The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 30, 1979 · Page 13
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The Philadelphia Inquirer from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania · Page 13

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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Tuesday, January 30, 1979
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Page 13
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4 Tuesday, Jan. 30, 1979 Philadelphia Inquirer 3-B 'METROPOLITAN? City urged to pass cable TV provisions quickly By Bob Frump Inquirer Staff Writer 1 Philadelphia must act qiuckly on cable television if such a system, Vith Ihe various community services required by the federal government, 3s able to withstand competition from another form of pay television, a -State Senate committee has concluded. Only part of South Philadelphia has cable television now; there has been a 13-year delay in establishing citywide service. ,, National Subscription Television, a Tion-caible system not subject to most of the community - oriented require-'ments the Federal Communications Commission has laid down for cable television, has indicated that operations in Philadelphia are in its plans. The report of special investigating committee headed by Sen. Vin-' cent Fumo (D., Phila.) will be presented at City Council hearings next Tuesday on the cable issue. "We will tell them that with the advent of subscription television service, it is critical that they act upon the enabling legislation," Fumo said. National Subscription Television, which is being used in Los Angeles, involves attaching a small box to a television rather than a cable hookup to individual homes. The device unscrambles a broadcast signal for full-length movies and sports events uninterrupted by commercials. Fumo said he expected Oak Industries Inc., or Crystal Lake, 111., to have the system operating "within six to nine months." Company officials, however, would not confirm that estimate, and officials of the Federal Communications Commission in Washington said the company had filed no application for the Philadelphia area. Fumo said the new system would make the city less attractive to potential cable franchise holders. "Just from a standpoint of supply and demand, it could blunt the demand for cable television if it is operational before the cable system," Fumo said. The Los Angeles National Subscription Television station has 80,000 subscribers who paid an initial $40 fee and are billed $17 a month for programs. Last January, the corporation signed an agreement with Sears, Roebuck and Co. to sell and install the services. Fumo said he felt that the more conventional cable system has more advantages for Philadelphia. He listed more local control and services, including broadcasting of local community meetings. Cable television, he added, has the potential for two-way communication compared to the National Subscription Service which is one-way. Cable television has a poor track record in Philadelphia. A 1966 ordinance created six cable districts and franchises in the city. But only one Telesystems of South Philadelphia established a working system, west of Broad Street and south of Lombard Street. A new ordinance was presented to the council by the administration of Mayor Frank L. Rizzo in July. It would divide the city into four cable service areas, and would require . that companies winning the franchises provide full cable service within five years. The council heard dozens of wit- nesses at its August hearings. Council President George X. Schwartz said then tnat the council neded to "do our homework." At next Tuesday's hearing, the council will meet as a Committee of the Whole to consider the original ordinance and another that spells out the form of an advisory commission more specifically. Fumo's Senate committee was formed to investigate why the delays have occurred. He said yesterday the committee found no instances of "hanky-panky." It will suggest, he said, that state eminent-domain laws be used to string the cable and that "community affairs" be given more time in programming. Insurer's fraud trial opens O'Neill prosecutor cites lies, forgery Bv Jan Schaffer Inquirer Btnft Writer A federal prosecutor accused Alfred E Smith O'Neill ve?terday of lying and submitting forged dom-ments to obtain bv fraud more than '$3?0.C00 in bank loans. ' O'Neill, SO, a former insurance broker and the husband of Sally ;Fr;edIand O'Neill, th Food Fair Inc. heiress, went on trial in U. S. District Court on charges of bank fraud and mail fraud in connection with tha '"ars. O'Neill is accused of defrauding the American Bank & TriFt Co. of R("Hine in two transactions. The 'first involved $2?S 000 in loans from the Reading bank i- 1973 and '974 to finance the sa'e if insurance oolicies b" s firm. First American Corp., t Phi'aipSia-area um'-ns. Acc-vpf tt ?. Attorney Luther E. Weaver told the inrv in h's ooenins .n?rh rht o'Nf'l? had pWeed all hir. insurances sales commissions ai rMife-al in fbps loans. But w,rc eaM o'Ne''H failed to inform th? ban''- of all th firms fir which he vp t it.'no policies an kept more than 5s.flno in commissions. Tn tn seron transaction. O'Vpill is cnarae with borrowing $96,000 frnni fpp Vir)a of Pnissia branch of thp hank '"n 19"7 and 1973 to finance the sale of hiqh-rr'-ei life insurance policies to individuals. The indictment chprwps that O'Neill nledeed as sec'i'-'r" for that loan aout 40 worthless polic'es on which he had failed to nav the premiums as he was supposed to under a financing plan. Weaver told the iurv that O'Neill had his emoloyes forge the signature of the named insurers on the policies on documents that would transfer the policies to the bank for collateral. "He taught them how to trace signatures and transfer them from one dociment to another by use of a mechanism called a shadow box." Weaver said. "This is not a bad debt case. It's not a crime to borrow money and fail to pay it back," Weaver said. "It is a crime to submit numerous forged documents to a bank to get a loan." However, O'Neill's attorney, public defender Alan Turner, told the jury, "ThK case belongs not in a c-iminal courtroom, but in a bankruptcy courtroom." Turner alleged that O'Neill was the victim of the failure of his business, which was "almost a very successful enterprise." O'Neill was one of the early promoters of the City Charter change that would have allowed Mayor Frank L. Rizzo to seek third term. He headed the campaign that gathered the 20,000 signatures that led to placing the charter-change question on last November's ballot. The American Bank & Trust Co. has sued O'Neill in Montgomery County Court seeking $380,000 the bank says O'Neill owes it. In addition, about $250,000 in other judgments reportedly have been filed against O'Neill in Philadelphia. PI?1 jfflH wnhzn Swm rl J Mil -ife If EM FfiK $ uJMrn x rf f fefliJi p i i1 fji t r r j, Philadelphia Inquirer JAMES U. McGARRITY Burdened with liquidator's bargains, shoppers load their purchases at Penn Fruit on City Line yesterday Competitors may buy shut stores By Andrea Knox and Steve Twomey Inquirer Staff Writers As liquidation-sale shoppers began clearing the shelves of Food Fair's Philadelphia area supermarkets yesterday, there was growing evidence that many of the stores may be taken over and quickly restocked by other supermarket chains. Pathmark, Shop N Bag and Shopping Cart, which operates Thriftway and PickAeU marke;s, have all expressed interest in acquiring some of the closed stores. And Acme Markets Inc., which has refused to say publicly whether it will bid on some of the stores, was reported yesterday to be interested in them. That report came from Wendell Young, president of Retail Clerks Union Local 13S7. Representatives of Shop N Bag and Thriftway were reported yesterday to be holding preliminary discussions with Food Fair executives under the informal sponsorship of city officials. One Philadelphia supermarket executive has predicted that up to 70 percent of the Pantry Pride and Penn Fruit stores being abandoned by Food Fair Inc. probably will be taken over by former competitors. The executive, Daniel Smith, president of the Frarckford-Quaker Grocery Co. cooperative, said Friday that many members of the cooperative had expressed interest in acqutring some of the closed stores. Members of the cooperative include the owners of Shop N Bag stores, which taken together are WOl I SATURDAY 79 j Si?ns in the store's window tell the tale of yesterday's shoppers' finale the second-largest chain in terms of sales now operating in the Philadelphia market. Acme is first. Smith said members of the cooperative "wll be interested in 30 or 40 stores" out of the 88 in Food Fair's Philadelphia division that were closed at the end of business Saturday. In fact, Smith added, interest by the cooperative is so strong that one of his major concerns that members might bid against each other when the stores and leases are offered as auction. The sale of the stores will be conducted under the supervision of Bankruptcy Judge John J. Gal-gay, who is overseeing the reorganization of Food Fair under Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy Act. When Food Fair closed its New York-Connecticut division late last year, interested companies were asked to bid on individual stores and groups of stores. Winners were selected on the basis of which combinations of bids would provide the greatest returns to Food Fair. Representatives of Shop N Bag and Thriftway were reported yesterday to be meeting with Food Fair officials under the aegis of city officials. The city wants to get as many of the stores back in operation as soon as possible, Joseph M. Egan Jr., first deputy director of commerce, said last week. Acme Markets Inc., which has refused to say publicly whether it will bid on some of the stores, was reported yesterday to be interested. The report came from Wendell Young, president of Retail Clerks Union Local 1357. Safeway Stores Inc. also reported yesterday by Young to be interested in "the whole ball of wax" has denied that it intends to purchase any stores. At a news conference yesterday,' Young, who represents 1,600 former employes of the closed stores, said his "number one priority" is to get the stores sold quickly in order to get as many of his members as possible back to work. Young said he also is determined to obtain severance pay for his members. He said that although there is no contract provision for severance pay, rules of the National Labor Relations Board specify that such pay must be negotiated. Du Pont Co. assails high Del. taxes again f By Rick Edmonds , Inquirer Staff Writer - WiLiviiNGTOiN Delaware s hign personal income tax, the highest in the nation, is driving the well-to-do from the state and seriously damaging its economic health, a top Du Pont Co. executive contended yesterday. In the company's strongest criticism yet :f the strte's tax structure. Charles K. Welch, Du Pont's generai , counsel and vice president for exter- iial affairs , told meeting of the Delaware Bar Association here that some tax relief for the wealthy is needed 1 this year "to keep the people we now have." Welch proposed an across-the-board cut in personal income tax rates and special breaks for retired persons -.who, he said, have been fleeing to ' . "self-imposed exile" in low-tax south- - ern states such as Florida and South . Carolina. Welch suggested, for instanre. ;hrt pension income not be taxed, tiiat . the tax exclusion for dividends be ? raised rom $100 to $1,000, and tha: retirees be able to average over 10 years the income they receive from lump-sum settlements. inougti he praised Gov. Pierre S. duPont and the state Legislature for their management of state finances during the last two years, Welch said that "Delaware's economic health, even with its occasional moments of strength, is not good." The state relies far too much on income tax revenues, r.e said, nd that puts it "in a precariojs position when the economy takes a dive." For example, he said, state revenues fell because the Du Pont Co. had bad years in 1974 and 1975 and so failed to give employes customary b. nuses. The Du Pont criticism of Delaware's business climate began in 1974 with a speech to the Wilm,ngt;n Roiary Cluu by Charles B. McCoy, then the giant chemical company's chairman. It has been repeated by one Du Pont executive or another each year since without muc.i eiect so far on the state Legislature or Gov. duPont. They strong'y oppose institut-. ing a sales tax, as Welch and other corporate executives have suggested. Last year, the dispute ilared wr.en Du PoU chairman Irvir.g Shapiro was quoted as advising business col- Ipatriips nnt to mnvp fr fYpla mrp the same week that Gov. duPont was on the West Coast recruiting new industry. The governor suggested in his budget message last w:ek that state taxes be cut $10 minkn in t.,e coming fiscal year, but he did not specify ho. GOP leaders back 2 for Montco commission The Montgomery County Republican Party executive committee has chosen incumbent county Commissioner A. Russell Par h use and Lower Merion Township Commissioner Paul B. Bartle as the candi-a'es for connry crmmiss'oner nominations. The executive committee, which is composed of all 17 GOP area leaders in the county, made its selections on Saturdav and will ask the endorsement of the 172 GOP committee members at the c runty convention, tertarive'y scheo'e'ei for March !0. Parcho-'se is countv commissioner chairman, serving in his fourth term, and E-artle is in the third term of his first four-year term as a Lower Merion commissioner. The executive committee also made three selections for county judge: District Attorney William T. Nicholas; State Rep. Anthony J. Scirica; and Samuel W. Sate. 2d. Next Monday, the executive committee is scheduled to consider candidates for nine other county offices: clerk of courts, controller, coroner, district attorney, prothonotary, recorder of deeds, register of wills, sheriff and treasurer. Nacrelli witness denies plot Backs Urella; tells of losing job By Michael A. Hobbs Inquirer Staff Writer The bribery retrial of Chester Mayor John H. Nacrelli took an un- ' usual turn yesterday when a defense witness testified that he had lost his job as a county detective after he " had been photographed bare-chested with a woman at a party. The former detective, Louis D'lorio, 42, said that during his tenure with Delaware County's Criminal Investigation Division (CID), he knew of no conspiracy involving former CID head Rocco Urella and Chester officials to protect gamblers in that city. D'lorio was dismissed from the CID in 1976. He added that from 1970 to 1975, he personally assisted in about "one dozen" raids on numbers operations related to Frank Miller and Herman Hunt Fontaine, the gamblers who allegedly paid $22,000 in bribes to Na- ' crelli in 1976 and 1977. More payoffs Both Miller and Fontaine have testified that those payments were a continuation of payoffs begun in the 1960s by Joseph Eyre, the Chester Republican power who died in 1976. Fontaine said Eyre had told him that part of the payments went to county officials, including Urella. Urella has vehemently denied that accusation. When Assistant U. S. Attorney Gregory T. Magarity asked D'lorio during cross-examination why he was fired from CID, D'lorio gave a nearly five-minute response that . prompted U. S. District Judge Raymond J. Broderick to state at the end, "I think that's the longest explanation I've ever heard." D'lorio said he was fired by Delaware County District Attorney Frank T. Hazel for "political" reasons related to his long association with Urella, a former State Police commissioner, and because of information he once gave authorities who were investigating the alleged "macing," or forced donation of political contributions, to the Republican Party by county workers. D'lorio said the controversial photo was taken in 1974 at a Christmas or New Year's holiday party as a "gag." DTorio said he was standing with his wife and another woman in the picture, both of whom were fully clothed, while he was "bare-chested" and wearing a cowboy hat and a shoulder holster. He said detectives discovered the photograph a year later during a drug raid at a friend's home and informed him about it, but took no disciplinary action. 'Pushed ouV D'lorio said that, in 1976, when Hazel became district attorney, "it became apparent" that Urella was , being "pushed out" as CID head and, D'lorio said "suddenly they wanted to know about the picture." He said r v. . cause of the picture. A'ter filing suit in U. S. District Court, D'lorio was ordered reinstated last year with berk nay. D'lorio wa9 fired again rerently for allegedly refusing to follow orJcrs. fight still gees on for reinstatement," D'lorio said. Another defense witness, State Police Lt. Matthew E. Hunt, testified that in 1971 and 1972, during a Pennsylvania Crime Commission investigation of Delaware County corrun-tion, Fontaine had regularly given him information about numbers writers in Miller's organization. Hunt s testimony appeared to contradict Fontaine's prosecution testimony that he had not given such information on a regular basis to Hunt. Under questioning by defense attorney A. Charles Peruto, a third de-fen2 witness, State Trooper Lavon Postelle, denied previous testimony that he had acceoted Christmas gifts of money from Fontaine while he was a Chester policeman.

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