June 14: Uber CEO takes leave | Dirty Frank’s | $1.2 billion in PA tax liens

Uber announced on Tuesday that Travis Kalanick will take a leave of absence as CEO amid sweeping organizational changes in management structure and company culture, Bloomberg reports. Upon his return, the board will strip him of some duties by giving certain CEO job responsibilities to a yet-to-be hired chief operating officer. More than 20 people have been fired as a result of a probe into allegations of harassment, discrimination and an aggressive culture, including Emil Michael, Uber’s head of business, while 31 employees were sent to counseling.

Meanwhile KPCC reports that ride-hailing competitors have swooped into major cities, “trying to take advantage, growing ridership and inking technology deals and investments.” Lyft announced Monday a $25 million investment from Jaguar-Land Rover, and also signed a deal with Waymo, Google’s former autonomous car operation. Economic development experts comment that Uber’s rocky growing pains are not uncommon. “We do see sometimes a startup mentality in the early years of a company’s growth where they have difficulty sometimes adjusting to being a huge enterprise,” said Lisa Klerman, a USC law professor and employment law mediator.

If Louis Silverman founded Dirty Frank’s, why is the beloved watering hole on 13th and Pine not called Dirty Louis’s? Urban folklore tells us that Frank Vigderman, a Ukrainian immigrant and second owner of the bar, “always wore the same clothes and had bad hygiene, giving Dirty Frank’s its legendary name.” Hidden City’s GroJLart peels back the layers of stickers and looks into the bar’s 80-year history.

Pennsylvania’s fourth-ever tax amnesty program, which allows “60 days for some 860,000 delinquent taxpayers to pay their back taxes without penalty while paying just half of the interest they owe,” is set to end Monday, PennLive reports. Currently, these tax liens amount to more than $1.2 billion in unpaid back taxes and associated penalties; the top offenders include Public Service Enterprise Group with a $6.2 million tax lien, GTE Wireless Incorporated with two liens from last year totaling $5.8 million, and T-Mobile with three liens totaling $3.2 million.

Would-be medical marijuana dispensaries and distributors in Pennsylvania may quickly confront cash problems. Billy Penn reports that while the Obama administration released “a guidance that indicated banks can probably avoid being punished for working with marijuana-related businesses in states that have legalized the use of the drug,” there’s no guarantee that the Trump administration will concur. Accordingly, the majority of banks, credit unions, and credit card companies won’t provide marijuana businesses with financial services, leaving them with a lot of cash on hand and vulnerable to burglaries.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering a bill that would “encourage the state Commissioner of Community Affairs to help towns deal with the selection process and liability issues of having artists display work in the windows of vacant stores,” NewsWorks’ Phil Gregory reports. The pop-up model, often with events and art installations in vacant storefronts or lots, have been a common short-term tactic to highlight a space, help towns promote local art, and reinvigorate their commercial districts. In Philadelphia these initiatives are often programmatically helmed and financed by the local business improvement district or non-profit partner. New Jersey’s initiative, however, would be state-wide and supporters are hoping the state will fund the program.

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