Arrested development: Why ‘councilmanic prerogative’ land deals persist in Philly

Listen 13:58

When a real estate developer profited from selling properties owned by the city of Philadelphia he’d bought for a fraction of their market value, critics cried foul. The deal was rubber-stamped by the developer’s childhood friend City Councilman Kenyatta Johnson, who had used a controversial practice called “councilmanic prerogative,” which gives council members a lot of power over land deals in their districts. And it’s hardly the first such sweetheart deal the city has seen. On this episode of The Why, PlanPhilly reporter Jake Blumgart breaks down why a practice good-government groups and affordable housing advocates say is unfair and harmful to taxpayers persists.



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