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The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania • Page 1
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The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania • Page 1

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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section The Scene 2 News in brief 2 Classified 5 3 new jersey metro Saturday, June 27, 1987 DIPiero acquitted in umionfraids case Trial focused on purchases of clothes for public officials If Builders see relief on wetlands Group dissatisfied ir with state agency I sill. 1 1 I By Linda Ixyd inquirer Staff Writer Nicholas DiPiero, co-manager of the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union, was acquitted by a federal jury yesterday of charges that he had unlawfully used $18,721 in union "funds to purchase coats, suits, tuxedos and other clothing for public officials in Philadelphia. The jury, which deliberated for 10 hours over three days, found DiPiero not guilty of conspiracy and 57 counts of unlawful conversion of union funds to buy clothing from local manufacturers for the officials between 1981 and 1985. The officials included Mayor Goode, state Sen. Vincent J. Fumo, Sheriff Ralph C. Passio 3d, then-City Councilman James J. Tayoun and then-Police Commissioner Gregore J. Sambor. DiPiero, 61, showed no reaction when the jury read its verdict in U.S. District Court about 10:45 a.m. His LIS- fe-J i I ,1 1 Hl r- refill 1, 3 Nicholas DiPiero "My integrity held up" from Northeast Philadelphia. "We just felt the government's evi-, dence was not enough to convict. I was prepared to sit there for six weeks; I felt the man was not guilty." The verdict ended a two-week trial in which prosecutors portrayed DiPiero as a dishonest union boss who authorized expenditures from a special account without approval of the union's board of directors. "We thought he was a pretty decent person who got caught up in something that might not have been 100 percent kosher, but he did it with good intentions; he was not a criminal," said juror Elizabeth Wieland, a floral designer from Newtown. "I think a lot of us felt that what he and his family had gone through was enough suffering. We thought about it in a real human way how easily you could get caught up in something," Wieland said. "We basically felt he was not doing anything harmful and that he felt he was doing something good for the union." Several jurors expressed doubts about the credibility of two key government witnesses union co-manager John Fox and union secretary-treasurer Frank Pepc who had been given immunity from prosecution in exchange for their testimony. "We agreed that the government's star witness, Frank Pepe, was a complete liar," Gross said. "The immunity deal we did not go for that," said juror Robert Kramer, a dog groomer from the Fish-town section. "It stuck in everyone's minds that they Fox and Pepe were using DiPiero as a scapegoat." "My personal opinion was that they IFox and Pepel were definitely enemies of Nick DiPiero, and they both lied a lot," said juror Marie (See DIPIERO on 2-B) wife, Rose, gasped and wiped tears from her eyes. DiPiero then embraced his wife and shook hands with his sons, James and Richard, and other family members. "The happiest part," DiPiero said, was that the 12-member jury "didn't find I did anything wrong. My integrity held up. I never felt I did anything wrong. Everything I did was with good intentions to help a dying industry." Assistant U.S. Attorney Ewald Zitt-lau said he was "disappointed, but I accept the jury's verdict." Defense attorney Carmen C. Na-suti, co-counsel with A. Charles Per-uto said, "I'm glad to see that the jury was able to see the truth of the situation and reach a just and fair verdict." DiPiero, of the city's Andorra section, has been on a leave of absence from the union since shortly after he was indicted in February. He said he planned to return to his union post "as soon as I can." "I certainly plan to go back," DiPiero said in an interview after he returned home. "The first thing I'll have to do is talk to my international president and tell him of the verdict, before I can comment on when I'll be going back to work. "Now I'm home with my family, and for the first time in 20 months we're all relieved. Now I can get back to my life and start doing my work again." In interviews outside the courtroom, jurors said they had decided to acquit DiPiero of all charges because they believed that the case presented by the government had not been sufficiently strong. "There was too much reasonable doubt," said juror Gail Gross, an Internal Revenue Service control clerk By Jeff Brown Inquirer Staff Writer The trade organization representing New Jersey's builders yesterday reacted with a mixture of relief and disappointment to a compromise plan for protecting the state's freshwater wetlands. But the state's largest conservation group celebrated. Anthony Pizzutillo, director of governmental affairs for the New Jersey Builders Association, said the organization was relieved that the wetlands compromise, announced late Thursday by Gov. Kean and key legislators, would enable Kean to lift his three-week-old wetlands building ban, which builders had vigorously protested. But Pizzutillo said builders were unhappy with a provision of the bill that would have the state Department of Environmental Protection establish detailed regulations and decide which wetlands would be subject to a requirement that undeveloped buffers be established between the wetlands and nearby building sites. "Knowing the track record of the DEP and their record of mismanagement, there is grave concern about their ability to manage this legislation," he said. But later he added, "On the other side of the coin, it's a relief of a hard-pressing moratorium." IX'spite the association's concerns, Pizzutillo said, "I think we have to live with it, at least initially, and see how the DEP administers it. I don't think it would be politically feasible to look for amendments at this time." Tom Wells, assistant director of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation, said, "1 think it's a strong bill. I think it's strong from both an environmental sense and from a procedural sense." Wells said he. would have preferred tougher restrictions in areas adjacent to wetlands, but added, "Whenever you change major land-use policy, you can't switch from first gear to 100 miles per hour." The bill, which has support from leaders of both parties in both houses and could be passed as early as Monday, severely restricts building in the state's 323,000 acres of freshwater wetlands. Although those areas have, in theory, been regulated by federal laws, Kean and environmentalists think that federal enforcement has not been strict enough. In four years of negotiations leading to the compromise measure Thursday, one of the toughest debates has centered on the issue of buffers non-wetland areas that would be preserved to separate fragile wetlands from nearby developments. Builders have generally opposed buffers, while environmentalists have sought buffers of as wide as 300 feet. The compromise measure divides wetlands into three areas. An area of "exceptional wetlands" would include the purest waters, such as trout streams and their tributaries, where buffers of 75 to 150 feet would be required. Drainage ditches, detention ponds and other man-made areas of little environmental value would be classified as "ordinary wetlands" and no (See WETLANDS on 2-B) The Philadelphia Inquirw MICHAEL MALLV Firefighters hose down a building to save it from the blaze on the Delaware River pier Publicker's pier burns 145 called to fight 5-alarm blaze Winslow police chief fails to obey order to fire son two workmen were killed in an explosion on the grounds a short distance from yesterday's fire. Both men worked for the Cuyahoga Wrecking Co. of Great Neck, N.Y., which purchased the 37-acre property in the 3200 block of Delaware Avenue in April 1986 for $3 million. The men were part of a work crew that was dismantling the distillery when the explosion occurred. Fire officials said that Cuyahoga, the largest demolition contractor in the country, apparently still owned the site. The property is protected by a fence and guards at a gate. Police said six men were on the property between 8:40 and 11:25 a.m. yesterday performing inspections. Fire officials said they would question the six men and the guards. In order to get water to the blaze, firefighters dragged long, five-inch-wide hoses more than a quarter-mile to the pier from Delaware Avenue. Onlookers helped them carry the hoses to the front gate. About 40 employees of the Ashland Chemical which is on north side of the former distillery, were evacuated, an Ashland spokesman Traffic on the nearby Walt Whitman Bridge was not affected because wind blew the smoke north of the bridge, said a spokesman for the Delaware River Port Authority. By Thomas J. Gibbons Jr. Inquirer Staff Writer A five-alarm fire at the'old Publicker Industries terminal on the Delaware River waterfront burned out of control for more than an hour yesterday, sending up clouds of black smoke that were visible for miles. No one was injured in the blaze, which was punctuated by several muffled explosions caused by burning fuel drums and remnants of fuel on the pier. Fire Commissioner William C. Richmond, who directed more than 145 firefighters at the scene, said the blaze apparently started from the river side and worked in along the pier. One multistory building was gutted in the fire. The blaze was brought under control only after 35 pieces of firefighting equipment, a city fire-boat and three Coast Guard fireboats had been brought to the scene. The roofs of several nearby buildings were damaged as was a second pier. All were quickly extinguished, Richmond said. The fire at the former South Philadelphia distillery was reported at 1:31 p.m. Firefighters were in control of the blaze by 2 59 p.m. The site has been closed since November, when By Maureen Graham Special to Tile Inquirer Winslow Township's police chief, Sary F. Stowell has failed to fire his patrolman son, despite a township order to do so by 4 p.m. yesterday. Instead, the chief appealed the or-ler to Camden County Prosecutor iamuel Asbell, who promptly said his Dffice would not intercede. By failing to fire his son. Gary F. itowell the chief has left himself cial investigator hired in March to probe the Police Department. The investigator, John W. Trimble, a Washington Township attorney, said last night that he would call an emergency meeting of the township committee to decide whether action should be taken against the police chief. He said he expected that the meeting would be held Monday or Tuesday. Officials also are expected to discuss who, other than the father, would have the authority to fire the (Sue POLICE CHIEF on 2-B) open to an administrative charge of insubordination, according to a spe INVENTING AMERICA77i events of June 26, 1787 State advocate challenges Moorestown housing plan Debate centers on term of the second House the good behavior of rulers," Sherman insisted. Finally, the delegates agreed by a vote of seven states to four to fix the term for members of the second house of Congress at six years. Cotesworth Pinckney, seconded by Benjamin Franklin, suggested that members of the second house not receive a salary. Pinckney argued that because the second branch "was meant to represent the wealth of the country, it ought to be composed of persons of wealth." But Pinckney's proposal was voted down, five slates to six. George Mason of Virginia rose to suggest that a property qualification be established to keep "needy persons" out of the second legislative branch. That measure also was defeated, five states to six. Ci'miwhI Cowwihwi of 1 7t7 mm Ifc wmc Th ay mxtHmm lw twnlw hn kMn dwiuid front WU MrtL apsoar. MMiunof obtained." James Madison of Virginia lent his considerable authority to proposals for establishing a long term. The purpose of establishing a second house in the national leeislature was to provide stability in the government and counteract "fickleness" among the people, according to Madison. The nation needed a legislative body whose members could acquire "a competent knowledge of the public interests" and "might seasonably interpose against impetuous counsels," Madison said. It also needed a legislative body that would protect the "opulent" minority from the less fortunate majority, according to Madison. Roger Sherman of Connecticut argued for a term of four or six years. "Frequent elections are necessary to preserve By Michael D. Schaffer Inquirer 3ulf Writer The debate over the details of establishing a new government, seemingly more endless and fatiguing than a summer yesterday in the Federal Convention. At day's end. New York delegate John Lansing Jr. wrote home to a friend, Phillip Schuyler, that "the business of the convention is going on very slowly and it is still in such a stage as to render the result very dubious." At issue yesterday was the length of the term of members of the second branch of the national legislature. The proposals varied widely on a topic that James Wilson of Pennsylvania said had divided the delegates more than any other question. Nathaniel Gorham of Massachusetts proposed a six- year term. Wilson seconded it. But Charles Cotesworth Pinckney of South Carolina suggested a four-year term. (Cotesworth Pickney. 41, is second cousin of South Carolinian Charles Pickney, 29, T.2 TC fimiUritv in thpir names causes constant confusion.) If members of the second branch "should be appointed for a long term." said Cotesworth Pinckney, "they would settle in the state where they exercised their functions, and would in a little time be rather the representatives of that than of the slate appointing them Delaware's George Read, seconded by compatriot Jacob Broom, went the other way. suggesting a nine-year term. Read said that he preferred electing members of the second branch for life, but had received little support for that idea and was "willing to take the longest term that could be "The project, as described in their plan, is not a feasible project." he said. The Public Advocate's Office filed its objection with the housing council late Thursday, just meeting the deadline for such objections, which can be filed any time up to 45 rtivc aftpr township's plan is filed. Harry McVey, Moorestown's director of community development, said he had not seen the public advocate's objections. McVey, who took the township post early in May and was not involved in preparing the plan, said township officials believed it was sound. In the plan, Moorestown officials argue that the state, in setting a goal of 707 units, overestimated the number of penple employed in the lown-ship and the amount of residential growth the township will experience over the next few years Moorestown also argued that it should be granted credit for lowost units it already provides Eisdorfcr said the township used biased methods to perform the calculations. In one instance, he said, Moorestown officials conducted their own survey to prove that some 'km yr r- 1 By Jeff Brown Inquirer Start Writer The state Office of the Public Advocate has filed a formal objection to Moorestown's low-cost-housing plan, a move that automatically prevents the state from approving the plan Ululi liic CC.T.pIcTCT 5 ation process that could last two months. Moorestown is under a court order to produce a plan to provide low-cost housing for people of low and moderate incomes. It filed a plan six weeks ago with the state Council on Affordable Housing, proposing to use voluntary contributions from two developers to raise about $7 million to construct 403 low-cost housing units. But Stephen Eisdorfcr. assistant deputy public advocate, said yesterday that the plan included several weak points especially in its proposed financing that raised questions about mhc'her those homes would ever be built. In addition, he said, the township used invalid assumptions in calculations that led it to pmp-ise building 4C3 urns while the housing council had proposed that mreMown pro- vnlf -O" rr"

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