NBC10 Philadelphia - Claudia Rivero
In the online message, sent by Anonymous, the hacker group claims city officials are abusing their power. The group apparently got wind of a dispute between a Philadelphia business owner and the City's Redevelopment Authority, over an abandoned lot in the Point Breeze section of the city. NBC10's Claudia Rivero reports.
The hacktivist group known as "Anonymous" has sent out a video message to the City of Philadelphia. The group apparently got wind of a dispute between a Philadelphia business owner and the City's Redevelopment Authority, over an abandoned lot in the Point Breeze section of the city.
"This controversy has really, frankly, spun out of control," said Executive Director Ed Covington, Philadelphia Re-development Authority at a Friday night news conference.
The man at the center of the dispute is Ori Feibush, who owns a coffee shop next door to the abandoned lot at 20th and Annin Streets. He claims after years of contacting the city to cleanup the property, he decided to take matters into his own hands.
"There was no sidewalk here previous to us pouring the cement and planting the cherry trees," said Feibush, who showed us before and after pictures of the lot.
The Executive Director of the Redevelopment Authority says Feibush was given specific instructions by the city to stay off the land. "Despite our very clear message to Mr. Feibush that he not enter with a landscaping crew, that's precisely what he did," said Covington.
Feibush says he did attempt to go through proper channels and created a website Friday night with details of his efforts to work with the city. He also says he hasn't given up. "I'm going to continue to make every effort to purchase the property," said Feibush.
The Redevelopment Authority says moving forward, their intention is to put the land up for sale.
"Our goal is and has been to dispose of this property, as well as any other vacant property the city has and find the highest and best productive use of that property for the benefit of the neighborhood," said Covington, who added that Feibush is one of four people who have taken an interest in the lot.
"Not only has the city lost all reason and common sense by believing it is possible to put trash back in the lot, they are also a disgrace and a blight on the community for whom they should be working.
This incompetence and abuse of power clearly shows that We The People need to take action and pay the "City of Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority" and Councilman Kenyatta Johnson a visit.
Anonymous demands that the city of Philadelphia immediately retract all claims of wrongdoing by Mr. Feibush and that they seek to arrange amicable compensation for his expenses incurred while doing the government of Philadelphia's job."
Feibush says as soon as he learned of this online threat, he alerted the Mayor's office and Philadelphia Police.
City officials tell NBC10 they are aware of the video and the proper authorities have been notified.