By Chris Stigall

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Chris Stigall spoke with Phil Kerwick, the owner of the Blasius Chocolate Factory in Kensington, Thursday morning on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT.

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City officials shuttered the business on Wednesday, claiming they are owed $12,000 in back taxes.

Kerwick says his case is emblematic of the problems with city government.

“This city has become the third world. At my business, the street people leave their blankets, they live on my property, and they urinate and defecate. I begged and begged the police department. I went to the Police Commissioner asking for help to clean up the neighborhood. Yesterday, four or five police cars from the 24th district to shut me down in a dispute that I’ve been denied due process and the rule of law.”

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He contends the city is overcharging him because his business does not operate for the entire year.

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“I dispute the taxes they’re saying that I owe. They’re mostly use and occupancy tax. My business is only open half the year. This horrible city solicitor refuses to give me a determination on how I fill out the forms and pay this tax, whether I’m responsible when the store is not open.”

Kerwick alleges local politicians are out to get him over past political differences when he was a local ward leader.

“It started with Mr. Michael Meehan. I refused to support the corrupt councilman at the time, Jack Kelly, for re-election. So Mr. Meehan made a fraudulent campaign into my divorce. He actually testified in court that I was a danger to kill my children.”

He is angry that his business was closed this week, in particular, heading up to Easter.

“I expect my day in court. I can’t believe that this mayor of this city would take away these kids Easter. This is a dispute over $12,000.”

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