SAME AS IT EVER WAS: Neil Stein Spotted Walking Towards Rittenhouse Square & Looking FABULOUS!

Stein, 65, said that he wanted to create a high-end, boutique hotel called Wow with computers and flat-screen televisions in every room, with a bistro, rooftop club, limo service, Philadelphia’s best spa, and – in place of a check-in desk – a concierge service to escort guests to their rooms. Or he’d try franchising Rouge, the bistro he created on Rittenhouse Square, perhaps opening versions in Miami Beach or the Georgetown section of Washington. Or develop a rehab center for alcohol and drug addicts in Center City; he’s a recovering addict. He said he had even given some thought to opening an employment agency for ex-inmates. “I’ve never felt this good in my entire life, believe it or not, physically or mentally,” he told reporters. Stein was let out of the Federal Correctional Institution in Schuylkill County Friday at noon, after serving 10 months and 10 days of a year-and-a-day sentence. His crime, to which he pleaded guilty in 2005, was failing to pay taxes on $500,000 he had skimmed from his restaurant empire, which once included Striped Bass, Avenue B and Fishmarket.

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