A judge dismissed the Open Public Records Act aspect of the ongoing One Journal Square case that pits the City of Jersey against Kushner Cos., indicating that there won’t be contempt proceedings since “the issues are moot and unnecessarily punitive.”
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that Defendant has complied with the OPRA request submitted by Plaintiff, and this matter is hereby dismissed,” Hudson County Superior Court Judge Joseph Isabella ruled on July 15th.
” … Finding that the records were provided in accordance with the August 2, 2019 schedule and the goals of OPRA were met, further contempt proceedings would be unnecessarily punitive.”
Almost a year ago, Kushner Cos., which used to be run by President Donald Trump’s (R) senior advisor/son-in-law Jared Kushner, celebrated a court ruling that awarded them nearly $99,000 in attorneys’ fees after the city was unresponsive to OPRA requests.
That came just days after a judge dismissed the development company’s federal suit in its entirety, though Kushner Kos. refiled in October.
While the idea of a settlement was kicked around earlier this year, that never came to fruition.
According to Isabella, the city has paid the outstanding $98,254 and has “made a good faith effort as resolution of this matter.”
“The Court finds that Defendant has complied with Plaintiff’s OPRA request, and this matter is dismissed. Further, there shall be no contempt proceedings, as the issues are moot and unnecessarily punitive,” the ruling concludes.
Jersey City spokeswoman Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione applauded the court’s decision, as did Mayor Steven Fulop.
“Once again, the courts have agreed with the city and rejected the Kushners’ baseless claims as there is no need for a tax abatement, which the city has not granted to anyone in three-and-a-half years,” Wallace-Scalcione said.
“Their lawsuit is essentially complaining that we aren’t giving them tax breaks bc they are family w/@realDonaldTrump,” the mayor wrote.
Joseph B. Fiorenzo, an attorney representing Kushner Cos., went scorched earth on Fulop for taking a victory lap over the latest superior court decision.
“Steven Fulop bragging by tweet about the recent ruling in the criminal Contempt Action,
which the Court initiated against him, is the type of shameless spin that only a politician would ever attempt,” he said in a statement.
His claim of victory when the Court declined to go further than the fines and civil Orders of sanctions it already issued against him is like a convicted felon sentenced to ten years
boasting about being released after five years for good behavior.”
Editor’s note: This story was updated with a comment from Joseph B. Fiorenzo, an attorney representing Kushner Cos.