A Hudson County Superior Court judge has nullified the June vote by the Jersey City Council to move the Katyn monument since significant language was changed from the first and second reading of the ordinance.
On October 24th, Maria Scariati, a Jersey City resident that had been outspoken against the administration moving the memorial from its current location at Exchange place, filed a lawsuit against the city, Mayor Steven Fulop, Council President Rolando Lavarro and City Clerk Robert Bryne.
“The Relocation Ordinance is illegal because substantive changes were made to the proposed ordinance without the City of Jersey City (the “Jersey City”) providing the required additional notice to the public, prior to the City Council voting and adopting the Amended and Revised ordinance,” the suit says.
The lawsuit further argues that the May 23rd agenda, where the first reading was introduced, and ordinance did not contain a time frame for relocating the monument, although the meeting minutes indicated that there was a 99-year time period.
“Furthermore, the Second Reading Ordinance further changed the time period for
the relocation of the Katyn Memorial from 99 years to perpetuity, which is substantively different from both the First Reading Ordinance (no time period) and the title of the proposed ordinance #18-057 in the Meeting Minutes for the May 23, 2018 and the Agenda for June 13, 2018 (99-year time period),” the court document continues.
Ultimately, Assignment Judge Peter Bariso ruled on Friday that Scariati, through her Jersey City attorney Markis Abraham, had provided enough evidence to show that the vote should be overturned.
“That Jersey City Ordinance #18-057 is hereby void and nullified … and for the reasons placed on the record on November 16, 2018, this Order be served upon all counsel of record within 2 days of entry,” the court order says.
The latest chapter in this ongoing saga is a real curveball for a number of reasons: for one, the June vote that has now been voided was a meeting that dragged into the early hours of the morning: apparently all for nothing.
Next, it appeared as Fulop and the council appeared ready to vote and keep the statue where it is, saving voters from a special election where moving the Katyn memorial would’ve been the only item on the ballot.
City spokeswoman Ashley Manz said the city agreed with the points in Scariati’s lawsuit and look forward to being able to now focus on the payroll tax, which the council will vote on tomorrow night in what promises to be a lengthy meeting.
“The City agreed with Maria’s lawsuit because we wanted to protect the public schools and the opportunity for the payroll tax to move forward. Maria’s lawsuit was helpful, so we agreed with her points,” she said.
Abraham and Lavarro both declined to comment.
Editor’s note: This story was updated with a comment from city spokeswoman Ashley Manz.