Philly Today: Notorious Restaurateur Matt Swartz Is In Trouble. Again.
Plus, more Krasner drama, more mayoral announcements, more truly important Fetterman news and... the end of the Philly Pops?
Check phillymag.com each morning for the latest edition of Philly Today. And if you have a news tip for our hardworking Philly Mag reporters, please send it here.
The Matt Swartz Saga Is Not Over Yet
Every time I write the name Matt Swartz, I expect it to be the last time I will ever write the name Matt Swartz. After all, how much trouble can one guy get into? And yet, here we are again. It’s 2022. And I’m writing about Matt Swartz.
Anybody familiar with the Philadelphia restaurant scene will remember Swartz or at least his restaurants and bars. The most notable was surely Farmers’ Cabinet, the fantastic Walnut Street cocktail bar that debuted in 2011.
Allow me to give you the basic, truncated Matt Swartz timeline:
- In 2013, state agents raided Farmers’ Cabinet and arrested Swartz, saying he was selling liquor at Farmers’ Cabinet without a valid liquor license.
- Then police said Swartz had forged a liquor license.
- In 2014, Swartz pleaded guilty to three counts in that case.
- Naturally, Swartz’s probation officer in that case was working for him at Farmers’ Cabinet and another restaurant he owned.
- Then a former Swartz employee scored a victory against Swartz by forcing a sheriff’s sale of one of Swartz’s actually valid liquor licenses due to some unpaid wages.
- After that, the Farmers’ Cabinet landlord sued Swartz for more than $1 million.
And then? Matt Swartz disappeared from Philadelphia.
In 2019, Swartz surfaced in West Virginia as — guess what? — a restaurant owner. He decided, for whatever reason, that it would be a good idea to do a TV interview with a West Virginia station about that restaurant. The clip circulated online. One thing led to another. And Pennsylvania extradited Swartz on some open warrants.
And then things got even worse for Swartz. In 2020, the feds picked Swartz up and charged him with withholding taxes from Farmers’ Cabinet employees but never actually, ya know, paying those taxes to the government. Bad move, bro!
The feds said the amount in question was more than $400,000. And, they claimed, Swartz didn’t turn over any of the taxes that were withheld from employee checks for the entire life of the business.
Ok, OK, so then in 2021, according to court records, Swartz pleaded guilty to these charges. He then asked for continuance after continuance after continuance after continuance (no, really, there were lots of continuances) for his sentencing hearing, which was finally supposed to happen on Tuesday.
But where was Matt Swartz? Nowhere to be found, says the court. He didn’t show up for sentencing. And so the judge issued a bench warrant for his arrest. A court source tells me that any leniency Swartz might have hoped for in his sentencing could be out the window thanks to his failure to appear for said sentencing. “Most judges don’t like to have their time wasted,” said the source.
“Mr. Swartz is now 50 years old,” wrote Swartz’s lawyer in a court filing prior to him not showing up for the sentencing. (The lawyer hasn’t returned a call seeking comment.) “In the dozen years prior to his signing of the plea agreement, he had been in jail a handful of times, but never for more than six months … His conduct in this case ended eight years ago. None of his criminal offenses have involved any violence or threat of violence.”
The judge could send Swartz to prison for up to five years.
The Larry Krasner Situation
And Then There Were Six
The candidate pool for the 2023 Philadelphia mayor’s race continues to expand, as local ShopRite magnate Jeff Brown just announced.
So that makes it…
- Jeff Brown
- Allan Domb
- Maria Quiñones Sánchez
- Derek Green
- Cherelle Parker
- Rebecca Rhynhart
Any more takers?
The End of the Philly Pops?
Seems to be the case. Now where will we go to hear an orchestra play the Beatles and Broadway tunes?!
OMG: Gisele Fetterman Cropped Out John Fetterman’s Head in Photos!
Election Fraud? What Election Fraud?
Current Attorney General and governor-elect Josh Shapiro announced charges against a Philadelphia man for allegedly “orchestrating the forgery of signatures on election nomination petitions in municipal primacy races.”
And From the This-and-That Sports Desk …
Well, now, it looks Bryce Harper’s elbow is gonna go through some shit in the off-season. Too bad. Hope the news is good and the healing is fast.
Phillies’ Bryce Harper will have elbow surgery next week https://t.co/sRycZ7HWkf
— Philadelphia Inquirer Sports (@phillysport) November 16, 2022
A bookstore in D.C. wrote about a fun new game to play: Will John Fetterman Fit in Our Basement?
The lamestream media won’t do the tough stories anymore, so I guess we have to. https://t.co/jVLeoxLsSM
— Capitol Hill Books (@chbooksdc) November 15, 2022
(Spoiler: In the replies, Gisele says they’ll stop by and see.)
Man, am I sorry I missed this game:
Don’t know what sport this is but I’m riveted. pic.twitter.com/f1WgGgbTHV
— Matt Norlander (@MattNorlander) November 16, 2022
In college news, the Albany Great Danes (gnarly mascot choice) c0me to Hawk Hill tonight to play St. Joe’s.
Finally, if pumpkin-crushing were a sport, this hippo would be the GOAT.
— Fascinating (@fasc1nate) November 16, 2022
Hey, it’s not our fault! We’re giving you all the news we’ve got!
The Flyers also play.
All Philly Today Sports Desk coverage is provided by Sandy Hingston.