11 months later, no sanctions for Bayonne developer accused of stealing water

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11 months after Bayonne police filed a report that said a prominent city developer was stealing water, sanctions have yet to be imposed for the alleged incident.

A September 27th, 2016 photo of a fire hydrant allegedly being used illegally outside of the Duraport Marine and Rail Terminal - an Alessi Organization project.
A September 27th, 2016 photo of a fire hydrant allegedly being used illegally outside of the Duraport Marine and Rail Terminal – an Alessi Organization project. Photo courtesy of Peter Franco.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“On September 27, 2016 at approximately 0921 hours, I was dispatched to 92 East 2nd Street on a complaint of theft of services,” Bayonne Police Officer Jessica Lyons wrote in a report obtained by Hudson County View.

According to the police report, the theft of services occurred at 92 East 2nd Street, the address of the Duraport Marine and Rail Terminal – an Alessi Organization project.

“Upon observation, I viewed an open fire hydrant with an intact hose connection. There was also a shutoff box key installed in the ground, as well as a wrench lying on the pavement located east of the fire hydrant,” the police report continues.

“There was also a portable water tank parked on the premises, which according to the placard placed on its rear, holds up to 4,000 gallons water. The tank was visibly wet and leaking water.”

Lyons narrative continues to say that a representative from Suez Water, the city’s water provider, and the Bayonne Municipal Utilities Authority – which has since been merged with the city’s Department of Public Works – responded to the scene to inspect the fire hydrant.

The Suez employee also informed police a resident, who asked to remain anonymous, indicated that someone had been taking water from the same fire hydrant at least once a month.

The situation is notable because Skanska Koch Kiewit, a contractor for the Bayonne Bridge construction project, was agreed to pay Suez Water $32,360.40 on December 5th, 2016 for drawing water from a hydrant without a meter.

The deal came about roughly five weeks after a police report said Skanska engaged in theft of services.

In both instances, Peter Franco, an outspoken critic of the Mayor Jimmy Davis administration, brought light to the situation via his Facebook page/blog.

He implied that the Alessi Organization was getting preferential treatment in this scenario.

“Here we have a developer who may have been stealing from our city for years. This same developer was granted a tax abatement months after this was discovered and has been enjoying the benefit of tax breaks from previously approved projects. It’s just not fair.”

In March 2016, the Alessi Organization received two long-term tax abatements for a shopping center and a 30-unit apartment complex, respectively (h/t The Jersey Journal).

Multiple city officials and representatives from Suez Water did not return calls and emails seeking comment as to why Alessi had not been sanctioned or investigated for the alleged theft.

An attorney for the Alessi Organization also did not return calls seeking comment.