Register now !    Login  
Main Menu
Who's Online
63 user(s) are online (60 user(s) are browsing Message Forum)

Members: 0
Guests: 63


Forum Index

Board index » All Posts (Sculptor)

Re: Three 40-plus story towers on 110 and 111 First Street sites.


At the June 28th meeting in the Council Chambers at City Hall, the Jersey City Municipal Council passed a resolution authorizing a settlement with Mr. Lloyd Goldman, the most litigious landlord in the Powerhouse Arts District, by a unanimous 6 to 2 vote. During the time period allocated to the settlement issue, we learned the following: the Healy Administration will agree to let Mr. Goldman build three, 40 (and possibly 60) story towers among the properties he owns at 110 and 111 First Street. Current plans call for at least 1,000 residential units with about 120 reserved for low and moderate income artists. A percentage of the lower floors will be used for art galleries, about the only condition in the PAD Ordinance that resembles something in the PAD Ordinance.

In July 2003, a group of 111 tenants visited with Mr. Goldman in his New York City office where he showed us his original plans for the 110 and 111 properties. The 111 plan called for the demolition of the central section and the construction of a 13 or 14 story residential tower within the outer perimeter. 110 was to be completely demolished and a new 17 story residential tower built in its stead. Why? Because he said he didn?t want to build anything taller than 17 stories! (Mr. Mark Munley, then head of the HEDC, denounced the plans as ?absurd?). If the Faulty Towers are built, their presence will not only ruin the arts district but cause mind-boggling congestion in the whole area. The Towers will stand forever as a testament to Mr. Goldman?s mean-spirited bullying, as well as a lack of backbone by the intellectually lazy and inept Healy Administration. If Mr. Goldman gets his way, perhaps the arts district should be re-named ?Goldimus Trove?.

Unlike the Tawil family, who used to own similarly neglected properties on Journal Square and who were socked with a $1,000,000 court judgement based on their $4,000,000 in building code violations (and they had to sell their properties, to boot), Mr. Goldman by contrast, will be allowed to get off scot-free from the over $75,000,000 in fire and building code violations that have accumulated on his properties during the last few years. If the Healy Administration had taken Mr. Goldman to court and obtained the same kind of proportional judgement against him that they obtained against the Tawils, the city coffers would be richer by almost $20,000,000, thus more than halving the city?s budget deficit and demonstrating some sort of resolve.

Can you imagine what the Tawil Family must be thinking now? ?Hey, how come the City went after us for a million bucks and let this other landlord off the hook without any kind of penalty, a guy who owed the city almost twenty times the amount of fines that we did and who is being rewarded for running rough-shod over a key city ordinance as well? One would think that by using our case as a precedent, the city would?ve stood a good chance of winning in court. Go figure. Maybe we should sue the city for discriminatory practices. On second thought, maybe we could?ve avoided this mess in the first place by making some well-placed campaign contributions.?

We?ll soon be hearing how crucial this settlement is in order to bring in sorely needed new revenue, but don?t be fooled. Despite the explosive development underway in Jersey City which has brought in millions of dollars in new taxes, it never seems to be enough as the politicians have yet to satisfactorily explain why they still have to raise taxes in spite of new revenues. The pattern is becoming increasingly clear: the more new development, the more taxes are likely to increase. Is this what proponents of development mean when they say it?s ?good for the city?? Haven?t people figured out yet that tax increases are actually de facto subsidies for development? Perhaps Councilman ?Dollar Bill? Gaughan, the ?Rajah of Ratables?, can explain this ?benefit? more clearly to the taxpayers.

Alarmingly, Council President Vega, the self-styled ?Councilman of the Arts?, is the point man for the settlement. But after listening to his pathetic rationalizations about how this settlement is ?in the City?s best interest?, Councilman Vega deserves a more appropriate moniker: ?The Neville Chamberlain of the Arts District?, in recognition of his deplorable appeasement mentality.

In spite of the voting fiasco, it was still heartening to see the promise and hopefulness shown by the newest arts district residents who showed up in force to experience first hand what it?s like to wade through the swamp of Jersey City politics. They seemed to feel that if they made heart-felt and well-reasoned arguments against the settlement, they could persuade the Council to vote it down. Nothing could be further from reality. The BAD PAD SIX, made up of the Hudson County Clique of Sottolano, Spinello, Flood, Gaughan, Brennan and Vega, (Lipski was absent) and sitting up front where the presumed Representatives of the People normally do, dutifully listened, then cast their predetermined votes in favor of settlement. (There were two dissenters, Steve Fulop and Viola Richardson, both of whom are politically associated with the late Mayor Cunningham .) At the end of the meeting, when the cave-in of the PAD was official, you could hear shouts of ?shame, shame?, coming from the audience and directed at the Council.

How, one might ask, when so many people were against the settlement and so few in favor, could it possibly turn out like this? What?s really going on here? Memo to U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie: are you paying attention to any of this?

What can we learn from this most recent experience? During and after the meeting, there were hints from the new PAD Neighborhood Association (aka PADNA) members that they were contemplating legal action against the City for having been so grievously mislead and betrayed after they?d bought into the concept of an arts district based on the PAD Ordinance. If they decide to press forward with a lawsuit, they?ll need to remember the Goldman Formula For Success: always sue for at least 25% more than you owe in fines or, conversely, what you have already collectively invested in the district. If you persist, you most likely will end up with triple damages or more ? just like Mr. Goldman did. Also, pray that Mr. Matsikoudis remains the Healy Administration?s Legal Eagle.

William Rodwell, President-in-Exile of the 111 First Street Tenants Association
Jersey City, NJ

Posted on: 2006/7/10 13:44




Remember me

Lost Password?

Register now!

LicenseInformation | AboutUs | PrivacyPolicy | Faq | Contact

JERSEY CITY LIST - News & Reviews - Jersey City, NJ - Copyright 2004 - 2017