Possible River Wards history museum in the works
A portion of the River Wards’ history is already compiled online, at the online-only Penn Treaty Museum, penntreatymuseum.org. Now, Penn Treaty Museum Board members have launched an effort to build the brick-and-mortar Penn Treaty Educational Institute, according to PlanPhilly.
Steve Tull, vice president of archeology and architectural history for URS Corporation, said the history museum would happen “within three or for years.”
The institute would contain the history of the people of what is now Fishtown, Kensington, Northern Liberties, Port Richmond and other communities, Tull said.
John Connors, who founded the online Penn Treaty Museum, has held showings of historical items he’s collected in a building he owns at 900 E. Columbia Ave., which will likely be the Penn Treaty Educational Institute’s first home after undergoing renovations. The cost of the project has yet to be determined.
Gathering years of local history into modern displays would allow students from elementary to the graduate level to do research there, Tull said. A website with some of the digital components is expected to be finished by late summer, he said.
The online Penn Treaty Museum website also displays images of the photographs, documents and objects that would be on permanent display at the future Penn Treaty Educational Institute. ••
Port Richmond and Kensington ‘slumlord millionaire’ gets six years
The Philadelphia Daily News reported Friday that Robert N. Coyle, Sr., “a notorious Philadelphia slumlord” was sentenced to six years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised realease, for defrauding banks of more than $10 million.
Coyle grew up in Kensington only to become a landlord there. In 1997, Coyle operated Landvest and a reported nine other companies out of a row home office in Port Richmond. He rented out nearly 300 homes and obtained more than $15 million in bank loans. He offered low-income people rent-to-own agreements along with rent agreements, and lied to banks about property titles and income from homes, The Daily News reported.
Coyle pleaded guilty to two counts of loan fraud in October 2012, and was ordered to pay $6.5 million in restitution, but told the court he is “broke.” He must report to prison July 8.
In a statement released by the office of Councilwoman María Quiñones Sánchez, (D-7th dist.) Jennifer Kates, Esq. said, “I hope this case is influential in deterring similar activities by Mr. Coyle and others in the future, and hope that scrutiny is extended as well to the lending practices that facilitated this incredibly destructive scam.” ••
Former ‘hero’ cop from Port Richmond charged with rape
A former Philadelphia police officer once called a hero and given a seat next to Michelle Obama at a speech by the President has been arrested and charged after police say he raped two women at gunpoint, according to CBS Philly.
Authorities say that former officer Richard DeCoatsworth, who lives on the 2700 block of Salmon Street, left a party with two women early Thursday and took them to another location, where they allege that he pulled out a handgun and “forced the two females to engage in the use of narcotics and sexual acts.”
A police spokeswoman said the two called police after he left, and the 27-year-old DeCoatsworth was later arrested. DeCoatsworth was arraigned Saturday night on charges including rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, trafficking of persons, false imprisonment and aggravated assault.
His bail was set at $60 million, according to the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office.
DeCoatsworth was hailed as a hero in 2007 after he was shot in the face with a shotgun during a traffic stop but still was able to chase down the suspects as they fled, CBS Philly reports.
DeCoatsworth was invited by Vice President Joe Biden to attend the president’s televised February 2009 address to Congress and sat with First Lady Michelle Obama. WCAU-TV, which first reported his arrest, said DeCoatsworth retired from the department on disability in December 2011.
Law enforcement sources told The Daily News that DeCoatsworth was arrested about 6:30 a.m. Saturday inside a house on Almond Street near Somerset in Port Richmond.
The former cop has also been accused of harassing a couple in Port Richmond in January 2012, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Officers raided DeCoatsworth’s house, where they found guns and drugs, according to police sources. It was unclear what the drugs were at that time. ••
-Compiled by Mikala Jamison