Update Posted: Non-Union Contractor Responsible for Philadelphia Building Collapse

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Update 8:26PM – Griffin-Campbell’s Criminal Record and Multiple Demolition Permits in Philadelphia

Philly.com has reported that the owners of Griffin-Campbell has a criminal record for scamming the city with fake car accidents.

The contractor hired to demolish the building at 2136-38 Market Street has a criminal record, stemming from a phony car-wreck scheme with a Philadelphia police officer, according to court records.

Campbell has city permits to demolish six other properties, including three other Market Street properties owned by STB Investments Corp., the owner of the collapsed building. The principal of STB is Richard Basciano, owner of many seedy properties who was once dubbed “the undisputed king of Times Square porn” in New York City.

According to court records, Campbell filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in March, listing $221,000 in liabilities, including $10,000 in unpaid city business taxes and delinquent state and federal taxes, as well as numerous bank liens on properties he owns in North Philadelphia.

One person was killed and 13 others were injured in Center City Philadelphia this morning when 3 buildings collapsed on 22nd and Market Streets.  After the collapse, Ryan Briggs at City Paper pointed out that the project was under the supervision of architect Plato Marinakos Jr., permitted to Griffin Campbell Construction LLC and connected to Center City’s infamous slum-lord Ted Snyder.  According to the City Paper,  Marinakos signed off on the demolition permits, but he  “served as only as an expediter for the city permitting process and had apparently never actually seen any blueprints for the demolition plan he endorsed.”

Earlier this evening, the Raging Chicken Press learned from a source close to the local Sheet Metal Workers and Philadelphia AFL-CIO that the construction company performing the demolition,.Griffin Campbell Construction LLC, was a non-union building contractor.

Excerpt from Briggs’ article

A building that collapsed at 2136 Market Street this morning, trapping 11 people under debris, was in the process of being demolished under the supervision of architect Plato Marinakos, Jr, according to demolition permits.

Why are we writing about this? Because Marinakos was mentioned by Gianni Pignetti, the henchman for Old City’s biggest slumlord, Ted Snyder, in interviews for our profile on Old City blightlords. Pignetti referred to Marinakos as “my architect” in phone interviews, and used him to sign off on proposals for partial demolition and renovation work to several vacant buildings owned by Snyder on 2nd Street.

The plans were rejected for “failing to meet architectural preservation standards”, according to Jon Farnham, Executive Director of the Historical Commission.  They petitioned the Commission again, several months ago.

“Staff members met a second time with Mr. Pignetti and his architect, Plato Marinakos, and explained to them how to revise the plans to satisfy preservation standards,” said Farnham, in an email. “We have not seen the revised plans and nothing has been approved.”

Marinakos had signed off on demoltion permits to take down the Market Street structure which directly abutted a Salvation Army Thrift store. The building collapsed mid-demolition, trapping people in the adjacent store under debris. A spokesmen for Marinakos said the architect had served as only as an expediter for the city permitting process and had apparently never actually seen any blueprints for the demolition plan he endorsed.

 

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About Sean Kitchen 681 Articles
Contributor and Assistant Editor for the Raging Chicken Press. Stationed in Harrisburg covering politics in the capitol. You can send tips to sean@rcpress.org or reach me on twitter at @RCPress_Sean!
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10 Comments on Update Posted: Non-Union Contractor Responsible for Philadelphia Building Collapse

  1. Wow, classy guys. They are still digging through debris looking for people and you are THISFAST to play the “scab” card?

    Is it any wonder why most people have negative opinions on labor unions, see them as a relic, and want “right to work” in PA? Why pay dues? So that your business manager can have a million dollar house down-a-shore?

    You should be embarrassed, but that would require you to have good sense.

    • Playing the scab card? Maybe I should also play the “greedy son a of bitch,” “convicted felon,” “cheap ass” and “about to never be able to practice engineering again” cards as well. Skilled labor isn’t cheap and cheap labor isn’t skilled. The architect of this project and the owners of the construction firm went the cheapest route possible and got 4 people killed. So yeah, I am playing the “scab” card because those managing this project went the cheapest way possible and needlessly killed 4 others along the way.

      • Perhaps this kind of work should be under the ACTUAL supervision of someone like an architect or engineer? Have a look at the City of Philadelphia website to see the “stringent” qualifications required for anyone applying for a contractor’s license. Union or not seems less the issue than requiring an individual with proper training to oversee the work.

  2. Steve…your a fuckin stupid ass…the guy is a crook with connections…HE KILLED PEOPLE…and you bitchin about unions….asshole

  3. Steve sucks scab ass. Probably one of these guys who owns a landscaping company and employs 20 illegal Mexicans to do the work while he sits back on his fat ass and enjoys the fruits of their labor. Imagine where this country would be without unions. Assholes like Steve would be complaining about not getting paid enough, not having overtime pay, no health benefits, no vacations, no sick days and I could go on. I say thank you to all of my union brothers, past and present, for allowing me to live a great life. It’s a shame ignorant people like Steve are the ones that “really don’t have common sense!””

  4. I have worked both union and non union. When hired by the nonunion contractor he did not care if I had any experience . After seven years with him I saw time after time people without any experience at all being employed. I will admit there are plenty of nonunion people doing good work but when I joined the Electrical Union The first thing I had to do is go through extensive training.All members must be trained in skills of the trade along with safety training and much more.Safety was nonexistant on the nonunion jobs.All my union jobs safety is a priority taken on by everyone.While nobody is 100% accident free I am saddened to read time after time about seeing people seriously injured or killed by saving money using unskilled labor and zero safety standards.

  5. We don’t know all the facts so finger pointing is not fair. I retired from the Carpenters union and my last 10 years in the trade I had to pee before starting each job and random tests thereafter. I watched the people on my crew for strange behavior and sometimes had to send guys home. There are still people out there union and non-union, both the contractor and employees, that don’t care. Just get the job done…The operator smoking weed was a poor decision and now he faces criminal charges. I will agree, however, with the amount of training that the union guy gets as opposed to little or no training for the non-union guy.

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