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.


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.”


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.

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