By Walt Hunter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — CBS 3 has learned the owners of a vacant Kensington warehouse where two firefighters died and two others were hurt during an April 9th 5-alarm fire have now been subpoenaed to appear before a Grand Jury investigating the deadly blaze.
Documents filed by an attorney for the building’s owners state, “Grand Jury subpoenas have been served on Yechiel and Nahman Lichenstein. Thus, the Defendants have become the focus of a Grand Jury investigation.”
The court filing was part of the first hearing in the efforts of the victims’ family’s attorneys to learn more about the owners’ businesses and financial dealings.
Attorney Joel Rosen, who represents the family of deceased firefighter Daniel Sweeney, told a judge the owners were playing a “financial shell game,” trying to hide their assets.
Rosen, along with attorney Tom Sheridan, who represents the family of the second firefighter who died, Lt. Bob Neary, says they are seeking the information to use as possible evidence for upcoming civil lawsuits.
Attorney Josh Greenbaum, who represents the owners, argued before the judge that information revealed in civil court at this time could be used as evidence against his clients as part of the ongoing Grand Jury investigation.
The judge, after hearing arguments, took the case under advisement.
Following the hearing, Greenbaum had no comment to questions about the owners, their assets or when they might be willing to answer questions about the warehouse–a building that city officials claim was allowed to deteriorate into hazardous conditions.
The Lichensteins are not charged with any wrongdoing, and according to testimony in court, they have not received any official notification from prosecutors that they are the targets of an investigation.