Called to Purchase

How mayor Stephen Reed shopped Harrisburg, PA, straight to hell

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It was time for Mayor Stephen Reed to have a Come to Jesus moment. Well, another Come to Jesus moment, anyway.

Staffers were tripping all over the second floor of Harrisburg’s city government building again one afternoon in the early 2000s; shipping bins had sprouted up like steroidal stalks of corn everywhere they turned.

Someone had to say something. As usual, that someone was Randy King, Reed’s silver-haired press secretary. King made the trek into Reed’s dimly lit office, which reeked of decades of stale cigarette smoke. “You’ve got to stop this, you’ve got to cut it out,” King groaned, according to court records.

The shipping bins were filled with artifacts and memorabilia—from the Civil War, most likely, or the Old West, or Yankee Stadium—that Reed had ordered by the dozens, by the hundreds, paid for with taxpayer money for both real and imaginary city museums.

To an outsider, it would have looked like the handiwork of some poor schmoe with a wicked QVC addiction. But Reed was no average guy. He was Harrisburg’s “mayor for life,” a man who had supposedly single-handedly revitalized Pennsylvania’s capital over the course of nearly thirty years in office, assuming unrivaled control of the city’s shopping list along the way. Those bins held more than rifles and old-timey portraits; by his account, they contained the seeds of future dreams and prosperity for the city.

Reed, his owlish face shadowed by a thin mustache, stared back at King. “I’m almost finished,” he said of the ever-growing collection of artifacts, which authorities would eventually find piled up haphazardly in city warehouses and the hallways of his own home.

Such are the famous last words of many a spiraling tchotchke collector, unwilling to admit he has a problem. And in this case, an entire city was unwilling to admit it too. No one was really prepared to question Reed, or to peek behind the curtain of his kindly, eccentric persona. If they had, they would have found a petty autocrat hunkered down on a pile of redevelopment schemes, mistaking hoarding for a model for governance—a scenario only too possible in municipal America, the land that term limits forgot. The artifacts? Oh, they were just the spoils of a spending bender fueled by hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. When the spree was over, Reed would end up facing hundreds of criminal charges, and Harrisburg would be left in fiscal ruin.

Recess City

The shared rise and fall of Reed and Harrisburg was decades in the making, a story of ambition and corruption that stands out even in Pennsylvania, a state that can’t go more than a few years without seeing one of its political giants succumb to arrogance, egotism, or the irresistible urge to take, take, take. As Reed prepares to finally go to trial on 114 charges, including theft, his case offers a stark reminder that the urban renewal and revitalization initiatives of the last century continue to dog our cities—and that too many of those initiatives turned out to be rip-offs, luring tourists to urban “playgrounds” at the expense of existing residents. [*]

The urban renewal and revitalization initiatives of the last century continue to dog our cities—too many turned out to be rip-offs.

Harrisburg is a small city, nestled against the east banks of the Susquehanna River, with a population that hovers just under fifty thousand. It was a complete wreck when a thirty-two-year-old Reed was voted into the mayor’s office in 1981, a drab place that was perpetually leaking residents and jobs. “Harrisburg was rated second most distressed city in the nation prior to my election as mayor under a national distress criteria,” Reed writes in an email to me in June, recycling some favorite talking points. “It was a city afraid of its own future.”

So it fell to Reed—who had decided to pursue a life in politics after soaking up the lofty political rhetoric of the 1960s as a starry-eyed teen—to create a vision for Harrisburg’s future, or at least devise a plan to pull up the city’s ratings. According to state prosecutors, in the decades that followed, Reed set out to seize the puppet strings of anyone who had a say in the city’s financial decisions.

To the public, he appeared to use this power for good. Eateries and museums cropped up, along with hotels and a university. Reed was like a gleeful patriarch who continually surprised his children with vacations and shiny new toys—just never mind about how any of it would be paid for.

One man sensed that something was off: Eric Papenfuse, a Yale grad from Maryland who currently occupies Harrisburg’s mayor’s office. Beginning in 2007, Papenfuse—then just a business owner who earned a seat on the city’s municipal board—began digging into decades of financial records. There was a bomb lurking under the city, he realized—a debt bomb of more than a billion dollars that had been building for years.

And Papenfuse noticed something else too. Reed had plowed tens of millions of dollars into a generic-sounding city fund, and its chief function seemed to be supporting his obsessive pursuit of artifacts and collectibles. Those objects were supposed to belong to the public, but some of them had a funny tendency to end up in Reed’s private possession.

Papenfuse went public with his findings. And Harrisburg shrugged. No one wanted to believe that their Capra-esque mayor had served himself instead of his office, or worse yet, that his plan for the city had delivered not rejuvenation but the mere appearance thereof.

It took Papenfuse until 2013 to find someone who took his claims seriously. And that someone happened to be the now infamous state attorney general Kathleen Kane, who was indicted by a grand jury in 2015 for going to extreme ends to chase her own obsession: tearing down prosecutors and judges who were part of a statewide pornographic email scandal. In Kane, Stephen Reed finally found someone who would call him on his bullshit, even as she wallowed in bullshit of her own.

Retail (Therapy) Politics

Reed’s ties to Harrisburg stretch back more than sixty years. His parents divorced, and his mother and her kids—Stephen, his older sister, and younger brother—moved from Chambersburg, a tiny borough thirteen miles north of the Mason-Dixon line, to Harrisburg in 1950.

He figured out his destiny pretty early on. “President John F. Kennedy’s clarion call to young Americans to become engaged in the life of their nation was a major influence in my decision, at fourteen years of age, to pursue a life of public service,” Reed says in his email. He co-founded a Teenage Democrats club, and began to appear on the media’s radar not long after he was out of school.

John Baer, a veteran political columnist at the Philadelphia Daily News, recalls running into an obviously savvy Reed while working as a young reporter at the Harrisburg Patriot-News. “He was very active in the local Democratic Party, and he would come in virtually every Sunday night with a news release about some sort of Democratic meeting or point of view,” Baer says. “He knew that Sundays were pretty slow, so there was a real good chance he’d be able to get it in the paper.”

A job with the Democratic Caucus led to his own run for office in the mid-1970s. At twenty-five, Reed won a race for state representative. He served three terms before turning his sights on the mayor’s office. It was not exactly a plum job. “Harrisburg was never a place you wanted to be on the weekends,” Baer says.

Reed, as part of a 2010 Harrisburg oral history project, described the city government he inherited as a dysfunctional operation that was primarily comprised of longtime patronage hires who had little to no direction. “I’m not joking when I say it,” he told an interviewer, “there really was no city government at the time.”

His top priority was figuring out a way to add energy and economic life to the city. To Reed, the answer was obvious: tourism. “With nearby Hershey, Gettysburg, the Pennsylvania Dutch Country and others, tourists come into the region and have every year,” he tells me. “But Harrisburg did not even marginally benefit from this.”

Like many mayors of the 1980s and ’90s, Reed promised that the outlook of his flailing small city—hurt by deindustrialization, persistent poverty, and the flight of white parents seeking racially segregated schools—could be brightened by erecting a playground of sorts.

In 1986, he lured a Double-A baseball team, the Harrisburg Senators, to City Island, a mile-long sliver of land that sits next to the city on the Susquehanna. Today it’s a charming spot for families, home to mini-golf and an arcade. Four years later, Reed convinced Hilton to plant a hotel downtown, a few blocks from the sprawling state capitol complex.

More eye-catching projects followed: a national fire-fighting museum opened in 1996; the Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts in 1999; a National Civil War Museum (Reed’s $32 million baby) in 2001; the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology in 2005. Restaurants and coffee shops sprouted up along the North 2nd Street corridor, which runs parallel to the scenic river. “He revived the city, and brought it back as a destination,” says former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell.

Reed sometimes ran unopposed for reelection, earning the “mayor for life” tag from the media along the way. And why not? The ongoing projects seemed to prove that Harrisburg was a city on the rise. But with at least 33 percent of its residents now living in poverty, according to 2014 census data, and with state-owned tax-exempt land comprising a significant portion of the capital, where was the money coming from to cover the cost of these huge efforts?

“Nobody asked those questions,” sighs Patty Kim, a Pennsylvania state representative who worked with Reed when she served as a Harrisburg city councilwoman from 2005 to 2012. “He was able to play a shell game. He always had a new project to distract people.”

Trash Money

Harrisburg’s progress toward fiscal Armageddon began in earnest in 1993, when it sold its decades-old incinerator to the Harrisburg Authority, a municipal board that was primarily tasked with overseeing city utilities, for $34 million. The board had five members, who were all appointed by Reed. The idea was that instead of shuttering the noxious dioxin-spewing trash-burner and electricity generator, flagged by the EPA as one of the dirtiest in the nation, the city would renovate and even expand it, so it could pull in trash from neighboring areas. (Even when it came to garbage, Reed yearned for more.)

The authority had to borrow millions to cover operating expenses, and then began issuing debt to refinance the borrowings. Bond sales followed, year after year. Millions more were poured into an attempt at retrofitting the incinerator to meet new EPA standards; Reed hired a Colorado company to handle the job on the cheap, even though it had no experience executing such a large project. That effort failed, and the debt on the property climbed to well past $300 million.

“In his last ten years, we had a structural deficit every year,” says Kim. And Harrisburg was regularly scrambling to acquire bridge loans just to cover its payroll, as state investigators would learn.

The incinerator wasn’t just an unmitigated financial disaster; it was an also an illustration of how a city’s fortunes can go pear-shaped in a hurry when growth-obsessed officials gamble with basic municipal services.

Critics of the project have since joked that Reed was shoveling money straight into the trash, and then lighting it on fire for good measure. In reality, the route was not quite so direct. The money-gobbling incinerator wasn’t the only problem; Reed’s shopping obsession was torching a sizeable portion of the city’s budget too, via sleight-of-hand diversions.

Thomas Mealy, whom Reed appointed to be the executive director of the Harrisburg Authority in 1990, told state grand jury investigators that the authority began diverting money in 2000 into a “Special Projects Fund” meant to be used on city services, like installing lights on the scenic Walnut Street Bridge. Instead, much of that money was spent on Reed’s growing quest to gather world-class collections of artifacts.

Reed needed the Special Projects Fund to cover his tracks. Linda Lingle, who worked for Reed for nineteen years as a city business administrator and revenue director, told state investigators that some $540,000 was drained out of the city’s general fund in 1999 to cover the cost of antiques Reed had purchased in New Mexico, including a badge, pistol, and razor that had supposedly once belonged to Wyatt Earp. That sort of withdrawal from the general fund would quickly raise eyebrows if it occurred again.

So money began to flow into the Special Projects Fund from every imaginable direction. Mealy said Reed began tacking on inexplicable “administrative fees” to the multitude of bond sales and debt that the Harrisburg Authority incurred at the mayor’s direction, and those fees were routed directly to the fund, according to the grand jury records.

The deposits were dizzying: $1.3 million from the Harrisburg Parking Authority in May 2000; another $750,000 from bonds issued on behalf of the Parking Authority in August 2001; $973,000 from the sale of a downtown garage later that same year; $175,000 from bond sales for the incinerator in August 2002.

Every aspect of city life was ripe for exploitation. In 2003, the Harrisburg Authority issued $77 million of debt on behalf of the school district, even though Mealy and other members of the board couldn’t understand why they were entangled in school affairs. The answer was in the fine print: that huge debt deal netted a $515,000 fee that went right into the Special Projects Fund to cover the cost of artifacts Reed had already purchased.

The mayor was orchestrating it all, city insiders now say.

“Obviously, everybody would know the true reality of the process was that no major decisions were made, no major bonds were issued, no financial transactions occurred, nobody was appointed as a contractor, advisor or counsel without [Reed’s] expressed or tacit approval,” Mealy told investigators, according to the grand jury records. “If Reed did not want it to happen, it would not have happened.”

History’s Carpetbag

Meanwhile, the mayor’s office was quietly filling up with shipping containers from Reed’s many artifact-hunting excursions to auction houses in Colorado, Arizona, and Montana—trips that were usually made on the city’s dime. Initially, the compulsive buying was in the name of opening the Civil War Museum, a project that became Reed’s chief passion, even though many observers questioned its necessity. “It just made no sense,” Kim says.

The money-gobbling incinerator wasn’t the only problem; Mayor Reed’s shopping obsession was torching a sizeable portion of the city’s budget too.

The handsome, two-story brick museum sits atop a hill in Harrisburg’s Reservoir Park, a ten-minute ride from downtown. Its rooms are filled with life-sized mannequins—Look, kids, you can see what it was like for blood-spattered field doctors to try and amputate a soldier’s leg!—and displays featuring everything from snare drums and bugles to surgical kits, pistols, and uniforms. The Battle of Gettysburg gets its very own gallery, but Harrisburg’s (relatively small) role in the Civil War goes mostly unexplained.

Reed tells me that two million people visit Gettysburg every year; why wouldn’t they make the thirty-eight-mile drive to Harrisburg to explore his museum? “Museums have to be a part of giving tourists things to do and see—reasons to come to Harrisburg—with the attendant economic benefits locally this represents,” he writes in an email.

Today, the Civil War Museum is mostly viewed as a bad investment for the city; under a deal worked out by Reed, the museum only pays Harrisburg a dollar—one dollar—in rent. I paid a visit to the museum on an overcast spring afternoon, following the narrative of the bloody conflict from one room to another. It’s not a bad place to kill an hour, but I was one of only a small handful of people who thought so that day. The building felt deserted, and Kim’s words echo in my head. What the hell was this museum doing in Harrisburg?

King told investigators Reed was emboldened to chase his other dreams when the Civil War Museum finally opened: a national sports hall of fame and a national museum of the Old West.

There seemed to be no public interest in the sports hall of fame—again, why Harrisburg?—but that didn’t discourage Reed from allegedly blowing $59,000 between 2007 and 2008 on Topps baseball cards, Yankee Stadium memorabilia, Negro League photos, and autographs of has-beens like Jose Canseco, according to grand jury records. You know, just in case the hall of fame idea caught on down the road.

The Old West stuff is equally eclectic. State investigators determined hundreds of items, some purchased as far back as the mid-’90s, had piled up in a former hospital-turned-storage facility, where Reed rented out a dozen rooms on the first floor. Among the treasures: $4,900 in Tombstone epitaphs; a $14,000 suit of Spanish armor; more than two dozen warrants from 1890s Texas; and $10,000 in stagecoach harnesses.

Reed, it would seem, was a reckless curator. Investigators found that he made little effort to catalog or protect his big-ticket purchases—which was odd, if they were truly meant to be put on display for people of Harrisburg at gleaming museums of tomorrow. Some items were stored in a dilapidated warehouse near the incinerator, easily accessed by birds and insects. Many artifacts rotted, including an “exquisite tapestry” that was ultimately taken over by moth larvae and transformed into “a pile of grayish goo,” according to grand jury records.

“Well, he was a strange dude,” Rendell says. “His fatal flaw was that he marched to the beat of his own drummer. A Wild West museum never made sense. He had a lot of creative ideas that he shouldn’t have pursued, and it got him in trouble.”

The Paterno Effect

It would be impressive for a politician to last more than one term if he pulled off even half of Reed’s alleged financial misdeeds. So how did Reed manage to hold onto his office for a staggering twenty-eight years?

Voters remained loyal, for one thing. Reed was a political icon, entrenched in the city that he claimed to have rescued from irrelevance. His status—while not quite equal to the cult of personality Penn State football coach Joe Paterno had built an hour or so down the road—was inviolate. He had long ago ceased to be a custodian of his office; instead, he was its avatar. Recall former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg’s controversial push in 2008 to extend the term limits on his office, and then remember that most U.S. cities, especially small ones, do not have mayoral term limits at all.

Behind the scenes, Reed was pulling maneuvers worthy of an even shrewder ’90s revitalizer: Chicago’s infamously corrupt former mayor Richard M. Daley. These maneuvers are what interested the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.

William Gretton, who served as the business administrator for Harrisburg’s school district from 2001 to 2008, told investigators that school board members who disagreed with Reed were “quickly replaced,” according to grand jury records. Gretton said he was once threatened with termination for opposing Reed on a decision.

“It was always, ‘You vote with me or you are the enemy,’” former Harrisburg City Council president Richard House told state investigators, according to the records. But Reed, apparently, had a lighter touch too. House said Reed offered him a community relations coordinator job in 2001 with the Harrisburg Senators—a position that previously didn’t exist—with the understanding that Reed was buying House’s votes, and the votes of other council members.

Two years later, when the City Council was mulling a huge vote to float more bonds for the incinerator, Reed came calling. According to the records, Reed allegedly attempted to bribe House so blatantly that House, stunned, nervously scribbled a note on a piece of paper: Are you recording this conversation? Reed wrote that he wasn’t—and then asked House whether he was recording.

Reed hired John Levenda, a former Double-A Eastern League baseball president, to be the sole employee of the nonexistent national sports hall of fame. When they traveled to Major League Baseball’s midwinter meetings, it turned into a shopping trip for memorabilia. Inexplicably, a Harrisburg police captain named Richard Pickles came too—and was regularly tasked with traveling to other states to pick up artifacts Reed had purchased at auction houses.

“He knew how to get people paid,” Papenfuse says, tapping emphatically on a small table in early May at the Midtown Scholar, a sprawling bookstore and coffee shop he and his wife own in Harrisburg’s Midtown neighborhood. “This was an extraordinarily powerful political machine that usually got its way. He figured out everyone’s price and got everyone on board.”

Reed’s Philadelphia-based attorney, Henry E. Hockeimer Jr., scoffs at this portrayal of Reed as an all-seeing and all-knowing ruler. “To single out former Mayor Reed as the fall guy for what ails the city of Harrisburg is patently unfair,” he says. “He gave his heart and soul to the city.”

For Whom the Whistle Blows

When the scope of the incinerator’s debt woes became clear in the early 2000s, Harrisburg City Council members finally realized something had to change. They battled Reed in court for the right to appoint their own members to the Harrisburg Authority. Papenfuse, the son of a former Maryland state archivist, was among a handful of outsiders appointed to the authority in 2007. He immediately began digging.

After a month of combing through handwritten records, he pieced together the big picture: Harrisburg was fucked. Everyone knew the incinerator was costing the city a fortune, but it seemed no one had done the math on the years and years of bond and debt deals that had built the city’s new attractions and also covered the cost of Reed’s artifact obsession. The total sum was north of a billion dollars—for a city with a population that couldn’t fill up a professional football stadium.

Papenfuse didn’t hesitate to blow the whistle. But people largely seemed to ignore the round, bespectacled guy with the beard and thinning hair who was warning that the sky was falling. Reed publicly scoffed at his findings. Papenfuse was like a star of a forgotten Twilight Zone episode, a well-meaning visitor trying to warn uninterested townsfolk of some sort of impending doom.

There was a brief attempt to get Papenfuse on Team Reed, one way or another. Papenfuse says a city inspector accused him of stealing electricity, and another suddenly raised questions about a garage he was building on his property. He also claims he was offered a “sweetheart” loan on a city-owned property by a Reed intermediary, in case he wanted to move his bookstore to nicer digs.

In 2013, Kathleen Kane, the state’s then-brand-new attorney general, took an interest. Kane was the Democratic Party’s rising star—she had attracted more votes in 2012 in Pennsylvania than President Obama—and would soon make headlines by uncovering a scandal now known as Porngate, in which dozens of prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement types had spent years exchanging lewd emails, all on state email servers. (“Irish Sunglasses,” went one meme, featuring a woman with a black eye. “Free pair when you forget dinner.”)

The ensuing fallout saw two state Supreme Court judges resign. And in a bizarre twist, Kane was later indicted for leaking grand jury information to a newspaper in her zeal to embarrass a former state prosecutor embroiled in the scandal. Now she faces prison time; she was convicted on perjury and conspiracy charges in August, and in October she was sentenced to ten to twenty-three months.

But whatever else Kane did, her office took the Reed case seriously, impaneling a grand jury to make sense of decades of behind-closed-doors machinations. In July 2015, Reed was indicted on 499 charges that included bribery, theft, and fraud. Kane declared it “one of the most disturbing cases of public corruption this office has investigated.” She promised that more indictments were likely, but that hasn’t come to pass. Yet.

Are You Being Served?

No matter the outcome of Reed’s trial, delayed months and now set to begin in January 2017, it seems clear that his once exquisitely shimmering legacy, much like his warehoused tapestry, has melted into goo.

Many artifacts rotted, including an “exquisite tapestry” that was taken over by moth larvae and transformed into “a pile of grayish goo.”

His political career was already finished by the time he was pancaked by that mountain of criminal charges. He lost a bid for an eighth term in 2009 to Linda Thompson, Harrisburg’s then-City Council president.

Thompson, at least, broke the “mayor for life” cycle, lasting only one term. She took heat for spending $35,000 to renovate the mayor’s office, after complaining about the inescapable cigarette odor that Reed left behind—and was replaced by Papenfuse, who was tasked with rescuing a city that had been revitalized almost into oblivion.

After flirting with filing for bankruptcy in 2011, Harrisburg entered receivership a year later. To chart a path to financial recovery, then-governor Tom Corbett brought in William Lynch, a retired Air Force major general, who more than once promised, straight-facedly, to bring to the job the skills he had picked up while reconstructing Iraq in 2006.

The goddamn incinerator was finally sold, and the city’s parking assets were leased for more than $200 million. The receivership ended in 2014. “We put the city in a position to possibly be successful,” Lynch explains to me over the phone. “However, it will require years of carefully managed and difficult budgets.”

Lynch is, not surprisingly, a no-nonsense type. He recalls having been impressed, once upon a time, by Reed’s ability to walk into a room and command attention with his breezy intelligence. Looking back on the crisis Reed brought to Harrisburg, Lynch says: “I think the crux of the problem was that he never took the hard step of governing. Nothing politically difficult ever occurred.”

For his part, Papenfuse laments the “culture of secrecy” that enveloped Harrisburg during Reed’s reign. “The system’s not designed to work like that,” he says during our meeting. A short time later, Papenfuse stunningly refused to speak to reporters at PennLive.com, the Patriot-News’s website, after complaining about their coverage of his administration. So much for change.

Down, Out, Indicted

Reed is sixty-seven now, and battling prostate cancer. He lives alone in the same three-story property that state investigators once found to be littered with dozens of artifacts, like a $19,000 bronze statue of a cowboy on a bronco and old canteens and wagon wrenches, items that were paid for by the Special Projects Fund. His defense team successfully fought to have more than three hundred of the charges he’s facing tossed; the A.G.’s office had charged Reed several months after a statute of limitations had taken effect.

Reed declines to discuss with me the allegations he’s facing, other than to say the portrait that has emerged of him as an all-controlling manipulator is “flat out incorrect.”

I ask Reed if he has any regrets, any decisions he wishes he could change. “Of course,” he writes. “Anyone saying differently would have an ego-driven confidence, or be an idiot, neither of which is good.”

He points to the positives—more than $4 billion in economic activity in Harrisburg on his watch, an increase in tax-paying businesses, and a decrease in crime. “Literally thousands of projects were accomplished over those twenty-eight years. Many were thought to have been impossible,” he says.

And former press secretary Randy King, who so often urged the mayor to curb his collecting, argues that prosecutors have painted a distorted picture of Reed and his use of the Special Projects Fund; some of the money really was spent on city needs. “He is the most honest man I’ve ever known,” King says of his old boss. While King admits he resigned over the artifact hoarding (“I couldn’t defend it any more in good conscience, since he wouldn’t stop”), he believes that the Reed he saw behind the scenes was lost in the shadows of undiagnosed depression. “The artifact purchases were the only thing that made him feel good. He’d start buying something, and his mood would elevate.”

It’s easy to pathologize Reed’s uncontrolled spending: Maybe he was overwhelmed from all of the years running Harrisburg (in the end, he served longer even than Mayor Daley, besting him by seven years), and just needed an outlet. Maybe crafty auctioneers had taken advantage of him. Maybe he was depressed. Maybe he just really, really loved old things.

Or maybe Reed’s growing pile of dead-end revitalizing fantasies, tied more to his idiosyncratic understanding of leisure than to the interests of his city, was firmly in line with late twentieth-century urban-planning trends, which held that no city was too small to bet the farm on tourism-first redevelopment projects, the benefits of which would somehow trickle down.

Either way, he still looms large in the minds of some Harrisburg residents. I meet sixty-nine-year-old Linda Springer on a summer afternoon at a tiny red and white booth on City Island, where she’s selling tickets to a nearby riverboat. Behind her, sunlight glints on the calm waters of the Susquehanna.

She’s more forgiving of Reed than law enforcement types are. Yeah, the city damn near went bankrupt, but she remembers him as the mayor who used to show up at house fires in the middle of the night. The island is humming with activity. Pockets of children are chasing after each other, lost in the rules in a made-up game, and couples are picnicking and gazing at the skyline. “Look at all of the wonderful things he did,” she says.

[*] Update: This story has been updated to include the number and kind of charges Stephen Reed faces as of December 2016. The new number is 114, and charges of racketeering have been dropped.

David Gambacorta is a senior reporter at Philadelphia Magazine.

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