Vincent Cervellero returned to his Tacony home one day in 2007 to find his two hot tubs, a yet-to-be-assembled gazebo, a grill, refrigerator, bar stools and other items taken from his yard.
He later learned that members of the city's Community Life Improvement Program (CLIP), an anti-blight program, had taken his items without his permission.
Cervellero, who filed a civil claim against the city, the Department of Licenses and Inspections and CLIP, was awarded a $7,000 settlement in the case earlier this year, his attorney, Coren J. Wise, said yesterday.
Wise said that a "grouchy neighbor" had called L&I, complaining that his client's yard was an eyesore.
It was in "no way unkempt or a serious nuisance to the neighborhood," Wise said.
CLIP made news in December when then-District Attorney Lynne Abraham announced that nine people who worked as CLIP supervisors or crew members were being charged with theft, corrupt organization and related offenses.
A grand jury found that from June 2006 to January 2008, the nine conspired to steal items, including guns, cash and furniture, from five Northeast homes.
Cervellero, 46, of Tulip Street, was not a victim in one of the cases that the grand jury investigated.
Norman G. Prajzner, chief deputy city solicitor of the City Solicitor's claims unit, said yesterday that the Cervellero case was settled because of negligence, not criminal activity. The CLIP crew had removed the hot tubs and other items because they thought the stuff "was rubbish," he said.
Wise said that he didn't know why the CLIP crew took his client's items, but said he was amazed that it happened and believes that this also could have happened to others.