By ALLYSON DAVIS – Contributing writer
Now that the Rittenhouse Square Historic District is off the market, owners will be doing their best to conserve the architectural components which were placed on it.
This is about as non- controversial as it can get, as people in the district tend to focus on the beauty of the location rather than the architecture.
A good lawyer is a lawyer first and foremost and he or she will try to argue their case either way. What happened in Drexel University’s Drexel Trial last week was well preplanned. It’s a good thing, too, as because of the court ruling (said Judge Shira Scheindlin) , there will be years of hearings before a judge.
So what did the trial accomplish? It was all about the
O.J. Simpson and the Goldman family case and the much debated murder trial.
Judge Scheindlin, after nearly four months of hearing from Drexel’s counsel, implored for the Goldman’s to let the matter rest
because if it wasn’t for the 1997 civil trial, neither families would be fighting for the money they are currently trying to collect for the killing of their father and brother.
But, there is a problem with Judge Scheindlin’s reasoning. It points the finger squarely at the district’s developer, Richard Blakely (you heard that right Mr. Blakely), who in turn points the finger at the people who hold the title to the land, the Goldmans and their lawyers.
On June 28, a citizens group started by Blakely, the Drexel Society, complained that Goldman’s attorney Gary Pasek had sought “an illegal and improper victory” in the civil case and wanted it put on hold so that the district (in favor of the Goldmans) could be built while a legal hearing is held. Pasek is claiming that, since the civil case ended four years ago, Blakely does not have the right to complain.
Judge Scheindlin seemed to agree.
She told Pasek, “The trial was on very important points that are precedent-setting issues. It was not the civil trial that established precedent here. It was the verdict in the civil trial that established the matter in the civil trial.”
Blakely admitted he felt the civil ruling damaged his position with the district property because it essentially made it a crime for him to develop it.
But, it didn’t just hurt his case, it could open the door for the district property owners to attack Blakely because of the case, too. That is very possible.
In the meantime, Judge Scheindlin left open the door for Pasek to come back with any legal issues he may have.
“I can still grant the appeal after such a definite decision,” she said.
Until this is over, both sides can claim victory while completely ignoring the real issue.