But does he even deserve the reward?
Adams had reached out to G Philly editor Josh Middleton on the 16th regarding the reward, wanting to give G Philly first crack at the story. In his message he stated that he and his business partners were putting up the money for information leading to an arrest in the case (no mention of a conviction), which is what G Philly reported. The Philadelphia Gay News, Action News, and Philly.com reported the same information in their own stories. Lots of accolades — not to mention publicity — for the restaurants followed.
Well, police had identified suspects soon thereafter, and no one can discount the fact that @FanSince09’s Twitter charge helped things along. The Philadelphia Police publicly acknowledged the work of the Twitter detectives:
This is how Twitter is supposed to work for cops. I will take a couple thousand Twitter detectives over any one real detective any day.
— Joseph Murray (@PPDJoeMurray) September 17, 2014
Some members of that Twitter army — including @FanSince09 and Eagles player Evan Mathis — went to Twitter (where else?) to start making inquiries about that reward. And restaurateur Adams responded, saying that the police had the money.
— Tim Adams (@timadamsphilly) September 23, 2014
“And that is bullshit,” says Philadelphia Police Lieutenant John Stanford, head of the public affairs unit, who notes that he’s been watching the conversation about the reward on Twitter. “We were never contacted about this reward money nor was Central Detectives. The restaurant owner doing that, I don’t know if it was a publicity stunt or what. But we don’t hold any money. We’re not a bank.”
Stanford explains that the PPD works directly with the non-profit Citizen Crime Commission to deal with privately offered reward money.
“If you told me right now that Philly Mag wants to put up $5,000 for whatever case, I would say, ‘That’s great,'” explains Stanford. “And I would tell you to call the Citizens Crime Commission. But that’s not what happened here. He never once contacted us.”
So maybe the Citizens Crime Commission has the loot?
Nope, says CCC president John Apeldorn.
“We don’t have the money, and we’re not going to have the money,” he says. “We have nothing to do with this. We are not going to be handling this.”
Apeldorn told me that it was “too complicated,” in part because the restaurant group didn’t specify that a conviction was required. “We do arrest and conviction,” he added.
As time wore on, Adams fell under attack on Twitter over the reward, eventually stating the following on Monday:
Being stalked via twitter about the reward when we havent even gone to trial has been a wake up call.
— Tim Adams (@timadamsphilly) September 29, 2014
Then, on Thursday morning, @FanSince09 publicly called off the Twitter war against Adams, saying “things are in motion.”
But that didn’t stop him from contacting Philadelphia magazine to complain about the situation after he made that declaration. “[I]t’s looking like … a couple of guys wanted to attach their names to the story and get PR off of a horrible crime,” he wrote in an email.
Indeed, the partners have gotten some good PR out of this story — at least they did — but it’s hard to imagine that this was merely some publicity stunt and that they had no intention of paying up. But Adams’ statement that the police had the reward has surely raised some eyebrows.
Now, Adams refuses to talk about it. Instead, he directed us to the restaurants’ publicist, who connected us with Adams’ partner, Andy Farrell.
“If we’re guilty of anything, it’s of not facilitating this reward thing correctly,” says Farrell, in response to the suggestion that Adams’ statement about the location of the money may have been disingenuous. “Listen, we were pissed off that this could happen in our community and that nothing had been done about it. We were angry, and so we put a reward out there, not really knowing the protocol. But now, we’re peeved that the spirit of the reward is getting jammed up by people asking, ‘Where’s my money?'”
Farrell says that they are currently searching for an attorney who can handle the matter. The $10,000 would go into an escrow account, and the attorney would deal with the police to facilitate its disbursement. And Farrell says that he’s “100-percent committed” to making the escrow deposit within a week.
But once the partners do come through with money, the police say that @FanSince09 may not be its rightful owner.
“Folks were making this guy a hero, and we do appreciate that type of support from the community,” says Lieutenant Stanford. “But I have been told that detectives actually had specific information — the names and locations of all of the suspects — prior to all of this exploding on Twitter. It was provided to them by an individual, and we would be happy to connect that person with the restaurant owner, who has certainly received some good press.”
Of course, the restaurant could just divide the money up hundreds of different ways — a slice for the source that Stanford mentioned and slices for all of the many soldiers in @FanSince09’s Twitter army, and a piece for the general himself — resulting in a reward that would amount to a visit to the local Chinese buffet. Or, they could just say the hell with it and donate the ten grand to the victims in the case and then let anyone who wants to challenge them on that point enjoy some bad PR, maybe an outraged Twitter mob.
Either way, it looks like the partners will be coughing up that $10,000 in the very near future.
“We’re the good guys here,” promises Farrell. “But it’s all just a little murky.”
Update: Immediately after we published this story on Friday afternoon, Farrell’s publicist informed us that an attorney had been hired and that the $10,000 would be in the bank by 5:30 p.m.
Follow @VictorFiorillo on Twitter.