They say inquiring minds want to know, and there are few minds as inquiring as Ralph Cipriano’s.
Ralph Cipriano is Larry Krasner’s worst nightmare (Photo: Stu Bykofsky)
His long journalistic career as a muckraking reporter was capped by two things — pulling back the curtain on corruption in many institutions, including the Catholic Church, and by suing the Philadelphia Inquirer when one of its editors provided libelous quotes about the truthfulness of Cipriano’s work to the Washington Post.
Since such a comment could have ended his career, Cipriano did what any angry man would do and sued, The Inquirer settled for an undisclosed sum paid to Cipriano, and issued a public apology from the editor.
[Personal disclosure: Two decades later, I sued the Inquirer and staffer Inga Saffron for defamation. A jury found Saffron’s statements to be “outrageous,” and fined both her and the newspaper in December 2022.]
Putting daily journalism behind him, Cipriano became an author, and then the architect of BigTrial.net, a website supported by James Beasley’s law firm, reporting on legal issues and trials. Cipriano eventually broke from the law firm and continued the blog, last year bringing it to substack.
Cipriano’s forte is criminal justice and police, and he has more cop sources than Dick Tracy.
He is conservative, and has been Philadelphia’s worst nightmare for progressive D.A. Larry Krasner from the day he took office and fired almost three dozen veteran prosecutors, and then announced a long list of crimes he would no longer prosecute.
In “The Godfather” movies, you may recall certain gentlemen suffered from “a stone in my shoe” that they wished to be removed. Sometimes by a bullet behind the ear, sometimes by a garrote.
Krasner has police officers charged with removing the reporter when he gets annoying. Two officers, Cipriano learned through an Open Records request, maintain a “working file” on this gadfly reporter, as if he were a criminal menace.
At news conferences, Krasner simply walks away (or runs away), from legitimate questions asked by a legitimate, if hostile, reporter. Most of the rest of the press corps, according to Cipriano, are there to administer belly rubs.
To be fair, on occasion, they take a bite out of Krasner, as detailed here, about chaos in the DAO — District Attorney’s Office.
That’s once in a Blue Moon, while Cipriano was filing reports weekly if not more.
At my request, Cipriano provided a Greatest Hits List on the twice-elected (non)prosecutor. The document reveals a stunning amount of work and makes you wonder why so much of this reporting is seen nowhere else.
When I was still at the Daily News and Inquirer, Krasner’s useless director of communications, Jane Roh, was incommunicado. Her wall-building and boss-shielding is particularly hypocritical and despicable from, Roh, a former reporter, who went from shining a light on facts to throwing a basket over them. A DAO assistant, Cameron Kline, was sometimes available, but the office cold-shouldered anyone not seen as “friendly” and Kline couldn’t take it any more and eventually left
Obstruction is not how it’s supposed to work, so last July Cipriano started attending DAO weekly news conferences. He did that, he says, because for three years Krasner and Roh ignored his emailed questions. Three years.
Even in person, Krasner “made a habit of ignoring me and my questions. This is called viewpoint discrimination, and it’s unconstitutional,” says Cipriano, who adds he was twice escorted out by Krasner’s security detail.
A regular news conference attendee, who spoke on condition of anonymity confirms what Cipriano says.
Krasner “used to block him off for weeks on end,” but finally took questions from Cipriano — but always last.
“So he could offer a plausible answer and then walk away,” making it impossible for Cipriano, or anyone else, to ask a follow up question, which Cipriano always had. “He scripted his questions,” said the other reporter, who described the process as an “arm wrestling contest.”
Cipriano, he says, is “opinionated,” but also “a legend.”
Does he get out of line?
“No, he just wants and deserves, an answer” to his questions.
Those questions are often off-topic, says another reporter who attends most news conferences. “He’s pushy and rude, but I don’t think that makes him out of line. I think it is Krasner who is out of line to walk out in a huff, like he often does, while being grilled by Ralph.”
He adds that Cipriano is more of a columnist, with a point of view, than a straight news reporter.
Cipriano’s latest crusade concerns an allegation that Krasner covered up a report of domestic abuse involving Leigh Owens, his director of community engagement, and a subordinate, paralegal Corinne Buda, with whom he was having an affair.
Owens later surfaced, Cipriano reported, as the campaign director for mayoral candidate Helen Gym, who refused to answer questions about Owen, as did Krasner.
When Cipriano asked Krasner why he didn’t follow a Mayoral executive order that all complaints of sexual harassment must be reported, Krasner ducked.
Cipriano is pissed that the mainstream media lets Krasner get away with a lot.
Like that as the city’s chief law enforcement officer he is an investor in the Tiger Building, which owes the city back taxes. That’s personal.
Professionally, “people of color, the people Krasner allegedly cares so much about, are being shot, murdered and carjacked in historic numbers due to his insane policies,” says Cipriano, coming off like the last angry man. “Stores are leaving town because they can no longer afford to have thieves ransack their shelves with impunity.
“Kensington is an open-air drug market and brothel because of Krasner’s permissive policies,” he says.
“Cops no longer do their jobs because they are afraid Krasner will arrest them, and the mayor and the police commissioner will go along with it, and stab cops in the back for doing their jobs,” he continues.
He covers Krasner like a jilted lover with a score to settle, and I don’t mean anything homo about that. I mean the intensity.
When he first told me how he doesn’t get his questions answered I wondered why other reporters would let the D.A. get away with blowing off a colleague.
When I found out Krasner keeps Cipriano last, it was clear that was done to prevent other reporters from following up, if they were interested in doing that, as they should.
But maybe they wouldn’t take the side of the last angry man.
26 thoughts on “Krasner critic is the last angry man”
Don’t recall Ralph Cipriano from my years in Philly. But it sounds like this Krasner character and our former president have a lot in common when it comes to dealing with the press and questions they find uncomfortable.
The only way to change things is at the voting booth. Just look at the past elections only 25% to 28% of the people show up to vote. I don’t see things changing in the future, that’s why we are stuck with John Fetterman as Senator for the next six years. He is only one of the embarrassments that are elected in both our state and city. The population of Philadelphia is decreasing yearly. Maybe it is time to leave Killadelphia.
We have Jon Fetterman for four years man not because he ran against a frothing crackpot election denier.
The term of a United States Senator is Six years. We are stuck with Fetterman for Six years.
Coming home late last night (from watching over my two grandsons), I came across some conservative radio talk show whose host was in the middle of a spiel about how progressives are using Marxist ideology to “destroy the country.” I thought the host was a bit over the top, but then I read in your column about how this Krasner character operates (vis a vis criminals, the police, the media, etc.) and now I am not so sure the radio guy was not onto something. Then the radio guy said something I can’t believe is true (or accurate, anyway): using the Patriot Act as justification, the US government is going after conservative radio shows (Like Dennis Praeger’s) as being ‘terrorist’ in nature. I may not like progressives/liberals or their ideology, but I sure as hell don’t want to shut them up. ‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer’ is good advice.
Dennis Prager? He’s so mild, and Bible-based (but the Jewish Bible).
Yep. That’s what got my attention. He took today off because it’s a Jewish holy day. How radical is that?! (BYW, my Jewish friend Allan calls my Bible ‘the sequel.’)
Dennis Prager is not only a Jewish scholar and radio host; he’s an expert on Russia and was registered in a Master’s program at Columbia, where Russian culture his major. As he says on radio, he took every course but did not complete his thesis. He learned the Russian language so he could read Pravda to better understand how a tryannical (leftist) culture functions.
His greatest surprise is he always thought “it could never happen in America”. Yet, he’s certain, about that, he was incorrect.
The sequel — good line.
Shame you ruined a good book. 😇
Godfather II was better than the The Godfather.
I don’t know about talk-radio hosts specifically, but there hasn’t been an administration that has used its power to go after its political enemies in often outrageous ways to this extent since Nixon left office.
Obviously the major MSM outlets don’t devote much attention to that, but if you expand your sources of information in the right direction, it’s out there. One could start by checking in at realclearpolitics.com every day and perusing the headlines. Some of the stuff that has come out lately – and not only in the Durham report – is outrageous. If it was being done by a Republican administration, you’d be hearing about it relentlessly without having to go out of your way to find it.
I should have said that these things I’m referring to are coming out at least in part because there are independent journalists doing in Washington what Ralph Cipriano is doing in Philadelphia.
Larry Krasner’s failure to jail individuals who carry guns on their person or in the vehicle they are driving is accelerating the homicide rate upwards in Philadelphia. He is not the criminal Justice savior for the African American Community in Philadelphia. Krasner believes his approach to criminal Justice reform is working. Krasner’s failure to prosecute retail theft violations unless the value of items stolen is greater than 500 dollars caused several retail businesses to close in center city. The exodus of businesses will continue as long as this policy exists. Ralph Cipriano is talking truth to power. The press can be a powerful tool to ensure our democracy is safe from unlawful government policies. I hope Ralph Cipriano is persistent in pressuring the DA’s Office to be honest, truthful and law abiding. Krasner’s policies will accelerate the flight of residents who live in the city to the suburbs, South Jersey and Delaware.
I can tell you Ralph will keep it up. It would help if some “other” outlets, and journalists, joined him.
Mr. Bykofsky, to your point here and the reporter you quote (below). If the reporter genuinely believes what s/he says, then I’d suggest it is disingenuous that leaving Mr Cipriano’s questions last at the pressers allows Krasner to have the last word with no follow-up. Any of the other reporters simply can repeat Mr. Cipriano’s unanswered question(s) at the next presser, or they could approach Mr. Cipriano and offer to pitch a question, which Mr. Cipriano can then follow up. Unless all the reporters are afraid of being handed a pink-slip when they get back to the office…
>> “No, he just wants and deserves, an answer” to his questions.
The reality is Krasner walks off, leaving no opportunity to follow up, and, secondly, the other reporters have no interest in helping Ralph, a gadfly who often criticizes them.
For some, Ralph’s questions fall outside their area of interest.
Ralph, like you, Stu, are two of the dwindling number of truly honest men in journalism. I see you both as columnists, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t provide facts, logic, reasoned analysis. There is no “right wing” or “left wing” in your writing, and I’m glad that you chose to shine a light on Ralph’s unceasing crusade to hold Krasner accountable. Krasner has abandoned any pretense of engagement with the community he serves, and your old employer (and Ralph’s, and to a certain limited extent mine) has allowed itself to become either an active advocate for his malfeasance, or at the very least a large and effective speed bump in the search for the truth about his acts, omission and abuse of office. Thanks for this great profile, and if you talk to Ralph, thank him for being not only the last angry man but perhaps the last honest man left in Philly (present company excepted of course…;)
Thanks, Chris. I have it on good authority he reads these comments. 😉
Christine and Stu, imagine running into the two of you over here.
Thanks, both of you for the kind words. We Inquirer boat people have to stick together.
For the record, exactly three journalists took my side versus the Inquirer Goliath — Chris, Ralph and Ben Mannes.
I don’t forget. Thanks.
My God, and I am trying to stay positive about Philadelphia while running over the pros vs. the cons in an effort to justify why I and my spouse should stay in our home in Philly. We live within a mile from where that young man was killed on a SEPTA bus on Germantown Avenue. This morning, I went on a crime map to figure out just how many homicides have taken place within a mile of our home over the last five or so years and I had to stop. The guardrails are off and the guardians are disappearing or retreating. Gentlemen, thank you for keeping the light of truth burning. Let’s pray that more folks are brought to it’s illumination and one way or another, something changes in the current zeitgeist.
Funny motto for Philadelphia (courtesy, I believe, of Elliot Curson): “PHILADELPHIA, THE CITY THAT….HEY! THAT’S MY CAR!” Almost as funny (from Bernie Brownstein?): “PHILADELPHIA: NOT AS BAD AS EVERYONE SAYS.”
The “not as bad” was Curson’s.
I think I have a new T-shirt idea– ” Philadelphia–worse than Philadelphians say it is”
Ralph and Stu: Thanks for your integrity!