In the first half of 2011, NEast Philly led an investigative look into the corruption charges against former State Rep. John Perzel and how the allegations against him have affected the 172nd District.
Perzel, who plead guilty in August 2011 to eight of 82 corruption charges, spent three decades in the state house, including a stint as a powerful Speaker of the House and was known for bringing an impressive stream of state funding back to his district, most notably the Mayfair neighborhood.
Through his lawyer, Perzel failed to respond to several requests for an interview for this project.
In partnership with Philadelphia Neighborhoods as part of an Enterprise Reporting Fund grant from J-Lab: The Institute of Interactive Journalism, our reporters took an in-depth look at the development and revitalization efforts in the district, specifically along the Frankford Avenue corridor in Mayfair, where Perzel concentrated his resources. This project was edited by Shannon McDonald, reported by Christopher Wink and Philadelphia Neighborhoods and this landing page was developed by Jim Smiley of the Frankford Gazette.
Find all of the coverage here. Browse some of our more feature stories below, relevant video at right or two interactive tools at the bottom of this page.
John Perzel, former Pennsylvania House Speaker and 172nd Legislative District rep, pleaded guilty Aug. 31 as expected to eight of 82 counts of corruption, conspiracy, theft and conflict of interest. MORE
What’s the biggest impact from John Perzel’s indictment, the historic state budget deficit and a shake up of community leaders in a tight knit neighborhood like Mayfair? Perhaps nothing short of a change in how residents improve their blocks forever.
After John Perzel, the former speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, was charged with misusing public funds, he lost the seat he had held for more than 30 years in the 172nd District to Democrat Kevin Boyle.
About $10.6 million was funneled directly to the Mayfair Community Development Corp. since 2000, granted from the state Department of Community and Economic Development, according to its website. Much of it went into street cleaning and senior citizen programs.
State legislative districts are again being remade, following the 2010 U.S. Census. One district that will be watched by some insiders is the Pennsylvania 172nd State House Legislative district, formerly the precinct of John Perzel.
Kevin Boyle has made a conference room out of John Perzel’s closet.