A federal racketeering complaint accuses high-ranking Philadelphia code-enforcement officials of looting the residences of elderly and disabled citizens “under the fraudulent pretenses of needing to clear the homes of various code violations.”
The scheme, carried out as part of a purported anti-blight initiative called the Community Life Improvement Program (CLIP), “has so far resulted in at least nine felony convictions” on charges that include perjury, theft and gun running, according to Steven Tengood, a longtime civilian worker in the Armed Forces who says the home he’s lived in for nearly 45 years was plundered by CLIP workers.
Tengood, 62, says one of the stolen guns was later used in a homicide.
He says he was forced to put his 96-year-old mother in a nursing home, because as a holocaust survivor, she was disturbed “by the continual presence of City officials serving additional notices and bills [related to supposed property-code violations], and removing items from the exterior” of his home, according to the 60-page complaint.
Tengood says that when he tried to appeal the bogus violations through the city’s administrative review process, a deputy city solicitor “willfully supported defendants inspectors’ underlying plan to rob Mr. Tengood” and baselessly accused him of being a “hoarder.”
Accusing CLIP crews of committing a city-funded “crime wave” of “break-ins and thefts,” a Grand Jury in 2009 found that the crews “didn’t simply pocket stray knickknacks. They drove trucks to the houses and took everything …
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