Homicide detectives are seeking information concerning the death of Candace “Candy” Holmes.
Holmes, 27, was found strangled to death on May 28 near the intersection of Rufe and Bringhurst streets in Germantown. She was known to frequent the area of Chelten Avenue and Beechwood Street.
Anyone with information is asked to call homicide detectives at (215) 686-3334.
A weekend car crash has led to driving under the influence (DUI) charges.
A 68-year-old Philadelphian died prior to a crash Saturday evening on the Ben Franklin Bridge.
As a result, a 19-year-old Delaware County man will face charges related to driving under the influence, but not vehicular homicide charges, according to Tim Ireland, spokesman for the Delaware River Port Authority.
Pervis Herder, of the 2700 block of North Fairhill Street in Philadelphia, was a rear-seat passenger in a westbound Ford van, and at about 6:30 p.m., mechanical problems caused it to stop or nearly stop on the New Jersey side of the bridge.
“The medical examiner’s report is not complete, but it appears at this point that he had passed on probably from cardiac arrest,” said Ireland
At the time, none of the other five people in the van realized Herder had died. He seemed to be asleep in the backseat. The van was then rear-ended by a Mazda driven by Kevin Diamond Jr. of the 200 block of Evergreen Avenue in Folsom, Ireland said.
Four people in the van were transported to Camden’s Cooper University Hospital. A fifth was taken to Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
Diamond’s blood-alcohol level was found to be .08, which means he was legally drunk according to New Jersey law, Ireland said.
A 52-year-old SEPTA trolley operator was shot and killed May 31 in Southwest Philadelphia.
Aaron Hayes was shot in the head, neck and arm just before 5 a.m., May 31 outside his home on the 7100 block of Elmwood Avenue. He was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania where he was pronounced dead at 7:39 p.m. Police have no arrests.
Michael Jay, 29, was shot May 31 in the 5800 block of North American Street. Jay, of the 5200 block of North Sydenham Street, was shot in the head and back. He was taken to Albert Einstein Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 2:47 p.m. on June 1. Police have no motive or arrests.
An unidentified male was shot at 2:28 a.m., June 3. As of the Tribune’s deadline, police did not release his identification.
Port Authority board members deny wrongdoing
Accusations leveled in a new report by New Jersey’s controller claiming that board members of the Delaware River Port Authority use the agency as a “personal ATM” are unfounded, said two men named in the scathing report.
The 77-page report, released by Controller A. Matthew Boxer, accused DRPA officials from both sides of the Delaware River of funneling hundreds of millions of dollars to pet projects and friends.
“In nearly every area we looked at, we found people who treated the DRPA like a personal ATM, from DRPA commissioners to private vendors to community organizations,” Boxer said in a statement released with the report. “People with connections at the DRPA were quick to put their hand out when dealing with the agency, and they generally were not disappointed when they did.”
Officials at the Delaware River Port Authority routinely ignored financial safeguards, spending toll payers’ money on pet projects and steering funds to their cronies during years of “mismanagement and neglect,” Boxer said.
The investigation studied four broad areas of DRPA’s operations: Its dealings with insurance brokers, its economic development program, its social and civic sponsorship fund and reimbursements for business expenses.
Nearly $1.5 million was paid out in insurance commissions, the report found, “regardless of whether each of the brokers actually placed or assisted in placing DRPA insurance policies or … performed any service at all.”
The agency had a practice of “truing up” or making sure that equal funding was spent on vendors from Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
According to Boxer, the choice of a New Jersey broker was controlled by Democratic Party bigwig and insurance broker George E. Norcross III.
The controller based his charge on a 2002 email to Joseph Plumeria, CEO of the Willis Holding Group.
“Willis will be appointed as the co-broker of record … effective January 1, 2003, for the DRPA,” wrote Norcross, who did not work for the DRPA or serve on its board.
Willis then paid Norcross’s insurance company, Conner Strong and Buckelew, and another broker Michael Martucci, commissions of $455,000.
Norcross’ firm said the money was not commissions, but payments for referrals. The company denied any wrongdoing.
“The investigation has found nothing illegal, unethical, improper or in violation of any laws, statutes or regulations regarding … Mr. Norcross … or anyone associated with any of them or the agreement between Willis and [Conner Strong and Buckelew],” said company officials in a statement.
Norcross was reportedly out of town, and could not be reached for comment.
In terms of Pennsylvania business, Boxer alleges that Tribune President and CEO Robert W. Bogle, who served on the DRPA board from 1997 to 2011, steered business to an insurance company called the West Insurance Agency, a Philadelphia based minority-owned firm where Bogle served on the board. The report again quotes an email, this one from William Graham of the Graham Company, the Pennsylvania broker of record to Willis, its New Jersey counterpart.
“Bob Bogle … and the Board of the DRPA expects these commissions to be paid to the West Agency, or another select MBE (Minority Business Enterprise).”
Bogle pointed to the report, quoting it “or another select MBE” and adding, “Bogle never said a word about West.”
The company received $684,254 in commissions, but Boxer’s office was unable to determine what, if any, services it provided.
Boxer also examined projects that received funding from the DRPA’s "social and civic sponsorship fund” set because “the vast majority of this funding . . . went to organizations linked to DRPA officials, or to organizations that provided a personal benefit to DRPA officials in exchange for the contribution.”
Bogle again drew Boxer’s attention.
According to the report, DRPA made 13 payments totaling $59,180 to the Tribune for half-page advertisements to congratulate local high school graduates, commemorate Black History Month and in honor of Martin Luther King Day.
“DRPA did not purchase similar advertisements in any other newspaper concerning these events,” wrote Boxer in the report, adding that the requests were not accompanied by a Community Giving Fund Application, which was required by DRPA rules.
“I did not, at any time, ask anyone at the port authority to do business with the Philadelphia Tribune,” responded Bogle, adding that DRPA did buy ads, but through the newspaper’s sales representatives.
There was nothing underhanded about the transactions, he said.
“I don’t consider the fact that they did business with the Philadelphia Tribune an impropriety,” said Bogle, adding that it seemed to make sense that the agency would advertise in a Black newspaper on the occasions that it did so.
“What other publication would they use?” he asked.
In addition, the report says Bogle, who is on the board of Mann Center for the Performing Arts, requested and received $5,000 for the organization’s gala. In return, the DRPA received tickets for dinner and to the Bolshoi Ballet, an event attended by several DRPA commissioners.
Bogle said he was unaware of the deal, and didn’t attend the event.
“I didn’t even know about it,” he said, adding that the entire report was based on innuendo.
Authority spokesman Timothy Ireland said in a statement that the authority has addressed many of the problems unearthed by the report.
“We take the concerns expressed by [the report] very seriously, and we will be taking steps to evaluate and address recommendations in the report as promptly as possible,” he said.
Boxer worried that toll payers have already suffered for years, and would continue to do so until all of his concerns were addressed.
“Toll payers have borne a financial burden attributable to years of mismanagement and neglect, and continue to do so for those failings that have yet to be rectified,” wrote Boxer.
DRPA operates the four toll bridges linking Philadelphia and New Jersey as well as PATCO, a light rail line from Center City Philadelphia to southern New Jersey.
Its board is made up of eight members from Pennsylvania and eight from New Jersey and headed alternately by the governors from each state.