Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

City paid utilities for connected owner's second business

Last month, we reported that Philadelphia taxpayers paid years of utility bills for a private business. Now, we have found that the city paid utilities for another business owned by the same politically-connected man.

City paid utilities for connected owner's second business

Michael Karloutsos says he didn´t pay for utilities at Water Works Restaurant or Boathouse Row Café because he never received a bill.
Michael Karloutsos says he didn't pay for utilities at Water Works Restaurant or Boathouse Row Café because he never received a bill. Ed Hille / Staff Photographer

Last month, we reported that Philadelphia taxpayers paid years of utility bills for a private business. Now, we have found that the city paid utilities for another business owned by the same politically-connected man.

Check out the article, which appeared in the Daily News, below. You can also listen to the story on WHYY.

SOME PEOPLE have all the luck.
In May, It's Our Money reported that taxpayers covered hundreds of thousands of dollars in utility bills for Water Works Restaurant & Lounge, a private business owned by the politically connected Michael Karloutsos.
Now, It's Our Money has found that taxpayers also paid for utilities used by Boathouse Row Café, another business owned by Karloutsos. He leased space in city-owned Lloyd Hall, which he shared with the Parks and Recreation Department. From 2006 to 2010, the city paid for the cafe's electricity, gas and water.
Visitors at Lloyd Hall, which is a few hundred feet away from the Water Works Restaurant, can play basketball and take in a gorgeous view of the Schuylkill. Boathouse Row Café served sandwiches and coffee there.
Mark Focht, Parks and Recreation's first deputy commissioner, says he won't be able to estimate how much utilities cost at the café until he receives more data from utility providers.
Focht says "as far our staff knows," the city isn't paying for other for-profit businesses' utilities, with the exception of an "occasional electric hook-up for the food trucks in LOVE Park" — the cost of which, he says, is impossible to measure.

Some people have all the luck.

In May, It's Our Money reported that taxpayers covered hundreds of thousands of dollars in utility bills for Water Works Restaurant & Lounge, a private business owned by the politically connected Michael Karloutsos.

Now, It's Our Money has found that taxpayers also paid for utilities used by Boathouse Row Café, another business owned by Karloutsos. He leased space in city-owned Lloyd Hall, which he shared with the Parks and Recreation Department. From 2006 to 2010, the city paid for the cafe's electricity, gas and water.

Visitors at Lloyd Hall, which is a few hundred feet away from the Water Works Restaurant, can play basketball and take in a gorgeous view of the Schuylkill. Boathouse Row Café served sandwiches and coffee there.

Mark Focht, Parks and Recreation's first deputy commissioner, says he won't be able to estimate how much utilities cost at the café until he receives more data from utility providers.

Focht says "as far our staff knows," the city isn't paying for other for-profit businesses' utilities, with the exception of an "occasional electric hook-up for the food trucks in LOVE Park" — the cost of which, he says, is impossible to measure.

Continue reading the story.

About this blog
Every year, city government spends slightly more than $4 billion. Where does all that money come from? More importantly, where does it go? Are we getting the most bang for our tax buck? “It's Our Money” is a joint project between Philadelphia Daily News and WHYY, funded by the William Penn Foundation, designed to answer these questions.

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