Jersey City files suit against ‘millionaire’s marina’ project at Liberty State Park

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Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, joined by other local officials and advocates, announced a lawsuit against Suntex’s proposal to build a “Millionaire’s Marina” at Liberty State Park.

“We are committed to fighting tooth and nail to stop this horrible plan that would develop a Millionaire’s Marina on the south side of the Park impacting visitors that use that part of the park for barbecues, family visits, walking and certainly impact all the sight views of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline,” Fulop said at a press conference this afternoon.

After Fulop, several environmental activist spoke in favor of the lawsuit, taking aim against outgoing Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) administration.

They believe building the marina would not only ruin the park as a “recreational, mental health and spiritual public resource,” but would only serve the very wealthy, as opposed to ordinary Jersey City residents.

In particular, Jeff Tittle of the New Jersey Sierra Club, issued strong words about how this particular proposal tops all of the previous actions by the Christie administration that showed disdain for public lands.

“You have that photo of him sitting on that beach in defiance of the fact that no one else could go swimming or go to a state park during the government shutdown last summer. That photo crystallized his arrogance. But this act is much worse because it is an act of desecrating and destroying public open space that belongs to all of us,” said Tittle.

Fulop then introduced the legal team of the law firm the city hired, Riker Danzig, Sucherer, Hyland & Perretti, to explain the details of the lawsuit filed in Hudson County.

City Corporation Counsel Jeremy Ferrell, joined by RDSHP’s Jonathan Vuotto, briefly explained that the firm “filed papers to pursue a preliminary injunction to stop the governor and his team at the state Department of Environmental Protection from being able to pursue their goals of building an additional marina on the south side of the park.”

“Today, we’ll be arguing for a temporary restraining order to immediately stop any further action and we hope to have a favorable outcome of that filing so that we can pursue the preliminary injunction at a future date.”

Additionally, according to Vuotto, the firm’s legal strategy to stop the construction of “Millionaire’s Marina” is two-fold.

“We filed a complaint this morning seeking both a preliminary injunction to stop the DEP and Suntex from entering into the proposed new lease; we also are seeking a declaratory judgement to void the proposed new lease”, said Vuotto.

Farrell added that the firm will be making four arguments in court, saying that, most importantly, “we argue that undue haste was used here and that they [DEP and the Christie administration] didn’t do the appropriate studies to ensure that there would be no negative impact both to Jersey City and the greater community that uses the park.”

In a statement, Suntex Senior Vice President Ron TenEyck said they were not aware of the city’s lawsuit until this morning (Wednesday).

“Suntex did not receive copies of the pleadings or notice of yesterday’s hearing until this morning. It may have been sent to a main office in Texas via fax but counsel of record, who represents the company on the marina proposal, did not receive anything until today,” he said.

“We wish we had had the opportunity to participate in person at the hearing yesterday to argue on behalf of Suntex. We look forward to having our opportunity to defend our position on the 16th.”

The state DEP deferred comment to the state attorney general’s office, who does not comment on ongoing litigation.

 

Editor’s Note: This story was updated with a quote from Suntex Senior Vice President Ron TenEyck on Wednesday, January 3rd.