South Street Headhouse Chair Resigns; Investigation Under Way

"Legal matters involve the misappropriation of SSHD funds," Headhouse officials say.

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The former chairman of the South Street Headhouse District has resigned amid an inquiry into possible financial wrongdoing, officials with the district have acknowledged in a letter to stakeholders.

Dan Christensen, also known as proprietor of the Copabanana and Redwood restaurants, resigned as chairman in June, according to the letter from Elena Brennan, the acting board chair, and Michael Harris, the district’s executive director.

“Due to ongoing investigation and legal considerations, at this time we are unable to disclose as much additional detail as we would like,” the pair wrote in the letter obtained by Philly Mag (read the letter below). “We can state that the investigation and legal matters involve the misappropriation of SSHD funds.”

Neither Brennan nor Harris was available to comment. Philly Mag was unable to immediately reach Christensen at his restaurants or by email. A spokesperson for Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams, however, confirmed that the office had received a complaint from the SSHD and that an investigation of the irregularities is ongoing.

The letter nodded to several days of discussion and rumor on area social media outlets, explaining that “we believed it was … important to advise you as soon as we could, based on verified factual information, especially as erroneous and misleading information is beginning to appear from anonymous and uninformed sources.”

Brennan and Harris suggested damage to their organization has been minor. “Fortunately, the amounts involved are modest relative to SSHD’s current assets,” the pair wrote. “While we pursue their full recovery together with the expenses involved, we do not anticipate the situation will significantly impair any programs, projects, or activities of SSHD.”

The district oversees zoning issues within its boundaries, and funds programs to keep neighborhood streets and sidewalks clean and safe.

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