City Controller subpoenas L&I commissioner for demolition reports

building collapse
City Controller Alan Butkovitz is demanding demolition reports in the wake of the June 5 building collapse that killed six people.
Credit: Rikard Larma / Metro.

Philadelphia City Controller Alan Butkovitz on Wednesday issued a subpoena to Department of Licenses and Inspections Commissioner Carlton Williams to compel L&I to produce city demolition reports as part of an audit in the wake of the fatal June 5 building collapse in Center City.

Butkovitz is seeking records of the 300-plus site inspections conducted by L&I immediately following the collapse June 6 through June 12, as well as inspection reports for other demolition sites dating back to 2009.

He said in a release he was “forced to subpoena the records” after repeated requests for documents were ignored.

“It is unfortunate that in a matter of great concern to the citizens of Philadelphia, this administration continues to obstruct in the performance of our audit,” Butkovitz said in a statement.

“I again call on the administration to produce the documents requested and to work cooperatively with our auditors. It does not benefit anyone, especially the people of this city, to conduct this audit through the legal process.”

Mayor Michael Nutter’s press secretary Mark McDonald said in response the administration has been working with multiple agencies, including the controller’s office, in an attempt to contribute to multiple ongoing investigations into the collapse.

“We’ve provided a great deal of material to Mr. Butkovitz already and in no way are we digging our heels in or obstructing his audit,” McDonald said.

“We will provide him what he needs, but in some cases, his requests are so voluminous and somewhat obscure, that it takes both clarification on his part and a lot of time on our part to get what he needs.”

Calling the controller’s decision to subpoena Williams “political showboating,” McDonald said the city already agreed to provide Butkovitz with all the records he’s demanding and will do so as soon as they are able to amass the documents, which McDonald estimates to be in excess of 4,000 pages.

“We absolutely dispute his assertion that we’re not cooperating,” he said.

“But I’ve got to say – we do not appreciate this kind of behavior. It doesn’t speak well for the controller’s office at all.”


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