Herb Denenberg, consumers’ fierce friend

    One of the first great consumer advocates in Philadelphia has died.

    Herb Denenberg was a state insurance commissioner and public utility commissioer who became a local television news reporter.

    Upon his death Thursday, friends and admirers described him as a tireless defender of the common man.

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    Herb Denenberg was literally a child of the Great Depression. He was born three weeks after the stock market crashed in 1929.

    Many Philadelphians knew him for his reports on WCAU-TV about faulty consumer products and corporate fraud. He left television in the 1990’s, but filed columns for the Bulletin newspaper right up until his death Thursday.

    The city’s director of consumer affairs, Lance Haver, said Denenberg had rare tenacity.

    Haver: “I found him to be kind and generous – he took time to explain issues if you didn’t understand them – and he was courageous in defense of regular people. He would never allow someone to be taken advantage of without challenging it, and he challenged people with a ferocity few people had.”

    Later in life, Denenberg became involved with the Tea Party movement. He died of a heart attack at the age of 81.

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