I hate writing about contractors. Out of all the people that issue ridiculous threats to me, it’s mainly from the scum of the earth dirtball contractors and their subs that wanna get closer to “real”. So, I don’t write about them unless their shit gets way over the top to the point where more than 20 people are pissed off. I can handle lawsuits, I attract lawsuit threats like a glue trap. In the world of construction though it’s filled with stupid mooks who didn’t get far in life past their stint in Catholic school.
But that’s not the case here.
Griffin Campbell, the contractor who caused the Market Street building collapse was sentenced today to 15-30 years in prison.
The judge was not kind. He stacked the sentences for each one of the fatalities and injuries consecutively. This means tomorrow morning he will be put on a bus and sent to SCI Graterford or another lockup upstate, far away from Philly.
Campbell is of course only one small piece in a tapestry of failures that led to the tragedy on Market Street. The primary culprit is of course the guy who ordered the cheapskate demolition in the first place, property owner Richard Basciano and his holding entity STB Investments.
Basciano is among the worst of blightlord-sleaze in this country. He acquired his Market Street parcels from the estate of Samuel Rappaport, another notorious (and infamous) Center City blightlord. With cowboy hat and loud beltbuckle, Rappaport wined and dined Philly pols, sent cash in envelopes to city officials and employees while he scooped up real estate from under their noses. Even after Rappaport died his property management skills still managed to terrorize Philly residents. One of them was a parking garage off Pine Street with a dodgy facade that partially collapsed and killed Common Pleas judge Berel Cesar. It’s only fitting that Basciano entered the picture to continue the Rappaport property management model.
Immediately after the Market Street collapse Basciano went into hiding in his Symphony House pad. He had good reason: the survivors of the victims soon discovered that Basciano was at the property site during the collapse, personally overseeing the work.
Basciano is getting a come-uppance that the criminal justice system is unable to provide. STB Investments and Basciano are currently deluged with the perfect shitstorm of personal injury and liability lawsuits.
One of the new civil cases filed against Basciano comes from Liberty Bar and Grill and its former proprietor, Michael Kenish. In that complaint, Kenish states that debris from the collapse damaged and forced the closure of his business. He is seeking restitution to be made whole on lost income from unplanned street closures.
Basciano himself is up there in age. That photo of him I put on this thread is from at least ten years ago, back when he was lauding over an article about himself for riding the porn wave of New York’s Times Square’s former heyday of sleaze to its current Madison Avenue/Disneyplex commercialdom it is today, and the revaluations of real estate values that came along with it and made him the “porn king”.
While Basciano might feel proud of what he did with his New York portfolio, he will go to his grave as a murderer here in Philly. He murdered those people, each and every one of them.
I really hope Richard has something planned for his internment—like cremation or a burial deep inside of a tomb. If it’s just a grave and a headstone I think that’s a perfect place to set up a remote memorial for what he’s done to our city, to the victim’s families, and the scars he will leave behind after he is dead.
Today Griffin Campbell is going to state lockup to cover for Richard’s crimes. That is wrong. That isn’t justice. No one is celebrating this. It is Basciano who needs to be put away.
For now we will have to settle with the satisfaction that there are well over a dozen law firms who can smell his money for miles away and want every stinking cent of it right now and long after he is dead. Whoever gets the hot potato of dealing with Basciano’s estate after he finally croaks is going to be getting a tsunami of court notices in the mail. I wonder who wants to inherit that headache.
Let that be a lesson for you cheap bastards who cut corners and make others pay for it with their lives.Tags: Griffin Campbell | Plato Marinakos | Richard Basciano | Sean Benschop | STB Investments | The worst blightlords ever