Monday, September 1, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

City Hall Corruption Trial Focuses On Pricey Apartment

The opening testimony in the federal corruption trial of Chris Wright, City Councilman Jack Kelly's former chief of staff and four of his political allies, has focused on allegations that Wright was bribed in part with a rent-free apartment and parking space near Rittenhouse square. Prosecutors say that was worth more than $15,000.

City Hall Corruption Trial Focuses On Pricey Apartment

The opening testimony in the federal corruption trial of Chris Wright, City Councilman Jack Kelly's former chief of staff and four of his political allies, has focused on allegations that Wright was bribed in part with a rent-free apartment and parking space near Rittenhouse square.  Prosecutors say that was worth more than $15,000.

The building was one of one of nine buildings Ravinder Chawla had a contract to buy in 2006. He “flipped” those properties at the last minute to another company, taking a profit as the middleman in the deal.  Before that happened, prosecutors say, Chawla and his attorney, Andrew Teitelman, struck a deal with the owner to let Wright move in to the building.

Defense attorneys claim the apartment was “a dump” with no heat and a rodent problem.  And they insist Chawla never owned the building.  Prosecutors call it a “very livable apartment in a premiere neighborhood” of the city. They're trying to show that Chawla had some control of the property for a crucial period when Wright moved in.

The new owner sued Wright for living there without paying rent. Teitelman’s law firm represented Wright in that legal action.  So far, we've heard from the guy who sold the property, his property manager, his attorney and the investor who ultimately bought the building.

About this blog
Chris Brennan, a native Philadelphian and graduate of Temple University, joined the Daily News in 1999. He has written about SEPTA, the Philadelphia School District, the legalization of casino gambling, state government, the mayor, the governor, City Council and political campaigns. E-mail tips to brennac@phillynews.com
 Follow Chris on Twitter

Jenny DeHuff is a 2005 graduate of the University of Rhode Island, where she cut her teeth in journalism. A South Philly transplant from New England, she joined the Daily News City Hall Bureau in 2013. For the past several years, she has worked as an investigative reporter exposing corruption in suburban politics, covering sometimes ghastly criminal court cases and following the people’s money and how its spent. In addition to being a dogged news hound, she enjoys reading and writing about travel, animals, Irish whiskey and aviation. E-mail tips to dehuffj@phillynews.com
 Follow Jenny on Twitter.

Sean Collins Walsh is from Bucks County and went to Northwestern University. He joined the Daily News copy desk in 2012 and now covers the Nutter administration. Before that, he interned at papers including The New York Times, The Dallas Morning News and The Seattle Times. E-mail tips to walshSE@phillynews.com
 Follow Sean on Twitter

PhillyClout Team
Also on Philly.com
Stay Connected