Building Trades Council Warned L&I about Demolition; Center City Bar Closed in Connection to Collapse


Earlier today, Helen Ubinas of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote a scathing article on who exactly should share the blame for yesterday’s tragic accident that resulted in the death of 6 people.  In the article, Helen drew parallels between what happened to the Bangladesh garment factory that killed over 1,200 people a couple of months ago and what happened in Center City Philadelphia yesterday afternoon. The parallels are obvious, people knew that both work places were dangerous and the regulatory process from the top down failed in both instances.  In her article, she cited the slumlords who own the property, Plato Marinakos Jr, the architect who expedited the demolition permits without ever seeing the blueprints, the union carpenters who made hints that they could tell that the building posed a threat to people around the work site and L&I (Licenses and Inspections – the regulator who distributes construction permits in the city) for not inspecting the site.  And now the finger pointing begins.

According to CBS Philadelphia, Pat Gillespie, the head of the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council, made an appearance on Dom Giordano’s local radio show.  According to Mr. Gillespie:

[The building] brought in this contractor…who’s non-union. I do know that a carpenter working across the street…had gone over and warned people, ‘Look, this isn’t going to work.’”

On a number of occasions, from what I was told, they alerted L&I about it,” Gillespie added. “They also, from what I was told this morning, had an interview with police.”

“There [was] nothing holding that wall up, is what I’m getting at,” Gillespie added, echoing the concerns of others. “We need to get, A, some kind of rules that work, and B, have people take some sort of course of action to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

Then Victor Forillo from Philadelphia Magazine is reporting that L&I has shut down the Rosewood bar in Center City.  The bar was evacuated around 10 PM Wednesday evening and “was found to be in violation of building, zoning, electrical, fire and plumbing codes.”  The article points out that:

According to L&I records of the Rosewood address, the city issued a “Major Alteration” permit on May 3rd to Griffin Campbell Construction, the same contractor doing demolition work on the 22nd and Market building when it collapsed. The owner of Griffin Campbell reportedly has a criminal record. Rosewood also used the same “expediter” that was used at 22nd and Market: local architect Plato Marinakos Jr., whose job it was to expedite the permitting process.



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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 or reach me on twitter at @RCPress_Sean!
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