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COUNCILMAN: Contractors on Fatal Philly Demolition Were Working Off the Books


The infuriating story of the Philadelphia building collapse that union officials say could have been prevented got more infuriating yesterday when it came to light that the low-road contractor hired to do the demolition did not even have city wage tax accounts:

The two demolition contractors involved in a fatal building collapse did not have active city wage tax accounts, and appeared to be working off the books, a councilman said Wednesday.

Councilman James Kenney’s remarks came at a public hearing on the June 5 collapse, which killed six people inside an adjacent thrift store.

Kenney complained that city records about demolition contractor Griffin Campbell and subcontractor Sean Benschop have been hard to obtain due to a criminal grand jury investigation.

To get the work, Campbell’s “winning” bid came in at $130,000 when other contractors were floating figures as high as $500,000. In the end, “Campbell’s permit listed the job cost at just $10,000.”

You get what you pay for, I guess.

Also at the hearing was Pat Gillespie, President of the Philadelphia Building and Construction Trades Council. Gillespie had been out in front on the outrage suggesting his members alerted the city to the dangers of the project. At the hearing, he decried a lack of oversight in the city saying, “no one enforces anything.”


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