Thursday, December 18, 2014

Archive: November, 2012

POSTED: Friday, November 16, 2012, 11:25 AM

UPDATE: Horan settled with Berkadia in the spring of 2013 without the damages he sought, and without being reinstated, according to people familiar with the dispute. The Labor Department took no action against the company.

EARLIER: James B. Horan, who has managed multi-million-dollar commercial real estate loans and workouts for office, apartment and industrial buildings at GMAC Commercial Mortgage, PNC Bank and other financial giants since the late 1980s, has filed a federal Labor Department complaint alleging illegal retaliation by his most recent employer, Horsham-based Berkadia Commercial Mortgage.

Horan says he warned his supervisor about improper fees charged to a Berkadia client and separately found problems with a property in which a client wanted to invest, but was prevented by management from telling the client his findings, and had his work taken away.

POSTED: Friday, November 16, 2012, 8:19 AM

After a decade of bankruptcies and fights with its Teamster drivers and Bakery, Tobacco and Confectionery plant workers, the current bosses at Hostess Brands say they are shutting down their bakery in Northeast Philadelphia, laying off 300 workers; closing distribution centers in King of Prussia, Wilmington, and South Jersey; laying off 18,500 in closing all bakeries and warehouses nationwide; and seeking a bankruptcy liquidation sale.

Who are the likely buyers of Twinkies, Hostess cupcakes, Drake's Cakes, Wonder Bread, Ring Dings, and dozens more iconic fatty snack brands?

Sales of many of these products have been slipping for years; in their efforts to shore up profits, Hostess and predecessor Interstate Bakeries have been unable to convince union workers to give up pensions and other pay and benefits. 

POSTED: Tuesday, November 13, 2012, 5:59 PM

Testifying before a state Senate committee, David Unkovic, the veteran lawmaker who quit as Gov. Corbett's Harrisburg city receiver in protest over the political-banking establishment's attempts to manipulate the city's finances, laid out a plan he says would keep PA cities from going way over their heads in debt, like Harrisburg did, to the profit of professionals, and the loss of taxpayers.

Mark Schwartz, former lawyer for the City Council, which resisted the state takeover, carps that Unkovic might better have made the case when he was still receiver; Unkovic's successor has taken steps to implement a state-backed plan to sell city assets.

Will the state act on Unkovic's recommendations? His full testimony here:

POSTED: Monday, November 12, 2012, 8:39 AM

From my column in Sunday's Inquirer:

In their push to attract pro-Israel votes and dollars, Republicans made inroads this year, drawing many millions in aid from global gambling magnate Sheldon Adelson and other business and professional leaders who are Israel backers, and winning a boost in the Jewish vote for the Republican Presidential nominee to about 30 percent, from 22 percent four years ago.

In itself, the long GOP effort to tear Jewish voters away from the creaky old Democratic coalition has made progress, just like the party's appeal to urban Catholics began to succeed back in Nixon's day.

POSTED: Monday, November 12, 2012, 8:28 AM

While Washington is transfixed by Gen. Petraeus' girlfriend/s, and speculating why Rep. Eric Kantor (R-Va.) knew the FBI was probing the CIA boss before the Presidential election, but Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) didn't, the world moves on. China, for example:

Some accounts of the China power struggle are nuclear-war scary. "Conservatives appear poised to dominate, [as] reform-minded" leaders have been bypassed, wrote Shi Jiangtao in the South China Morning Post, describing how retired party chief Jiang Zemin, 86, is outman- euvering lame-duck leader Hu Jintao to put his elderly proteges in power.

 "The forces of reaction and economic folly threaten to prevail in China," warned the British newspaper the Telegraph, adding that the gang gaining power wants to put the United States "in an impossible position" by seizing islands and oil zones from U.S. allies in Japan and Taiwan and forcing America toward an abrupt war.

POSTED: Friday, November 9, 2012, 2:33 PM
Whole Foods

Neal Rodin's International Finance Company (IFC), the developer who told my colleague Maria Panaritis he plans to build a $100 million Whole Foods supermarket and apartment complex somewhere near the chain's smaller Art Museum-area location, has been circulating a plan to do just that on the 2.9-acre site occupied by the Best Western motel, between 21st and 22nd at Spring Garden, since July.

A copy of IFC's plan calls for construction on "almost a full square block," including a "luxury residential midrise containing between 250-300 apartments," offering tenants "unobstructed views of Center City Philadelphia, the Ben Franklin Parkway, and Fairmount Park."

A drawing submitted as part of the proposal shows underground parking, a lounge/cafe, and retail spaces at 50,000, 30,000, 11,000, 9,000 and 5,000 square feet.

POSTED: Friday, November 9, 2012, 12:40 PM

James J. "Jamie" Maguire Jr. will step down as chief executive of Philadelphia Insurance Cos. in favor of his cousin, company president and chief operating officer Sean S. Sweeney, the Japanese-owned company said today.

Maguire will remain as chairman of the board of the company his father founded in 1962 "and continue to support Sean and the company from this position," said spokesman Bill Procopio.

"I can think of no one better than Sean" for the job, said Maguire, in a statement. 

POSTED: Friday, November 9, 2012, 12:32 PM

The Philadelphia Parking Authority has signed a 25-year lease on 77,000 sq ft of office space at 701 Market St., the former Lit Bros. department store (now known as Mellon Independence Center,) according to PPA's lawyer in the deal, Jay S. Ruder of Archer & Greiner P.C. 800 workers will move from current quarters in the Bulletin building next fall.

The deal is valued at $46 million over the life of the lease, with 30 years of renewal options. PPA will take floors 4 and 5, at $19 a square foot in the first year of the lease, plus part of the sub-basement, for coin-counting, at $10.05/sq ft. "We're in a real estate depression so we were able to lock in a good rent," and there's room to expand, said PPA spokesman Richard Dixon. 

Ruder negotiated the deal "in a week," working with PPA broker Tactix Real Estate Advisors LLC, after talks with PREIT's 801 Market St. (home to the Inquirer, among others) ended in favor of another prospective tenant there.

About this blog

PhillyDeals posts raw drafts and updates of Joseph N. DiStefano's columns and stories about Philly-area finance, investment, commercial real estate, tech, hiring and public spending, which he's been writing since 1989, mostly for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

DiStefano studied economics, history and a little engineering at Penn, taught writing at St. Joe's, and has written the book Comcasted, more than a thousand columns, and thousands of articles, and raised six children with his wife, who is a saint.

Reach Joseph N. at or 215 854 5194.

Joseph N. DiStefano
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