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Fralinger Fire: Garage Owner Has Troubled History As Landlord

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The Fralinger String Band, one of the winningest in the history of Mummery, has vowed to put the pieces back together after a four-alarm fire destroyed their parade finery that had been stashed in a garage-warehouse at Second and Wharton.

The garage is owned by Joseph Sigismondi, who wasn't licensed to do car repair there, despite the fact that he'd been doing so for several years (not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, however). The property was delinquent: Sigismondi owed thousands of dollars in back taxes and the garage was set to go to sheriff's sale. As the Metro writes: "It is unclear ... if the past violations had anything to do with the fire." Well, that's an implication of a kind.

Philadelinquency's blogger and tenants rights crusader has a cheat sheet, of a sort, regarding how to tell if a landlord is a deadbeat. He explains how to do a Municipal Court Docket search, and says:

"If you see a lot of cases where the City of Philadelphia is suing the property owner, RUN AWAY....Most very bad landlords have a paper trail at Municipal Court [which is] is one of the best resources you can use to help ferret out the bad apples and find yourself a good, fair, and legitimate landlord." Sigismondi has been sued dozens of times by the city. Did the Fralinger String Band simply trust Sigismondi because he was from the neighborhood? And, it should be said, that even if he was a delinquent landlord, that may have nothing to do with the fact that the building went up in flames. Some people are just unlucky.
· Fire destroys garage housing Mummers parade day props, unlicensed auto shop [Metro]
· Landlord Background Check [philadelinquency]