Assault on black Philadelphia? Councilwoman defends State Rep. Dwight Evans

Days after the Inquirer reported that the nonprofit founded by State Rep. Dwight Evans allegedly misspent $12 million in state grants, City Councilwoman Marian Tasco, his political ally defended him today and slammed the article.

Tasco delivered a lengthy speech at the end of Council's weekly session, at times quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

"If you look beyond the deliberately misleading headline and the numerous inferences and innuendos, there is not much 'there' to their story. They reduced 30 years of Dwight Evans' hard work to revitalize this formally blighted community to a headline of indictments."

"If he were a white legislator and this was a white neighborhood, the Inquirer's headline would read, 'Committed State Legislator turns Neighborhood around after 30 years of hard work."

Evans, the former chair of the House Appropriations Committee founded the Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corporation, a nonprofit that's under seige, and charged with misusing public dollars.

Tasco said "he was arguably one of the most powerful state legislators in the Commonwealth," adding that Gov. Corbett's audit into the nonprofit is an attempt to win reelection.

She said Evans helped to revitalized impoverished minority neighborhoods and that Philadelphians benefitted from the appropriations decisions Evans made. Councilwomen Maria Quinones-Sanchez and Cindy Bass echoed similar sentiments.

"A confluence of shortsightedness, petty jealousies and animus lead to his tumble from the top perch of Appropiations Chair," Tasco said.