Skip to comments.Philly councilman says he wasn't suicidal
Posted on 10/22/2005 10:43:37 AM PDT by NormsRevenge
PHILADELPHIA - A city councilman under the pressure of a federal investigation went up to the City Hall observation deck to "clear his mind," not to kill himself as authorities feared, his spokesman said Friday.
At no time did Councilman Rick Mariano consider suicide, said the spokesman, Frank Keel. He said Mariano sought psychiatric care at a hospital after the incident.
Mariano's trip alone to the enclosed deck, 500 feet above street level, had caused a suicide scare, drawing police, fire trucks and ambulances to the landmark building.
Police Commissioner Sylvester Johnson escorted him down about two hours later. Officials said Mariano did not have a weapon and could not have jumped because the observation deck is encased in glass. However, the panes were able to open as recently as July.
Mariano, 50, had just learned that his attorney, James Becker, could no longer defend him in an investigation of his financial dealings, Keel said. He said the councilman went to the observation deck to "clear his mind in a quiet place where he could look out over the city."
Keel would not comment on the reasons for Becker's withdrawal, citing attorney-client privilege. Becker did not return a call for comment Friday.
Mariano, a 10-year councilman, had told reporters before the scare that he expected the city to stop paying his legal expenses if he is indicted, and that he would have problems paying those bills.
He and some businessmen friends received target letters this summer from federal investigators looking into the councilman's finances. Authorities are reportedly looking at whether a scrap metal company paid Mariano's credit-card bills in exchange for his help getting a tax-friendly designation in a state enterprise zone.
Rich Manieri, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia, declined comment Friday.
In a telephone interview Friday, Mariano told The Philadelphia Inquirer he had been collecting his thoughts on the observation deck and trying to get his camera to work.
"The next thing I know, the mayor's standing right next to me. He says, `What are you doing?' I say, `I'm looking at this great city,'" he told the newspaper.
He said he told the mayor, "'I'm not going to jump. How can I, anyhow? There's Plexiglas here.'"
Mariano told the newspaper he had left the hospital and was staying with a relative. Keel had earlier said the councilman was expected to remain hospitalized through the weekend.
Philadelphia City Council member Rick Mariano speaks in council chambers, Thursday, March 17, 2005, in Philadelphia. Mariano came down from the observation level of city hall, possibly after contemplating suicide, his spokesman said. 'We don't know if he was just morose or whether or not this was contemplation of suicide,' Frank Keel, Mariano's spokesman said. (AP Photo/Joseph Kaczmarek)
"'I'm not going to jump. How can I, anyhow? There's Plexiglas here.'"
He was just testing the quick response team.
If every Philly politico who was suspected of wrong doing committed suicide who would run the city?. He really let down the Philly media by not jumping. Hang in there baby!
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