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Building collapse contractor's lawyer wants Nutter to testify

The attorney for the general contractor at the 22nd and Market streets demolition site charged with six counts of murder for the fatal building collapse last year wants city officials to testify as defense witnesses.

Before and after: only Rubble remained the week after last year's collapse. Today, the site is the future home of a memorial park.  Credit: Charles Mostoller Before and after: only Rubble remained the week after last year's collapse. Today, the site is the future home of a memorial park. Credit: Charles Mostoller

The attorney for the general contractor at the 22nd and Market streets demolition site charged with six counts of murder for the fatal building collapse last year wants city officials to testify as defense witnesses.

Contractor Griffin Campbell's lawyer Bill Hobson released his witness list at a hearing Tuesday -- which includes Mayor Michael Nutter, deputy mayors Everett Gillison and Alan Greenberger, L&I commissioner Carlton Williams and all 15 members of the blue ribbon panel investigating L&I's failures preceding the collapse.

"I believe in good faith they're key factual witnesses," Hobson said. "They have information, both pre-collapse and post-collapse."

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Hobson said city officials have knowledge related to discussions on the demolition of the properties belonging to developer Richard Basciano, which were adjacent to the Salvation Army thrift store and which collapsed on June 6, 2013 as a result of the demolition.

"It was the last undeveloped stretch of Market Street ... There was a big real push from March, April before the collapse. That was all Grif Campbell was told, was 'Get it done, get it done,'" Hobson said.

Hobson said that L&I should not have allowed the demolition to proceed in the conditions that it did.

"I think the city's responsible," Hobson said, adding that Campbell was hired because his bid for demolition was $125,000, while other companies' bids were as much as $300,000 or $500,000.

He said that Campbell had L&I approval for the demolition work.

Backhoe operator Sean Benschop also faces six murder charges for the collapse.

Hobson will seek to sever the two cases as they move towards trial.

A grand jury is also still hearing evidence regarding the building collapse and other criminal charges could be forthcoming regarding the collapse.

 
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