Former South Street Headhouse District Board Chairman Charged With Wire Fraud

Daniel Christensen also owned the street's popular Copabanana.

Just over a year after we first told you that the head of the South Street Headhouse District had resigned amid an investigation into his actions, the United States Department of Justice has announced that Daniel Christensen has been charged with one count of wire fraud.

Prosecutors say Christensen defrauded the South Street Headhouse District, where he was chairman. The government accuses Christensen of illegally taking money out of the organization’s accounts to cover the costs of his businesses. Christensen owned and operated longtime South Street bar Copabanana as well as the newer Redwood.

According to court documents, Christensen allegedly took some $1.4 million from South Street Headhouse District accounts, though they note the funds were eventually replaced. Prosecutors say the largest individual sum that he withdrew was $430,000. The funds in those accounts included fees paid to the district by residents and local businesses, and the organization uses the money to help keep South Street clean and safe.

The feds say Christensen took the money without the knowledge or permission of anyone else at the organization.

Christensen could face a maximum of sentence of 20 years in prison if he were convicted

According to an interview Christensen did with the Philadelphia.Gay News in 2014, he was originally from Florida and moved to Philadelphia in 1991, landing jobs at Cafe Nola and Copa.

A representative of the South Street Headhouse District said the organization has no comment about the charge against Christensen. At the time of Christensen’s resignation in 2015, representatives of the district told Philly Mag that any damage caused by Christensen was relatively minor.

“Fortunately, the amounts involved are modest relative to SSHD’s current assets,” they wrote in a written statement. “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.”

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