The federal lawsuit filed against Jersey City by Kushner Companies, run by the family of President Donald Trump’s (R) son-in-law, looks like it will continue for a while as the city has not shown any interest in settling, despite the judge presenting that as an option.
By Corey McDonald/Hudson County View
A letter was sent to U.S. District Court Judge Michael Vazquez on February 10th by Joseph Fiorenzo, the attorney for One Journal Square Partners Urban Renewal Company, shows that Vazquez “indicated … potential for a settlement” on February 6th.
The plaintiffs were to prepare a list of proposed settlement options, which One Journal Square “was preparing today,” according to Fiorenzo’s letter.
Attorneys for Jersey City had suggested they would need 30 days to respond to the proposals, the court document shows.
City spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione indicated that “there is no settlement” and didn’t indicate that there would be one any time soon.
“At this point, we are awaiting the decision from the judge and we fully expect the city to be successful again,” city spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione said, referring to the initial complaint that was dismissed in August, though the developer refiled in October.
An out of court settlement would have been an unusual development in a charged legal battle that has lasted for the better part of two years and has centered on property that has remained dormant for more than 13 years.
The nearly $900 million project would have turned property near the Journal Square PATH station into two 56-story residential towers with more than 1,500 units.
Kushner Companies was first brought on in 2014 after the city issued a notice of default to the property’s previous developer. Jared Kushner was CEO of the company at the time.
But after the Trump’s 2016 election, internal issues arose that suggested the city was purposely delaying the project by playing anti-Trump politics.
The amended lawsuit contains instances of alleged political maneuvering by Mayor Steven Fulop, from Trump’s election onward through the mayor’s own successful re-election bid in 2017.
“Despite the fact that the City’s conduct was ‘wrong,’ Fulop stated that the publicity over the fact that he was linked to Trump through the Kushner Companies made the deal ‘really tough,’ such that it would be better if the Kushner name was not involved in the project,” the suit claims.
Fiorenzo did not respond to a voicemail seeking comment today.
Follow Corey McDonald on Twitter @cwmcdonald_