Philadelphia mayoral candidates quarrel over proposed Sixers arena

As excitement builds for the 76ers upcoming playoff run, those vying to be the next mayor of Philadelphia are voicing their opinions on a controversial proposal to build a new arena in Center City.

Discourse about the proposed Chinatown arena was one of several highlights from FOX 29's Democratic Mayoral Debate held Tuesday night at Temple University's Liacouras Center. 

Candidate Helen Gym said she met with the land developer to convey her message that billionaires are not deserving of public subsidies. 

Gym also attacked fellow candidate Jeff Brown, who supports the proposed project. Brown, who founded a grocery store chain Brown's Super Stores, is embroiled in legal action by Philadelphia's ethics board which claims he broke campaign finance rules by working with an outside spending group. 


"I did not collude with them and when we go to court that will be found out," said Brown when asked by FOX 29's Jeff Cole about the allegations during Tuesday night's debate. 

Meanwhile, the Executive Director of Philadelphia's Board of Ethics Shane Creamer says their investigation "speaks for itself," adding that Brown allegedly coordinated with the Super PAC and a 501C4. 

A city judge will hear the case in late-April, just weeks before the Philadelphia Democratic primary election for mayor. The Board of Ethics says an unnamed Philadelphia sports team contributed anonymously to the outside spending group supporting Brown. 

"I have no knowledge of who contributed," Brown said Tuesday. "I don't think it was the Sixers, but I don't know, and it wouldn't matter anyway."

A spokesperson for the Sixers would not comment Wednesday, but they pointed to a rally held by three area trade groups - including the carpenters and general contractors - who want to see the Sixers new arena happen.