City Councilman, under fire for land deals in his district, calls for reform

Pat Loeb
December 09, 2018 - 4:00 am
Councilman Kenyatta Johnson

Pat Loeb | KYW Newsradio

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — A Philadelphia City Councilman, who's under fire for aiding city land sales to a friend, introduced bills in city council last week that might prevent similar deals in the future.  

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Councilman Kenyatta Johnson helped a childhood friend buy city-owned land for under market value and flip it for a quick profit, at the expense of taxpayers.

Johnson deflected responsibility, blaming the land sale system.

“There's a perception that the Councilman isn't doing his due diligence on behalf of his constituents, somehow in collusion with the developer, when the reality is there's a broken system that needs to be fixed.”

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One bill he introduced calls for hearings on that system. Another, introduced on behalf of the Council President, would require city approval before a developer could “resell” land bought from the city.

Johnson says he also agrees with a call from the Affordable Housing Coalition for the City Controller to investigate public land sales.

“Let's look at the system of how we go about distributing land here in the City of Philadelphia, making sure there's checks and balances.”