Philadelphia Corruption Probe Expanding

A federal investigation into possible city government corruption has spread to a waterfront development project and the city agency responsible for it, according to a published report.

The Redevelopment Authority (search), which annually allocates millions of dollars in federal, state and city money to troubled areas, received a subpoena last week related to the Penn's Landing development, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported in Sunday editions.

"We will fully comply with the request," Herbert Wetzel, executive director of the Redevelopment Authority, said Friday. He declined to comment further.

The agency's chairman is John J. Dougherty, a close ally of Mayor John Street (search) and business manager of Local 98 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (search).

Street handily won a second term in balloting Nov. 4. His campaign came to life after an FBI bug was discovered in his office one month earlier. Street's role in the probe has never been made clear.

Also questioned by the FBI was attorney Leonard Ross, an adviser to Street and chairman of a committee that will pick the developer of Penn's Landing, a 13-acre area on the Delaware River.

Ross told the newspaper that he was asked by FBI (search) investigators about the city's plans to develop the site.

"They were very general questions," Ross said. "What the procedure was, who was on the selection committee, how was the selection committee chosen, what was the timetable, who were the participants."

Since the discovery of the bug, federal agents have taken boxes of records from three city agencies, Philadelphia International Airport, the office of lawyer Ronald A. White, and the home and offices of Imam Shamsud-din Ali, a prominent Muslim cleric and longtime Street supporter. They also sought financial records of Street and his family.

Investigators also have sought records relating to bond deals and city contracts that involve allies of Street's, including White, who had a role in both the Redevelopment Authority and the competition for the Penn's Landing (search) project, Ross said.