When “It’s Our Money” started asking questions in March, officials insisted that the city doesn’t pay utility bills for Water Works Restaurant & Lounge, a private business owned by the politically-connected Michael Karloutsos.
The high-end eatery leases space in a historic city-owned building near the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It has crystal chandeliers, $39 dinner entrées, and an outdoor deck with a stunning view of the Schuylkill River.
Why would the fancy place need taxpayers to cover its bills? Robert Allen, Parks & Recreation’s property and concessions management director, initially said the city wasn’t and first deputy commissioner Mark Focht said he didn’t “know of any facilities in Parks & Recreation’s system where the city is paying utilities for for-profits.”
But, after probing by “It’s Our Money,” the city has acknowledged that taxpayers have footed the hefty bill for Water Works Restaurant for the majority of its six-year existence and the Nutter administration has launched an investigation.