When You Go Loco About a Developer, Could That Get You In Court?

The short answer is, yes.

This morning the Inquirer published an odd account of a defamation charge Point Breeze developer Ori Feibush is laying on neighborhood resident Haley Dervinis, who happens to live on the same block as this proposal Feibush is proposing at 20th and Annin street, across from the OCF Cafe at 20th and Point Breeze Avenue.

Haley Dervinis

 

At the South Philadelphia H.O.M.E.S. RCO meeting where the 20th and Annin series of single family homes was proposed (which yours truly attended), Dervins was the only person in the packed room raising objecting leading questions.

In the defamation cease and desist letter, Ori’s attorney Wally Zimolong writes:

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The zoning on the vacant lot where the proposed homes would be going is RSA5, which permits single family rowhomes to be constructed by-right on the land.   So what is the ZBA going to be deciding on today?

GROUNDS

PERMIT FOR RELOCATION OF LOT LINE TO CREATE FOUR (4) LOTS (LOT #A to D) FROM THREE (3) DEEDED LOTS. ERECTION OF THREE (3) – THREE (3) STORY ATTACHED STRUCTURE (MAXIMUM HEIGHT NTE 38 FT) WITH CELLAR AND ROOF DECK ABOVE THIRD FLOOR (8 FT FRONT SETBACK) WITH ACCESSORY PILOTHOUSE MAXIMUM HEIGHT 7 FT (LOT #B,C & D) AND PARCEL #A – ERECTION OF THREE STORY ATTACHED STRUCTURE (MAXIMUM HEIGHT NTE 38 FT) WITH CELLAR AND REAR ONE STORY GARAGE (ONE OFF STREET PARKING) WITH DECK ABOVE GARAGE AND ROOF DECK ABOVE THE THIRD FLOOR (8 FT FRONT SETBACK) WITH ACCESSORY PILOTHOUSE MAXIMUM HEIGHT 7 FT, ALL FOUR STRUCTURES-USE AS SINGLE FAMILY DWELLING. SIZE AND LOCATION AS SHOWN ON THE APPLICATION.

 

One of the homes is going to be going full-out over minimum yard requirements and take up the entire lot so it can include a garage and the homes will have roofdecks.  And it’s surrounded by single family homes, most without roofdecks.  (Fun Fact:  District Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson lives in a 3-story rowhome with a roofdeck  around the corner from here).

So… will Dervinis stick to the zoning matter at hand at the ZBA hearing, or will she bring up anti-development to the ZBA hearing as a meritous argument to deny a variance?   The throwdown starts today at 2PM in the ZBA’s hearing room.

Update:  Feibush just wrote me back saying he’s removing the off-street parking and garage from the unit that was to have it.

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  • AMantonStResident

    First – How can Nakedphilly.com identify a personal IP Address? I know personally that Ori Feibush has been incorrect on many occasions when trolling his blog and identifying IP addresses as individuals. This is a complete assumption and I can’t believe Ori’s lawyer is stupid enough to include it as evidence.

    Second – The house Ori wants to build, and the homes he has already built on this section of S. 20th Street, are obnoxious. The ones already built are branded bright green, across the street from the OCF Cafe with bright green everything everywhere, which often has his mini cooper that is wrapped in OCF branding parked on the sidewalk out front- clearly a visual statement that THIS IS ORI’s DOMAIN. Well, frankly – IT IS NOT.

    As a resident of the 1900 block of Manton Street I support this resident’s opposition to Ori’s dream home, and have personally witnessed the defamation of character of sooo many individuals by Ori Feibush, that I feel this is the most hypocritical law suit I have ever seen in the City of Philadelphia.

    Furthermore the only reason I will not put my personal name on this comment is simply because of the threat Ori makes on anyone against him and his projects.

    Lastly, Ori sent out flyers on June 23rd 2013 which asked residents to come out to the zoning meeting, and signed it Jonathan Adler (owner of Beauty Shop cafe). It stated that Jonathan had personal projects that were going to zoning and to please come out and support. The lies just go deeper with this guy and his antics of childish behavior.

    • Christopher Sawyer

      I just checked the zoning archive. Johnathan Adler did have a project going to zoning.

      • AMantonStResident

        “Projects” is not the same as a project. And he is the editor of NakedPhilly, so naturally, his flyer was designed to bring out support for Ori too. Regardless, neither of these two are Point Breeze residents! Although they constantly portray themselves as such at zoning and community mtgs.

        • Christopher Sawyer

          Is there a prerequisite that someone going to Zoning must be a resident before they can put permits across the counter to L&I, see them refused, and then go through the Zoning process to see whether sufficient hardship exists to warrant a variance?

          • South Bucknell

            I think the actionable appeal for OCF [and for some confusing reason now all construction in Point Breeze?] is less “you aren’t following the rules” and more “you aren’t acting in good faith”. From my experience in the neighborhood (2007-2011), I have formed the opinion that OCF did not act in good faith with the neighborhood regarding the intent of development.

            Is OCF obligated to do anything but follow the law? Of course not. Conversely, no one is obligated to pretend they’re nice guys, that Ori is “fixing up the neighborhood”, or doing anything other than making a veritable cheap buck at the expense of an historically under-represented and impoverished community. If someone wants to call him names, good for them.

            Hopefully Haley has a bankroll like Ori’s and can smack him back for frivolous litigation.

        • JonAdler

          As much as it pains me to respond to someone trolling anonymously on the Internet, I should probably defend myself.

          1) I do indeed have personal projects going before the ZBA this month. I’ve proposed two homes on Titan Street, which I guess could be considered as single project or two different projects. Kind of a matter of semantics.

          2) I personally flyered surrounding blocks as required by Bill 120889, which amended the new zoning code and requires notification of near neighbors of a proposed project in anticipation of a community meeting. These flyers were not intended curry support for this or any other project, they were simply distributed as a means of notification.

          3) Ori has no stake or role in my Titan Street project. He had no role whatsoever in flyering for this project.

          4) It occurs to me that you might be referring to an email that I sent out to several PB residents on the day of the SPHINC meeting, providing an agenda and suggesting that several projects would likely be facing opposition. In that email, I didn’t refer to any specific project, but simply asked people to attend and bring their neighbors.

          5) It’s accurate that I’ve attended several Point Breeze zoning meetings, but I have spoken at exactly one meeting, which was the SPHINC meeting on June 24th where I presented my project(s). If silently sitting in a room and taking occasional notes during a zoning or community meeting means I’ve portrayed myself as a PB resident, then I suppose I have. Otherwise…

          Whoever you are, resident of the 1900 block of Manton Street, I have no beef with you. I’d just ask that you please get your facts in order and not bring my name into a situation in which I’m uninvolved.

    • Ori Feibush

      Tyler Westnedge? IP 69.249.204.136 Nah……

      • http://atmediadesign.com Tyler Westnedge

        Ori please stop sending me cry baby emails every time someone comments about you. The above comment was not me, please stop your “false claims”. I have no reason to hide my identity, and have never in the past, nor do I care about this bullshit.

        • Ori Feibush

          It’s your IP address my dear friend. Either you or the wife. You’re both wonderful in my book either way.

          • http://atmediadesign.com Tyler Westnedge

            like i said, it’s not me. maybe you should ask her, or the other 8 people using the same IP address. you are the one hiding behind a blog – it would be less hypocritical if it were named nakedfeibush.com & not nakedphilly.com

          • Michael Penn

            Typical Christopher Sawyer move by posting a persons name and I.P as a way to show power over someone in a passive agressive way. Complete asses.

          • Christopher Sawyer

            Are you bitter much, Mr. Prissy Pants? I’m not posting people’s IP shit, it’s no secret Ori can see validated Disqus accounts over on NakedPhilly and deduce who is commenting by their screen names–and I’ve only had Disqus on this site for 3 weeks. I can just as easily go back to force Facebook comments on this site which is what I had on here for a full year so you’ll be forced to at least tie back to something a bit more meaty than just “guest”.

          • Michael Penn

            I believe I’m one of the few people who remember you doing the same exact thing when you were a mod on PhillyBlog. You use this tactic as a form of intimidation.

          • Christopher Sawyer

            You remember I used it against a troll who constantly bumped a thread for two years. And the forum you speak of collapsed and died thanks to being overrun by trolls shortly afterwards, as well as owner neglect. Don’t play dumb.

          • South Bucknell

            Pardon me for changing the subject Chris, but I am curious — how did Ori gain access to an anonymous comment’s IP address?

            Is this a feature available constantly to all Disqus moderators on all Disqus comment boards, or did you provide him with the information?

          • Christopher Sawyer

            It wasn’t anonymous.

          • South Bucknell

            Can I assume that this handle posted on a site Ori moderates and that he gained the IP address in that manner? Would it be possible to use third party tracking software as Tyler suggests?

            I can assume that you did not provide him with that information or other information about users, correct? I apologize if this seems accusatory — I only speak in the interest of transparency and general curiosity as to how Disqus works.

          • http://atmediadesign.com Tyler Westnedge

            I believe the guest is referring to Ori tracking IP addresses on this blog, like he did and “falsely claimed” it was me above. He is not the moderator of this blog is he? Disqus does not give any user this information, only the moderators. He obviously enjoys tracking peoples IP addresses in his downtime, and is most likely using a third party to do so.

      • South Bucknell

        Disquis provides IP addresses for all of its users’ posts?

        Ori — I know you’re big on transparency, but is [possibly inaccurately] doxxing critics going to lend credence to anything other than the idea that you’re an peremptory, rich crybaby with no regard for neighborhood feedback? It’s a question I ask myself that you may want to consider. Shabbot Shalom.

  • Cold Coffee

    I personally find the OCF invasion of Point Breeze to be a less than subtle coup more than a neighborhood revitalization. If he wanted to make the neighborhood a better place there are plenty of other ways than putting in a crappy coffee shop, lining up zoning variances to build a personal mansion across the street and suing residents who call him out on his completely hypocritical nonsense.

    Please, stick to the symphony house. The Starbucks across the street has better coffee anyway.

    • http://atmediadesign.com Tyler Westnedge

      hahahaha

  • Cold Coffee

    Haha vintage Ori, crying because he’s getting called on his crap and trying to intimidate someone who lives IN Point Breeze with baseless scare tactics.

    Sissy.

    • spijim

      Watch what you say. You might get a cease and desist letter.

      • Guest

        I would never do that Jim Resta.

        • spijim

          Of course you wouldn’t Ori Feibush.

        • Christopher Sawyer

          Oh Lord

  • spijim

    The letter and this blog post is nothing more than an attempt at intimidation – and poorly contrived at that. Hopefully she lawyers up. What’s alleged is all hyperbole, opinion and petty name-calling. None of those things will hold up in a defamation case. On the other hand, publicly calling someone a liar (or having a surrogate do it for you) and putting forth alleged “facts” to prove it could land you on the other side of that defamation claim if your allegations turn out to be . . . false.

    • Christopher Sawyer

      I think the fact that Ori Feibush sent a cease and desist letter claiming defamation is important enough to reprint here. The best defense against a defamation claim is the truth, or that the speech was opinion (not necessarily fact), parody/comedy or the intention that the speech was fiction should be obvious to a normal person.

      Ori is claiming that what was written/said from Haley contains baseless falsities. Is Haley’s speech factual? If so, are her comments truthful or do they contain falsities? If Ori introduces evidence that shows that Haley misrepresented facts or failed to correct error, plus also did so with malice (“greedy, shady developer??”), her lawyer might have trouble processing this.

      Yours truly receives many defamation suit threats. That’s precisely why I publish mainly from public records as much as I can, and usually my subjects refuse to talk if they’re not going to be portrayed in a positive light, so I put the source documents out for you to look at, and then I editorialize off of them.

      Granted, I have not made an effort to go out and collect the statements Haley has written. I don’t have the time and couldn’t be bothered. But if a defamation suit DOES result out of this, and should it appear in my eyes to be a meritless defamation suit, I’ll be more than happy to characterize Ori as a SLAPP filer.

      Besides, if this goes to court, everything Haley’s written will be introduced into evidence and I’ll be writing about such a court case on here.

      There is a reason why my blog is called “The Underbelly of Philadelphia Real Estate”. This is the reason.

  • bicker

    Haley bought on Annin in 2006 for 183K

  • DisgustedByScareTactics

    Haley has a right to her opinion that the projects would “destroy the character of the community”. I don’t understand how those statements can be false claims when they are a matter of a resident’s personal opinion. “Destroy” is negatively connotative, sure.. just the same that any claim saying the projects would “improve” the community would be positively connotative and would also be opinion.. the fact is that the projects do change the character of the community– being lime green they certainly do! How is this any different from when nakedphilly.com (a public, heavily trafficked blog – not an ‘email to nearby residents’) published an article calling a grocery store’s signage “horrifically ugly”??? Also an opinion.

    And I’d love to know exactly how Haley went about emailing all of the “residents of South 20th Street”. I didn’t realize that personal email addresses were public knowledge. Right, they’re not.. so that seems pretty invalid as well and more likely that she already had a personal relationship with the people she emailed. Her asking others to support in her protest seems no different to me than flyers & e-mails that we would receive urging support of the project. It’s one person’s views against another’s… and as a resident of this specific community I personally would love to hear what other fellow residents’ opinions are.

    the fact that he immediately listed someone’s full name below to associate him with a comment that Ori was NOT 100% sure was his is exactly what he’s accusing Haley of doing.. false claims.

    This whole thing to me just makes Ori Feibush come off as someone who supports scare tactics so that anyone who might oppose him personally or his projects are too afraid to speak their mind in opposition. That’s utterly disgusting.

    • http://atmediadesign.com Tyler Westnedge

      exactly!

    • South Bucknell

      “This whole thing to me just makes Ori Feibush come off as someone who supports scare tactics so that anyone who might oppose him personally or his projects are too afraid to speak their mind in opposition. That’s utterly disgusting.”

      That is a salient point.

  • Christopher Sawyer

    Since the ZBA’s decision is due today, I’ve switched Anonymous commenting off. It will stay that way for a while. Grow some balls and post with your real identity for a change.