Lehigh Valley

Hyman says he'll speak to city council, make case "abundantly clear"

Next council meeting scheduled for Wednesday.

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A former candidate for mayor of Allentown is planning to address days of criticism from the community over a fire-ravaged warehouse he owns.

Owner Nat Hyman says he will go before City Council next Wednesday to make his case "abundantly clear."

Hyman says not only has the fire at 418 N. Franklin St. last weekend taken an emotional and financial toll on him but so has the response.

Allentown Mayor Ray O'Connell said at Wednesday's City Council meeting, "We as a city will do anything and everything in our power through legal measures to ensure that all costs are recovered. Mr. Hyman, this is not a threat it's a promise."

Hyman says the building had no electricity, running water, sewage or gas so the fire had to be set intentionally or someone broke in and set it by mistake. When asked if he had any thought on who might have set it on fire on purpose he said "I do and I'm working with the police on who I think it is."

Hyman says he has given investigators a person of interest, motive and potential evidence although he would not share his information with us. He did explain why he did not have insurance saying it would have cost more than the warehouse itself but says he knew the risk.

"I never in a million years imagined a scenario and frankly I've never heard of a scenario where a government authority, a municipality, a city would enter in to private property and then have to demolish a building," said Hyman.

Hyman says he will explain his feelings about the demolition at the next city council meeting, but wants to remind everyone he's one of Allentown's biggest taxpayers.

"As a city taxpayer, I am very sensitive to our tax dollars being spent and it's no secret I was a mayoral candidate and I ran on the premise that our tax dollars have to be spent wisely," said Hyman.

Hyman claims to have lost in excess of a million dollars due to the fire but as of now so have the taxpayers.

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