ROUGH JUSTICE: City Takes Down The Cupcake Lady


DAILY NEWS: For a year now, the Buttercream Cupcake Lady has happily trucked around Philadelphia, soothing the sweet teeth of her adoring public at locations she announces in advance through social networks – until yesterday. As soon as the Cupcake Lady pulled to a stop on Market Street near 33rd at high noon, “business-compliance” enforcers and Philadelphia police pounced, confiscating her fully loaded truck. “Three enforcement guys came out with badges blazing,” said Kate Carrara aka Cupcake Lady. “Scared the crap out of me. The three cops with them were looking at me like, ‘We can’t believe we’re doing this.’  “And I’m like, there’s crack deals a block away and three cops are surrounding the Cupcake Lady? I mean, really?” MORE

INQUIRER: It was indeed the city’s Department of Licenses and Inspections. Carrara provided a copy of L&I’s “Report of Removal,” with the violation described as “Vending in a prohibited area.” She said three officials from L&I’s Business Compliance Unit drove up to her truck around noon and blocked her from leaving. One of the officials then drove off with her truck, she said. “Don’t worry, I’m a very good driver,” the man said, Carrara recalled. “I’ve done this before.” They left her to walk home, she said. MORE

RELATED: A Philadelphia Department of Licenses and Inspection inspector was indicted today on federal extortion charges for allegedly using his position to thwart the sale of a commercial property he wanted to buy to anyone but himself. The U.S. Attorney’s Office said the indictment charges Kenneth Gassman, 45, with instigating a campaign of official harassment in an effort for force the owner of the property on the 2500 block of East Thompson Street in Port Richmond to sell to him. The owner had rejected to offers made by Gassman, who owns other properties in and around the Fishtown section, officials said. The indictment alleges that when the owner refused to sell, Gassman got other L&I inspectors to inspect the property and issue violations, including a bogus violation for operating an unlicensed auto repair business. Gassman also allegedly vandalized the property, removed for sale signs, and used aliases to contact the city’s 311 system with complaints that the property was unsafe. MORE

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