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COMMONWEALTH v. NATIONAL LAND AND INVESTMENT COMPANY (03/24/72)

decided: March 24, 1972.

COMMONWEALTH
v.
NATIONAL LAND AND INVESTMENT COMPANY, APPELLANT



Appeals from order of Court of Common Pleas, Trial Division, of Philadelphia, Oct. T., 1969, Nos. 2893 to 2896, inclusive, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. National Land and Investment Co.

COUNSEL

Raymond J. Bradley, with him Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen, for appellant.

James D. Crawford, Deputy District Attorney, with him Martin H. Belsky and Milton M. Stein, Assistant District Attorneys, Richard A. Sprague, First Assistant District Attorney, and Arlen Specter, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Wright, P. J., Watkins, Montgomery, Jacobs, Spaulding, and Cercone, JJ. (Hoffman, J., absent). Hoffman, J., took no part in the consideration or decision of this case. Dissenting Opinion by Cercone, J. Spaulding, J., joins in this dissenting opinion.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 221 Pa. Super. Page 144]

The appeals are quashed.

Disposition

Appeals quashed.

[ 221 Pa. Super. Page 145]

Dissenting Opinion by Cercone, J.:

I dissent.

This is an appeal from the lower court's refusal to quash indictments which defendant contends were based on improper recommendations of the investigating grand jury convened in Philadelphia in April 1969, upon petition of Philadelphia's District Attorney. The District Attorney's petition asked for the impaneling and charge of a grand jury to investigate, inter alia, the actions of various named and unnamed officers and officials of the City of Philadelphia, with others "to give away without lawful justification property and assets of the City of Philadelphia" with respect to "1500 Market Street Project."*fn1 The petition alleged in paragraph 33 thereof: "The said officials, some of whom are known, and some of whom at this time to your Petitioner are unknown, and others, during the year 1969, at the County of Philadelphia and within the jurisdiction of this Court, did improperly agree to act, pursuant to their official positions, to accomplish the payment of $600,000 from the City Treasury, for the improper purpose of gratuitously enriching the stockholders of National Land and Investment Company and Properties Investment Corporation; did improperly agree to act, pursuant to their official positions, to relieve

[ 221 Pa. Super. Page 146]

National Land and Investment Company from its legal obligation to pay all land acquisition costs in the '1500 Market Street' Project, for the improper purpose of gratuitously enriching the stockholders of National Land and Investment Company and Properties Investment Corporation; did improperly agree to act pursuant to their official positions, to relieve National Land and Investment Company from its obligation to furnish a surety bond in the aforesaid '1500 Market Street' Project, for the improper purpose of benefiting the stockholders of National Land and Investment Company and Properties Investment Corporation, and others; and did improperly agree to take other actions, some of which are known and some of which at this time to your Petitioner are unknown, for the improper purpose of benefiting various parties in interest, some of whom are known, and some of whom at this time to your Petitioner are unknown." (Emphasis supplied.)

Paragraphs 33 to 41 of the petition relate to the 1500 Market Street Project and describe the difficulty the District Attorney had in securing information which was being concealed by personnel of the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Philadelphia and which was necessary for a complete and thorough investigation of the 1500 Market Street Project and that the District Attorney's efforts at such investigations were frustrated by principals of the two defendant corporations.

In its conclusion, the petition noted the need for an investigating grand jury to investigate the criminal violations because of the nature of the crimes and the involvement of public officials and the need to aid the public welfare.

As already stated, the prayer of the petition was granted and an investigating grand jury was convened on April 8, 1969, and charged by the Honorable Joseph Sloane as to its duties and responsibilities.

[ 221 Pa. Super. Page 147]

On October 21, 1969, the investigating grand jury, after the taking of testimony, made its presentment with respect to the 1500 Market Street Project, and recommended that the following Bills of Indictment be prepared against National Land ...


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