Philadelphia News & Search
You know Jerry Blavat is the Geator With the Heater, the Boss With the Hot Sauce, the Man With the Plan.
But have you heard that the oldies disc jockey is also a “special deputy sheriff”? Yep. With a very official-looking badge. That he places on his car dashboard when he parks.
“My man, pots and pans!” Blavat greeted Clout on the phone last week.
A curious tipster sent us a photo of Blavat’s “Geator Mobile” parked (possibly illegally) in South Philly with a gold sheriff’s badge on the dashboard next to his media credentials.
In the badge holder, there’s also a sheriff’s photo of Blavat (wearing a hat and what may or may not be a tank top) above the words special deputy.
Why would Blavat – who has been palling around with mob bosses and other underworld figures for most of his life – have a sheriff’s badge? Good question, tipster.
“For my birthday, the sheriff made me a deputy sheriff,” Blavat explained. “That had to be about six years ago.”
The Geator said he believed he got the badge from (currently indicted) ex-Sheriff John Green. But a Daily News gossip column item penned by Dan Gross in 2011 reported that then-Sheriff Barbara Deeley gave it to Blavat for his 71st birthday at Memories in Margate. Apparently, city Democratic boss Bob Brady was involved.
When we asked Blavat what the badge is for, he was vague.
“I’m an entertainer,” he said. “I know Frankie Valli was made a deputy sheriff of New York. It was like an honor.”
The New York City Sheriff’s Office didn’t respond to a request for comment Thursday, but back here in Philadelphia, Sheriff Jewell Williams says he’s done giving out these stinkin’ badges for now. His spokesman Joseph Blake said the office “suspended the gesture last year.”
“The badges are strictly ceremonial, and recipients are explicitly told by the sheriff that if used in a manner that implies the bearer is a law enforcement officer, they will be subject to prosecution and the badge will be taken away,” Blake said.
We asked if these special deputies get any parking leniency if, say, they put the badge on their dashboard.
“Absolutely not,” Blake said.
A source familiar with the badge program said Williams – who gave Nicki Minaj a badge in 2012 – decided to suspend the practice because “they’re a pain in the ass.”
If you give one away, then Joe Knucklehead who worked for your campaign calls and says he wants one, too. Soon, everyone wants a badge for who-knows-what. And, yes, sometimes people abuse them, the source said.
But, then again, what’s the point of having a badge if you can’t flash it once in a while? Isn’t that what badges are for?
Another PPA shake-up?
Sounds as if Clarena Tolson’s days may be numbered at the Philadelphia Parking Authority.
The Inquirer and Daily News are reporting that the PPA posted a job notice on its website Wednesday seeking applicants to run the 1,100-employee agency.
Tolson, a Democrat from Mayor Kenney’s administration, was hired in October to replace Vince Fenerty, the Republican ward leader who quit amid a sexual-harassment scandal (but who managed to secure 15 years of free health care on his way out the door).
Tolson is technically the interim executive director, but sources tell us she had boldly announced to staff that she intended to be the permanent boss. “It was very Trump-like,” said a reliable source.
Some of Tolson’s recent personnel decisions angered the Republican-controlled board. Now, she seems to have fallen out of favor.
“It happened pretty suddenly,” said the source, who previously has dished accurate dirt about the PPA.
Clout will give you 12-1 odds against Tolson keeping the executive director job. Long shot. But if you think we’re wrong, we’ll take your money, no problem.
Rookie mistake, Stack
Smart military commanders and political consultants always ask themselves one key question before any engagement with the enemy: “What is my exit strategy here?”
That went unasked and therefore unanswered Wednesday, when Lt. Gov. Mike Stack was pinned down in an ambush of his own making.
Stack, whom we call “the Consigliere” for his gangster chic fashion sense and aura of whimsical aggression, was trying to flank the odd scandal of an investigation into how mean he and his wife are to state troopers and the staff at his official residence.
So he called a news conference to answer questions. That makes sense. This doesn’t: Stack held the conference at his own desk in his ornate Capitol office. Literally backed himself into a corner.
The questions came fast and furious and didn’t stop when Stack’s staff repeatedly implored the gathered reporters with “last question.”
Trapped, Stack had to retreat.
“I guess I’ll go this way,” he said, exiting his office … onto a balcony.
Get your Clout swag
Announcement: We recently uncovered a trove of Clout magnets from back in the day. One will be gifted, as a token of our appreciation, each time a tipster provides a lead item for the column. Sorry, we’re all out of badges. Email your tips to email@example.com or call one of us.
Staff writers William Bender, Chris Brennan, and Julia Terruso contributed to this column.
Philadelphia News & Search