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State Legislators Sue to Stop End-Run of Sugarhouse
A few weeks ago, the City's Commerce Department, with the assent of the Street Administration, including City "Solicitor" Diaz, over-stepped its bounds in awarding a submerged lands license to HSP Gaming, the entity responsible for the Sugarhouse casino. At the "hearing", both State Senator Fumo and State Representative O'Brien testified that, granting a submerged lands license would violate the sovereignty of the state legislature and would not hold up in court. It is time to find out.
Today, State Legislators representing the entire length of the Delaware River through Philadelphia filed a statutory appeal in the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania. The appeal seems to take the position that the license issued by the Commerce Department is revocable as it is not based on legal authority. Only the state legislature can convey riparian land--not the City of Philadelphia.
Presently, Sugarhouse does not own the land it wants to build on. Sugarhouse has an option for 47-48% of the land. The remaining 52-53% is riparian land and owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and held, in public trust, by the legislature for the benefit of each of us. If the City's action is allowed to stand, it would set a precedent that local governments can buck the sovereignty of the Commonwealth and can deprive it of revenue.
Read the lawsuit for yourself here.
Also, it must be noted that Senator Fumo and Rep. O'Brien organized this suit, filed by counsel Welsh and Recker and Christopher Craig (Senator's office). Other participants include Senator Stack and Reps. Keller, Taylor and Donatucci.