In the latest salvo in the legal war over construction of a Family Court building, a developer says the Philadelphia Parking Authority and city courts are working together to unfairly dump him from the project.
Lawyers for Conshohocken developer Donald Pulver say he also is still owed a $1.6 million development fee from the courts. Pulver was booted from the $200 million project after The Inquirer reported that he had a side deal to share development fees with lawyer Jeffrey B. Rotwitt, who was also being paid to represent the courts.
In motions filed Wednesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Pulver's lawyers said he was a victim of "private machinations" and "trumped-up charges" aimed at winning control of the real prize in the case: a nearly completed set of architectural plans for the courthouse, planned for 15th and Arch Streets.
The architects, EwingCole, were paid with $6 million in court money. But Pulver has a contract with EwingCole that says he owns the plans, which he has copyrighted.
In an effort to retain control of the site and the architectural plans, Pulver filed a bankruptcy case on behalf of a company he formed to build the courthouse.
The Parking Authority owns the site, but it granted development rights to Pulver seven years ago before terminating them on May 26.
Representatives of the authority and the courts say there's no coordinated strategy.
"I don't tell them what to do and they don't tell my client what to do," said William Schorling, a lawyer representing the courts.
"We're interested in seeing Family Court built," he said. "I think everybody in Philadelphia shares that interest."
Parking Authority executive director Vincent J. Fenerty Jr. said his agency was simply trying to get back the development rights "so that we can move on with this project."
Pulver's lawyers want to delay a hearing on the request for the drawings, now scheduled for Aug. 17.