Philly’s coronavirus response

‘Joel kills’: Hahnemann owner’s Philly home vandalized after coronavirus dispute

The city had considered using the former hospital for overflow space, but the asking price was too high.

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Vandalism has appeared on a Rittenhouse home owned by Hahnemann Hospital owner Joel Freedman.

The graffiti follows national reports detailing a high-profile dispute between Freedman and Philadelphia city officials over using the shuttered medical facility as a surge space for coronavirus patients.

“Free Hahnemann,” reads a tag on one side of the building, according to a photo provided to Billy Penn.

On the other corner, painted in a sloppy red scrawl: “Joel Kills.”

The photos were taken Monday morning, according to the tipster, who said police officers were seen investigating the scene.

The Philadelphia Police Department confirmed it received a report about vandalism near the area of 21st and Locust. A department spokesperson said they had “no other releasable information at this time.”

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As hospital systems brace for a surge in patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms, the city entered talks with Freedman earlier this month about leasing the 496-bed shuttered hospital on North Broad Street. But the agreement was scuttled.

Mayor Jim Kenney claimed Freedman was trying to “maximize his profits” at a time of crisis. The city instead received an offer to turn Temple University’s Liacouras Center into a 250-bed emergency hospital — free of charge, Kenney said.

Freedman disputed the city’s characterization of the failed negotiations.

Sam Singer, a representative for Freedman, said the defacement of his client’s home was unacceptable and “doesn’t solve any problems.”

“This is a sad and uncalled for act of vandalism,” Singer told Billy Penn. “Mr. Freedman and his team responded quickly to the city, and offered to lease or sell the hospital at a nominal cost — and was rebuffed by the city.”

Freedman listed his Rittenhouse townhouse for sale for $3.5 million in October after Hahnemann’s shocking closure. The property listings remain active on real estate databases, and Singer confirmed the house is still on the market.

Want some more? Explore other Philly’s coronavirus response stories.

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