Occupy Philly’s ouster gives plaza to contractor

Evan Hoffman, of Philadelphia, and other Occupy supporters marched solemnly through Center City streets last night.

Mayor Michael Nutter said that yesterday morning’s police raid of Occupy Philly’s City Hall encampment had been in the works for weeks, but some officials close to the $50 million Dilworth Plaza renovation said that project’s contractor was beginning to balk at signing the actual construction contract until the Occupiers finally left.

The Daniel J. Keating Company signed a letter of intent in mid-November after being awarded the project by the Center City District, but still had not signed the contract by yesterday morning.

“That would make sense, if I were Keating, because there’s a timeline on your contract. Once you sign it, you have so many days before you have damages,” said Pat Gillespie, business manager of the Building Trades Council. “So if he signs, all of the sudden, the people occupying the space become his problem. And before he signed, he’d want the people out of there.”

Gillespie said he expected Keating would sign the construction contract as soon as yesterday, hours after police finally evicted the Occupiers. The Center City District declined to comment on whether the Occupiers held up the contract, but sent out a press release that construction on Dilworth Plaza will begin today or tomorrow.

Nutter’s spokesman denied any correlation between the timing of the raid and called the claims “total [nonsense].”

“Keating’s actions had nothing to do with Occupy Philly,” he said. “They were and they are moving forward.”

Only one arrest at Dilworth

Fifty-two Occupy Philly members were arrested after police raided their Dilworth Plaza encampment early yesterday morning, though only one person was arrested at the actual camp site.

They are charged with conspiracy, failure to disperse and obstruction. Gregory Harris, 29, who worked for Occupy’s donation and resources committee, is also charged with assault on an officer.

All were still waiting to be arraigned as of late yesterday.

According to authorities, one arrest occurred at 1:55 at Dilworth, five arrests were at 15th and Market at 2:55 a.m., one at Broad and Race at 4:07 a.m. and 45 more at 15th and Hamilton at 6:30 a.m.


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