PHILADELPHIA – A city councilman was indicted on federal fraud and bribery charges Tuesday, five days after he was talked down from the City Hall observation deck.
Rick Mariano (search), 50, was accused of giving favors to friends and businesses that paid his personal expenses. Prosecutors said he helped one business receive a tax break and gave another help on buying city property.
Four others were charged along with Mariano.
On Thursday, Mariano climbed alone to the City Hall observation deck, 500 feet up, causing a suicide scare that drew police and firefighters. The police commissioner escorted him down about two hours later. Mariano spent two days in a hospital.
The councilman's spokesman later said Mariano went to the deck to "clear his mind," not to kill himself. Officials said Mariano could not have jumped because the observation deck is encased in glass.
Mariano knew he was under federal investigation and had just learned that his previous attorney could no longer defend him, his spokesman said.
Mariano's lawyer promised that the former union electrician would fight the charges.
"I'm going to go look at the indictment, and then I'll begin to fashion what I think is an appropriate defense," Nino Tinari said. "We'll see who's swinging at us and who's not, and I'll go from there."
The 10-year councilman told reporters before the scare that he expected the city to stop paying his legal expenses if he were indicted, and that he would have problems paying those bills. Mariano makes about $100,000 a year as a councilman. Unlike some colleagues, he does not have another job.