Developer claims in lawsuit that Jersey City public safety director’s aide halted two projects

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A developer is claiming in a lawsuit that an aide to the Jersey City public safety director improperly halted two projects by revoking his traffic permits, allegedly stating he did so to “teach Moshe Sugar a lesson.”

Mike Manzo, an aide to Jersey City Public Safety Director James Shea. Facebook photo.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The 10-page lawsuit was filed in Hudson County Superior Court on Monday by Moshe Sugar, as well as his related LLCs for his projects at 25 Waverly St. and 125 Charles St., against the City of Jersey City and Mike Manzo. Jersey Digs first reported on the filing.

“Defendant Manzo has and is misusing the power of his official position to deprive plaintiffs of their constitutionally protected property rights,” the lawsuit says, later calling his actions “arbitrary, capricious, and/or unreasonable.”

Sugar, through his attorney John Novak, says that both properties properly obtained traffic permits in November 2020, though the permit for 25 Waverly St. was accidentally posted at 126 Charles St.

While the mistake was corrected, the city was informed that the wrong permit had been posted and Manzo allegedly revoked the permits the both projects, shutting them down to “teach Moshe Sugar a lesson.”

The plaintiffs also claim that this was retaliation after they declined to “become friends” with Manzo and therefore suffered the “wrath of [his] heavy handedness.”

The five-count court filing is seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorney’s fees, interest and “other relief as the court deems proper.”

Manzo, a retired firefighter, pleaded guilty to accepting a $5,000 from Solomon Dwek – a federal informant posing as a developer as part of the Operation Bid Rig sting in 2009.

However, the charge was eventually dismissed since Manzo was not an elected official at the time – he had unsuccessfully run for the Ward B council seat in 2009.

Additionally, the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating an incident from September where a man alleges that Manzo and his son-in-law broke his jaw on both sides after accusing him of trying to break into one of their vehicles.

City officials declined to comment on the lawsuit on the probe by the HCPO.