News Briefing: Sept. 19-25, 2014

News Briefing: Sept. 19-25, 2014

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BEBASHI resolves another lien

BEBASHI, a local AIDS agency, has completely satisfied another IRS lien.

In July, BEBASHI completed payment on an IRS tax lien totaling $77,718.60, according to Philadelphia Common Pleas Court records.The lien dated back to February 2013. 

This month, BEBASHI completed payment on an IRS lien totaling $52,531.20. The lien dated back to June 2013.

BEBASHI is located in the Spring Garden section of the city. It was founded in 1985 in response to the increasing incidence of HIV/AIDS in the city’s African-American community.

BEBASHI executive director Gary Bell couldn’t be reached for comment.

Last year, Bell acknowledged the agency has occasional cash-flow problems.

Whitewood litigants seek mediation

Both sides in the Whitewood case have requested the services of a mediator to resolve their fee-compensation dispute.

Whitewood, decided in May, resulted in marriage equality throughout Pennsylvania.

Plaintiffs seek more than $1 million in compensation from state and Bucks County officials for their legal fees and costs. But Whitewood defendants say the plaintiffs are requesting an “exorbitant amount.”

On Sept. 10, the matter was referred to U.S. Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson for mediation.

“We hope we can resolve the dispute in the Whitewood case through mediation,” said Sara J. Rose, an attorney at the ACLU of Pennsylvania.

Attorneys for the defendants had no comment. 

A Sept. 29 deadline for plaintiffs to file a formal fee petition has been indefinitely extended by U.S. District Judge John E. Jones 3d.

Gay inmate continues to seek transfer

Openly gay inmate Kenneth J. Houck Jr. received encouraging news last month in response to his request for transfer to a prison closer to his family. 

Houck, 39, is incarcerated at a federal prison in Littleton, Colo. But Houck’s relatives are located on the East Coast, and he hasn’t received a visit from them in more than two years.

In an Aug. 19 letter, Warden Deborah Denham said if Houck keeps a “clear record” and avails himself of treatment programs, he might be transferred to a facility closer to his family next year.

In November 2011, Houck was reading an LGBT novel when two inmates entered his cell at the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia and assaulted him. Houck says he continues to recover from his injuries, which included a broken leg.

Houck is serving a 97-month sentence after pleading guilty to one count of transporting child pornography. His scheduled release date is April 24, 2017. 

Chris Burke, a spokesperson for the federal Bureau of Prisons, declined to comment on Houck’s request for a transfer.

— Timothy Cwiek

PAT stages block party

The South-of-South Block Party, sponsored by Philly AIDS Thrift, will take place from noon-6 p.m. Sept. 27 on the 700 block of South Fifth Street (between Bainbridge and Monroe streets).

The event will feature food trucks, music by DJ K-Tel and games. Among the food vendors will be Spot Burger, Mom Mom’s, Santucci’s and Weekerly’s ice cream. It will also include craft vendors, face painting, magicians, a sword-swallowing clown, dancing and more.

— Ryan Kasley


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