The sign above Ian C. Rexach's barbershop just outside Northern Liberties proudly promises the "sharpest cuts in the city."
But when a Philadelphia Municipal Court judge found against his business in a 2012 tax delinquency case after he failed to show up in court, it was his mother - Common Pleas Court Judge Angeles Roca - who was quick with the cutting remarks.
Roca was furious with Judge Dawn A. Segal for denying her son's request to reopen his case, and called Segal's colleague - Municipal Court Judge Joseph C. Waters Jr. - to complain.
"The bitch denied it," Roca said of Segal and her refusal to accept Rexach's excuse that he mixed up the date of his hearing. "I mean, it's not a legal defense, but give me a break."
She encouraged Waters to intervene. But she did so during a phone call that was being recorded by the FBI.
Their conversation, referenced publicly for the first time in disciplinary filings last week, added another wrinkle to a case-fixing scandal that has landed three Philadelphia judges before the state's judicial ethics panel and sent a fourth to federal prison.
On Friday, the Judicial Conduct Board charged Roca with five ethics violations and moved to suspend her for improperly trying to influence her son's case.
The board is expected to present its findings next year to the Court of Judicial Discipline, which could remove her from the bench.
Roca, 60, a Democrat, did not return calls to her office at Family Court. Her lawyer, John W. Morris, also did not respond to requests for comment.
Rexach, 35, also could not be reached at his barbershop or Roca's chambers, where he works a second, $42,000-a-year job as his mother's tipstaff, or personal assistant.
The conduct board's case centers on Roca's involvement in attempting to fix her son's 2012 tax case. But the FBI transcripts quoted in the Judicial Conduct Board's filings against her show what federal prosecutors have previously described as "influence peddling" and "a brazen assault on our court system."
"I'll talk to her," Waters told Roca, promising to try to sway Segal for Rexach's benefit. "Why didn't you call me first?"
In 2012, the city sued Rexach for $5,000 in business privilege taxes he had failed to pay on his barbershop. But he missed a court date, which resulted in a default judgment against him.
Within a month of Segal's refusal to reopen Rexach's case, she abruptly reversed her ruling and granted him a new chance to plead his case.
In separate charges filed against Segal this year, conduct board lawyers allege that Waters called Segal before that reversal and asked her to look out for Rexach, whom he described as a friend. Waters allegedly followed up with a visit to her robing room to reiterate his request. And once Segal's ruling went Rexach's way, Waters' first call was to Roca.
"It's taken care of," he told her, according to the transcript. Roca replied: "All right. Cool. Thanks, baby."
The case was transferred to another judge and nine months later, Rexach won out. He never paid the $5,000 tax debt owed on Cutmasters, 511 W. Girard Ave.
Segal's lawyer, Stuart L. Haimowitz, has denied that Waters influenced his client's decisions and has said she made her ruling in Rexach's case based solely on the law.
She was suspended from active duty last year and faces her own hearing before the Court of Judicial Discipline on ethics counts tied to the Rexach case and two others the conduct board alleges Waters' urged her to fix.
Federal prosecutors have not charged Roca and Segal with crimes.
Waters, however, pleaded guilty to criminal charges in 2014 connected to two other attempts at case-fixing involving campaign donors who sought favorable treatment in civil and criminal matters. He is serving a two-year sentence at a federal prison in Kentucky.
Roca denied any attempt to influence her son's case when first interviewed by the FBI in 2013.
"We don't do that here at all," she told an agent, according to the conduct board's filings.
Two years later, federal prosecutors confronted her with the wiretap recordings. Days later, she followed up with a letter to conduct board lawyers.
She wrote: "I should have stayed out of the matter completely."