Daily Local News
By JENNIFER MILLER, Staff Writer
A polarizing political figure who in recent years played a controversial backstage role in Coatesville government has died.
Richard Legree Sr., 55, of Coatesville, died from natural causes about 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Chester County Hospital, the coroner's office confirmed Sunday. Several sources said Legree suffered a heart attack.
Legree, a former Valley police officer and Coatesville city councilman, was a constable who also worked as a union consultant in Philadelphia.
Last week, Legree was serving as a constable in Magisterial District Judge Robert Davis' court in Coatesville. Outside the courtroom Wednesday, the former local Republican leader said he was content with his recent decision to become a Democrat. Legree said his sense was that the Republican Party would likely not make any progress over the next eight years.
Legree lost his chairmanship of the Coatesville Area Republican Committee when several new committee members were elected in the April primary. At the Republican Committee's reorganization meeting, they teamed up with several incumbent committee people to replace Legree. In October, he changed parties.
"I became a Republican because I thought the Republican Party offered the best vision for African-Americans to realize the American dream and for working class and union families to offer their children the best chance at
a better life," Legree said at an Oct. 24 news conference. "The last eight years have convinced me otherwise."
Legree was joined by City Councilman Kareem Johnson, who also announced his intent to leave the Republican Party and join the Democrats. Legree was instrumental in getting Johnson and three other members elected to City Council in 2005. Johnson described Legree as his top adviser during the campaign.
"He was always available to give any advice," Johnson said Sunday. "He introduced me to key people in the community.”
MORE AT:I don’t believe anyone can fill Richard Legree’s shoes.
I think Coatesville has entered a new era.
SEE:FRIDAY, MARCH 28, 2014
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