NEWS CLUES: Like A Nightstick At A Pinata Party

GAMBLE & HUD: City Claims Feds Forced Discount Land Deal For Kenny Gamble

kennygamble.jpgPresident Bush’s housing czar pressured the Philadelphia housing agency┬áto transfer land worth $2 million to Kenny Gamble, the music producer turned developer, and retaliated when the agency would not knuckle under, a lawsuit says. The Philadelphia Housing Authority (PHA) says the top federal housing official, Alphonso Jackson, improperly sought to steer the land to Gamble at a big discount. In court filings, Carl Greene, PHA’s executive director, says Jackson, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, called Mayor John Street twice to lobby on Gamble’s behalf. HUD confirmed yesterday that Jackson, a friend of Gamble’s, had made the calls to Street. It denied it had in any way retaliated against the Philadelphia agency. In the federal suit, filed in December, Greene contends that HUD is threatening to impose new controls on how Philadelphia spends millions in federal housing grants as payback for Greene’s refusal to help Gamble. Greene said the federal crackdown could force PHA to lay off hundreds of workers, raise rents, and halt millions of dollars in construction work on low-income housing. [via INQUIRER]

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Anonymous Tipster Brings FBI Into Puerto Rican Party Beatdown Investigation

police_brutality01.jpgThe FBI’s Civil Rights Office is looking into the alleged beating of at least 20 people inside a Puerto Rican social club last month by Philadelphia police officers responding to a disturbance call, officials indicated yesterday. Local authorities opened an internal investigation last week into the incident at the Aces Borinca├▒os Dance Club in Kensington, but Police Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said yesterday that the FBI was also on the case. “We’re still at it,” said Ramsey. “I know the FBI has come in, and they’re going to look over it as well. We got it out there because it’s a very serious case with very serious allegations. We’re going to try to get it done as fast as we can to let the public know what’s going on.” Ramsey, who called the case “troubling,” said that he did not ask the FBI to intervene, but that he welcomed the help in the department’s first major internal investigation of alleged officer misconduct on his watch. He said the FBI apparently was alerted with a phone call. The Jan. 26 incident began when a fight broke out about 11:30 p.m. inside the club at 2120 N. Front St., where a girl’s 15th birthday was being celebrated by her family. According to police, the scuffle spilled outside, and police were flagged down. Officers called for backup when they could not control the crowd. Police attempted to get the crowd back into the club, and it was inside that the alleged assaults with police batons occurred. At least 50 officers may have been at the scene, authorities said. A set of photographs corroborated the injuries, and cell phone video may exist, police said. [via INQUIRER]

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PRETTY VACANT: Philadelphia Style Sells Out, City Trying To Care

philadelphia-style.jpgDana Spain-Smith is selling Philadelphia Style mag because she wants to devote her time and energy to her pet charity, Philadelphia Animal Welfare Society. Today, she will introduce new owner Jason Binn to her staff. New York-based Binn, 39, is the hobnobbing CEO of Niche Media LLC, which publishes such oversize glossies as Aspen Peak, Gotham, Hamptons, Los Angeles Confidential, Boston Common, and Capitol File. He is paying an undisclosed sum for DLG Media Holdings LLC, which publishes the seven-times-a-year Philly Style as well as online pubs DC Style and AC Confidential. Are you wealthy enough to read the new Style? Niche’s mags target readers with household incomes of $200,000-plus, $1 million in liquid assets, and $1 million-plus homes. Style will be no different, Binn says. [via INQLINGS]

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