Rich Negrin jumps into Philly DA’s race

    Rich Negrin has his sights set on becoming Philadelphia's district attorney. (Image provided by Mark Nevins/Dover Strategy Group)

    Rich Negrin has his sights set on becoming Philadelphia's district attorney. (Image provided by Mark Nevins/Dover Strategy Group)

    Former Philadelphia city managing director Rich Negrin says it’s true: He’s running for district attorney in May’s Democratic primary.

    Negrin, a former Philadelphia prosecutor, said he brings a unique mix of legal and law enforcement experience, senior management chops, and community ties.

    Besides being Mayor Michael Nutter’s managing director, Negrin led a reform effort at the city’s Board of Revision of Taxes and served as vice chair of the city Board of Ethics from 2006 to 2010.

    Ethics and integrity could well become important issues in the campaign.

    Wounded incumbentTwo-term incumbent Seth Williams has had some pretty embarrassing episodes in recent years, from federal subpoenas served on his political action committee to the admission that he’d failed to report $160,000 worth of gifts on required financial disclosure forms.

    When I asked Negrin about the current DA, he said it’s critical for the office to maintain trust and credibility with the stakeholders in the community and justice system.

    “If that is compromised, especially from the top, it impacts the ability to obtain justice and do your job for our citizens,” Negrin said. “You know, our current DA finds himself embroiled in the kinds of controversies that are going to impact that credibility throughout all stakeholders.”

    Dan Fee, a spokesman for Williams, said in a statement that Williams has “improved the quality of cases [the office] brings, made smarter charging decisions, and repeatedly been cited for its commitment to bringing real justice to the victims of crime.”

    His journeyNegrin is a Cuban-American who grew up in Newark, New Jersey.

    At age 13, he saw his father murdered by an anti-Castro group. He said it was a formative experience, personally and professionally.

    “The first lawyer I ever met was the prosecutor who prosecuted the terrorist group that killed my dad,” he said. He said it also gave him an empathy for kids when he goes into the city’s struggling neighborhoods.

    “That experience doesn’t make me unique,” he said. “A lot of kids have seen far too much violence in our community.”

    Negrin became an All-American football player at a small college and played briefly for the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets.

    After Rutgers Law School, he became a prosecutor in Philadelphia in 1995.

    He’s currently a partner at Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell & Hippel, a law firm well-stocked with political players over the years.

    Negrin sent a campaign video to his supporters this week as he made his intention to run official.

    There are two other announced Democratic candidates — former federal prosecutor Joe Khan and former Municipal Court Judge Teresa Carr Deni.

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