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Casino applicant Bart Blatstein turns heads at political fundraiser

And get ready for Lights-Camera-Brady! as a reality show about Philadelphia's Democratic chairman is pitched to networks.

STATE SEN. Dominic Pileggi's campaign committee held a fundraiser last week in Philadelphia with nearly 200 people packed into a hotel conference room.

One of them stood out.

Developer Bart Blatstein roamed the event, held at the Hyatt at the Bellevue on South Broad Street, with well-connected local attorney Bill Sasso.

Blatstein, one of six bidders for the city's remaining casino license, is prohibited by law from making campaign contributions.

Sasso, who was listed in the "Leader's Circle" hosting the Pileggi fundraiser, is also registered with the state Gaming Control Board as a representative of Blatstein's casino application.

We spoke to four people who attended Pileggi's funder - two who saw Blatstein at the event and two who did not but heard the room buzz with chatter as people wondered aloud why a casino applicant was there.

Pileggi's campaign committee confirmed Blatstein attended the event but said he did not make a contribution. The campaign committee said it considered Blatstein to be Sasso's guest at the event, which raised more then $500,000.

Blatstein at first denied attending the fundraiser, saying, "I was not part of that." He later said he only stopped by to see Sasso and didn't see or speak to Pileggi while there.

"I was there for probably 10 to 15 minutes," Blatstein said.

Sasso said he needed to speak with Blatstein and suggested they meet at the fundraiser.

"He wasn't a guest of mine," Sasso said. "He was meeting me there."

Sasso also said he didn't think Blatstein's appearance at a political fundraiser was a problem.

Blatstein has applied to convert the former home of the Daily News, Inquirer and at Broad and Callowhill streets into the Provence, a casino complex that includes restaurants, nightclubs, shopping and a hotel.

Sasso served as master of ceremonies in October when Blatstein held a swanky party to announce his casino plans. Sasso is part of a team with close ties to Gov. Corbett assembled by Blatstein to help him win the license.

Sasso was co-chairman of the transition team when Corbett took office in 2010.

Lights, camera, Brady!

We had front-row seats six months ago when a camera crew shadowed U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, Philadelphia's Democratic Party chairman since 1998, as part of a potential reality television show.

Brady did not exactly take to the camera as it followed him around the Famous 4th Street Deli during the 2012 general election. In fact, he looked quite miserable under the microscope.

The camera crew, supervised by Larry Platt, a former editor of the Daily News and Philadelphia magazine, eventually had eight to 10 hours of footage over several days in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., Brady said.

They distilled that to a four-minute "sizzle reel," an industry term for a video to pitch a show.

So far, Brady said, CNN and Netflix have expressed interest.

"Nothing ceases to amaze me anymore," he said. "I don't even know why I did it. But it was fun."

Platt said eight to 10 networks are considering the show - working title: "The Last Boss" - but he declined to identify them.

And Platt said he thinks Brady "secretly liked" being filmed.

"It was fun hanging out with him," Platt said. "He's such a character."


"The personal attacks in the media [on] my husband and family."

- Gov. Corbett's wife, Susan Corbett, responding to this question from "The worst thing anyone said or did to you is . . ." yesterday announced that the Corbetts will be contributing columns to the web site's "New Voices" section.

Phone: 215-854-5973

On Twitter: @ChrisBrennanDN