City controller subpoenas L&I records
City Controller Alan Butkovitz issued a subpoena Wednesday for five years' worth of city demolition records, repeating allegations that the Nutter administration was trying to undermine his audit of city demolition practices.
The Nutter administration insisted that it was trying to cooperate with Butkovitz and accused him of grandstanding to benefit his reelection bid in November and a possible campaign for mayor in 2015.
"Mr. Butkovitz has a serious case of political showboating and his little rowboat is now leaking water pretty badly," said Mark McDonald, Mayor Nutter's spokesman.
"At this point all Mr. Butkovitz needs to do is send one or more of his people over to [Licenses & Inspections Commissioner] Carlton Williams and find out how best to get all the remaining information they need," he said. "Maybe if he wants to take an intermission from his political theater and sit down with us, we can move this ball along a little bit."
After six people died in a Center City building collapse June 5, Nutter announced immediate plans to strengthen the city's demolition inspections and visit more than 300 sites with active demolition permits.
Butkovitz announced in July that he would audit the situation. Last week, he complained that the administration was "stonewalling" various requests for L&I data.
He followed up Wednesday with a subpoena seeking four specific sets of records: inspection reports for the 300-plus sites that L&I says it visited between June 5 and 12; a list of the employees and supervisors who conducted those inspections; copies of any L&I databases, including demolition records from 2009 to date; and copies of any inspection reports that are not included in the databases.
Rebecca Swanson, a spokeswoman for L&I, said the department had already turned over a list of 442 sites with active demolition permits that were inspected by L&I in the week after the building collapse.
The vast majority were demolitions that had been completed but left open in L&I's computer system, she said. The visits led to brief notations in the computer system but no inspection reports, she said.
The controller directed Williams to report to his office at 11 a.m. Oct. 7, prepared to testify, and to bring the requested documents.
For now, Butkovitz has dropped a threat he made last week to suspend paychecks for L&I officials if they did not cooperate with his investigation. But he predicted Wednesday that the dispute would wind up in court.