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.