“The contractor hired to demolish the building at 2136-38 Market St. in Philadelphia has a criminal record stemming from a phony car-wreck scheme with a Philadelphia police officer, according to court records.
And his demolition work next to a Salvation Army thrift shop worried neighbors, workers and others in the days before Wednesday’s fatal collapse, because an adjoining wall was left unsupported.
The demolition was being done by Griffin Campbell Construction of 1605 Butler St. That North Philadelphia address is also the residence of Griffin T. Campbell, 49, who could not be reached for comment.
Campbell has city permits to demolish six other properties, including three Market Street properties owned by STB Investments Corp., the owner of the collapsed building. The principal of STB is Richard Basciano, owner of many seedy properties and once dubbed “the undisputed king of Times Square porn.
According to court records, Campbell filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection in March, listing $221,000 in liabilities, including $10,000 in unpaid city business taxes and delinquent state and federal taxes, as well as numerous bank liens on properties he owns in North Philadelphia.
Campbell pleaded guilty in April 2009 to having filed a false insurance claim, claiming to be a passenger in a car involved in a 2005 auto collision that was actually a hoax to defraud an insurance company.
After filing the false claim, Campbell was paid $17,500 by Cambridge Insurance Co., plus $5,856 for medical bills. The scam unraveled when a Philadelphia officer, Deshane Riggins, admitted preparing “numerous fictitious accident reports” and identified Campbell’s as one of them.
Police described the case as one of at least 45 phony auto accidents staged by Wallace “Pops” Morris of Kingsessing, the ringleader of the scam. Riggins, the officer who made the scam possible, was paid $400 to $500 for each false report corroborating an accident. He was fired in 2008 after pleading guilty to 19 counts of insurance fraud.”