Tuesday, January 27, 2015

DiCicco Targets Nigro During BRT Budget Hearing

City Council's budget hearings don't just focus on who gets what and how they spend it. They can also be a forum old political grudges. Take today's hearing for the Board of Revision Taxes.

DiCicco Targets Nigro During BRT Budget Hearing

Frank DiCicco
Frank DiCicco

City Council's budget hearings don't just focus on who gets what and how they spend it. They can also be a forum for old political grudges. Take today's hearing for the Board of Revision Taxes. City Councilman Frank DiCicco had something he had to get off his chest to BRT chairwoman Charlesretta Meade about one of her board members:  Former state Supreme Court Justice Russell Nigro.

DiCicco told Meade he has received complaints from Society Hill residents who felt "slighted and insulted" by Nigro's questions during BRT hearings on their property tax appeals. DiCicco said Nigro told the residents that he'd buy their homes for cash if they really thought they were worth less than their taxes indicated. "If he was here, I would tell him to his face, it's just a terrible message," DiCicco said. "In his tone, they almost felt like they're on trial and they have to plead their innocence or else they will be found guilty."

Nigro, who was not at the hearing, later said DiCicco is still angry about a 2003 ruling on the candidacy of Vern Anastasio. The state Supreme Court voted 4-3 to remove Anastasio, who was challenging DiCicco, from the Democratic primary ballot. "Unfortunately, the councilman still can't get over the fact that I voted in the minority to allow his opponent to remain on the ballot five years ago," Nigro said. "He can't accept the fact that I was entitled to give my opinion as to what I thought was the appropriate legal conclusion to be rendered in that case."  Nigro added that he hasn't received a single letter or phone call from anyone complaining about how he conducts himself in BRT hearings.

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William Bender, a Drexel graduate who landed at the Daily News in 2007, has covered everything from South Philly mobsters to doomsday hucksters. He occasionally writes about local food trucks and always eats everything on his plate, whether it be a bloody rib eye or a corrupt politician. E-mail tips to benderw@phillynews.com
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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
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David Gambacorta, has been a reporter with the Daily News since 2005, covering crime, police corruption and all of the other bizarre things that happen in Philadelphia. Now he’s covering the 2015 mayor’s race, because he enjoys a good circus just as much as the next guy. He’s always looking to get a cup of coffee. Send news tips and other musings on life to gambacd@phillynews.com
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