PBT Transcript (6/24/2008)

MARIA PANARITIS: Coming up: Wooing back customers the wrong way. But what does a recent FCC ruling on Verizon mean for you? Find out.  And, breathing new life into an architectural gem in Philly. Hear who’s moving into Strawbridge’s. Plus, paying off primary debt; we’ll tell you how much the Clinton camp owes the Keystone State. Philadelphia Business Today starts now.


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MARIA PANARITIS:    Comcast has scored a victory against Verizon. The phone company can no longer try to woo back customers trying to leave for cable phone service. Says who? The FCC. Federal regulators have agreed with a bunch of cable companies, including Comcast, that Verizon was in the wrong for trying to keep customers from defecting to its cable rivals. Verizon’s program worked like this: A Verizon customer would sign up for cable phone service; the cable company would notify Verizon to transfer the phone number; and Verizon would -bombard the soon-to-be-departed  customer with aggressive incentives to stay. According to the FCC, that’s a no-no. It violates standards, the commission said. But that troubles FCC chief Kevin Martin, who cast the sole dissenting vote in favor of Verizon, stating that the ban could thwart competition.

 

Gimbels. Lit Bros. Snellenberg's. Strawbridge’s. Wanamaker’s. Names that once made Market East a department store wonderland. Blue chip retailers who vanished in the age of big box shopping. But developers say they’re ready to breathe life into one of the grand old Center City buildings from that era. Three floors of the old Strawbridge and Clothier at 8th and Market are being converted into office space, including the stunning old Corinthian Room Restaurant, a Strawbridge’s landmark. The deal announced today means contractors will have to move delicately to rehab the space. Strawbridge’s is a certified historic building, loaded with ornate touches from the turn of the century and the Roaring Twenties. The Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust is leasing out three floors of the building to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia retail developer says it’s hired a historic preservation consultant and a top-notch contractor. The state is moving most of its workers into Strawbridge’s and out of their digs at Broad and Spring Garden by next summer.

 

Hillary Clinton owes Pennsylvanians big-time for her blowout win during the April primary. No, she really owes them. Almost a quarter of a million dollars, in fact. Campaign finance records show Clinton has one heck of a tab in the Keystone State. She owes $231,000 to everyone from regular folks to colleges. There’s the $38,000 she owes an audio/visual firm, $24,000 that belongs to the University of Pennsylvania, $15,000 to pay off a Temple University bill. She also five-and-ten-thousand dollar chunks to mom and pop shops who picked up the tab during her campaign stops. No one is saying Senator Clinton won’t make good on the loans. The York Police Department has already received payment for overtime police coverage. But her campaign debt is in the millions nationally. By the way, the man who lost the Pennsylvania primary, Barack Obama? He owes the state, too, it seems. The total? Six hundred and twelve big ones.

 

At the Inquirer, I’m Maria Panaritis for Philadelphia Business Today.

 


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