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.