Philadelphia officials held a conference this week to entice Wall Street investors, but the press was shut out. So what took place behind the curtain?
Philadelphia treasurer Nancy Winkler said investors got to know city leaders better at the event.
“I don’t think investors have a very strong feel for the strength of management in the city because that’s really something that’s difficult to grasp, reading printed disclosure documents,” she said. “They definitely were able to hear the leaders.”
She dubbed the conference a “success.”
Winkler also said it enabled investors to get a deeper understanding of the city’s credit. Of the country’s five biggest cities, Philadelphia has the lowest credit rating.
A group of news organizations, including Bloomberg News, the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Associated Press, wrote a letter to Mayor Michael Nutter protesting the city’s decision to bar the press from the event. City officials maintained that it was a private conference that lacked space for media.
Critics speculate that city officials kept reporters out because they were afraid of what they might dig up about Philadelphia’s finances. But Winkler said the city is an open book, citing various documents available online.
“Anyone who wants to spend the time to go through all of the materials that are out there can understand the city’s finances,” she said.
The city also posted its conference presentations online.