|By Edward Colimore, The Philadelphia Inquirer|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
During two mayoral terms, starting in 1973, he built a reputation as an unflagging booster for his hometown, where his father, a Neapolitan immigrant, stoked coal at the shipyard to feed seven children.
His story will be told in the film American Hustle, scheduled for release in December. He will be portrayed by
"He exemplified what a mayor should be," said
"I learned [from him] to love the people," said Faison, who spent 16 years on
"Having known him from the time I was a teenager, he was a larger-than-life political and governmental leader in this region and the state," said Norcross, whose younger brother, Donald, now holds the
"I would say his political genius was, in part, the reason southern
"He had much to do with public transportation funds, funds for universities, particularly
He served as the unwitting liaison between federal agents masquerading as wealthy Arabs and public officials on the take. The fake sheikhs gave them hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes for their influence in purported U.S. investments.
In the first of a few appearances before the
During the Abscam trials of 1980 and '81,
Of the Abscam defendants, "I was first in and last out," the perennially dapper
"I'm free and clear in every respect. . . . Whatever grandiose power I had or did not have, it's over. I regret my involvement and the mistake I made," he said.
Any mistakes were history Friday as
"He treated everybody he encountered in a warm and personal manner and he strongly believed in making sure our residents were engaged in governmental and community activities," she said.
Born into Depression-era poverty,
After working in a family dry-cleaning store and running a real estate and insurance business,
By 1961, he had gotten his first tantalizing taste of politics as administrative assistant to Mayor
"I would say his greatest achievement was prior to becoming mayor, when he was instrumental and played a major role in quelling rioting in
Elected mayor in 1973,
"I thought we should increase taxes, and he absolutely refused to do it. . . . People loved him," Cinaglia said.
In the wake of Abscam,
In recent years, Faison said, she met
Inquirer staff writer
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