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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