The dump profiled in last week's issue.
Last week we profiled the struggle between a Point Breeze resident and a contractor who was dumping on land next door owned in part by Claudia Sherrod, executive director of the civic group South Philadelphia HOMES, Inc. Sherrod claimed to be against the dump. But she struggled to explain why she had been unable to stop it. Then, just before we went to press, she publicly announced her resignation.
She leaves many unanswered questions, including about a series of real-estate transactions connected to her nonprofit.
City records indicate that the board of SPH voted in 2008 to transfer ownership of its headquarters at 1444 Point Breeze Ave. to Sherrod and her husband, Roy, at no cost. According to an SPH document, the move was to “give the building back into the hands of the person who gave the building to SPH” and indicates that SPH would rent from Sherrod. The problem? That property had actually been given to SPH by the Philly Redevelopment Authority (PRA) for $1 just five years earlier. Sherrod’s explanation was that she had shouldered $45,000 in renovation costs and “was requested by [the PRA] to put the building in my name.” Paul Chrystie, spokesman for the PRA, contradicted that: “Neither the City nor PRA seek to have an executive director take ownership [of properties given to civic groups], and did not seek that in this specific instance.”
While it is not illegal for SPH to give her a building, now valued at around $155,000, that it received from the city for free, it is certainly curious. SPH now spends $5,000 a year on rent, according to their financial disclosures. Sherrod would not confirm whether this money is paid to her directly.
For additional background, read the original blog post.
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