Lawsuit: Hoboken hotel plan’s $4.85M in community givebacks are ‘a blatant quid pro quo’

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A lawsuit filed in Hudson County Superior Court says that the Hoboken Hilton Hotel’s planned $4.85 million in community givebacks are “a blatant quid pro quo” and therefore “contrary to law.” 

The property owners of the Hoboken Land Building are suing the city, KMS Development Partners and Mayor Ravi Bhalla over the $4.85 million in community givebacks associated with the Hilton Hotel. Photo via hobokenmuseum.org.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The lawsuit, filed in Hudson County Superior Court by Hoboken Land Building, L.P. and Hoboken Holdings, L.P. on November 15th, alleges that the resolution approving the agreement, along with the separate Redevelopment Agreement, are “arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable, contrary to use of sound planning, and contrary to public policy.”

The first entity owns the historic property at 1 Newark St. that bears the same name, while the second entity owns the building at 2 Hudson Place – the Baker Waterfront Plaza – according to public records.

The city’s post office redevelopment plan was approved by the council back in April of last year and the plaintiffs argue in the suit that KMS Development Partners was given too much leeway to deviate from that plan.

“KMS sought substantial changes and modifications to the Redevelopment Plan in order to substantially increase the size of the hotel permitted by the Redevelopment Plan,” including upping the maximum gross floor area by 20 percent and the maximum number of hotel rooms by 25 percent.

The court filing also notes that despite a public rift between Mayor Ravi Bhalla, who is named in the lawsuit along with KMS and the City of Hoboken, the council approved the hotel deal with KMS – complete with $4.85 million in community givebacks – on October 17th.

“The giveback payments constitute an exaction unrelated to legitimate land use concerns generated by the redevelopment of the Subject Property” and “constitute a blatant quid pro quo for the city’s acquiescence to the Redevelopment Agreement.”

Another major allegation made in the lawsuit says that the City of Hoboken “is without the legal authority” to ensure givebacks to a non-governmental entity such as the Hoboken Public Education Foundation.

Such a practice would promote “favoritism, cronyism, lack of accountability, lack of diversity” and is unlawful.

The HPEF is set to receive $1 million from KMS as part of the agreement, where the developer is distributing all of the giveback money directly, not the city.

The plaintiffs are seeking attorney’s fees and cost of suit, as well as “other relief as well as may be just and equitable.”

The mayor’s office declined to comment on pending litigation.

24 COMMENTS

  1. Such a practice would promote “favoritism, cronyism, lack of accountability, lack of diversity” and is unlawful.

    But if you take that away, what can Ravi do all day? That’s his daily toolkit.

    • Mikey likey big buildings and the rich people who build them in Hoboken, he was kissing KMS butt from day one and went to bat for his rich friend to build another big building on the Hoboken side of the Jersey City border. Mikey needy lotsa money to stay in office.

  2. The facts cited in the lawsuit do not reflect anything unusual. They describe Hoboken handling a redevelopment project in a manner consistent with how redevelopment is pretty much always done (with the only less usual component being the cash payment to a private non-profit which appears to be permitted under the local redevelopment law.). The lawsuit essentially alleges that the redevelopment process itself, as typically done in NJ, is itself illegal

    The lawsuit, if it is allowed to proceed, would, therefore, be a serious threat to redevelopment itself with volcanic implications throughout the state.

    I think this is likely to be tossed out in a MTD, but if it’s not, the implications will reverberate across the entire State. This is not a big deal yet but it could become one if some Hudson County Superior Court judge does the unexpected.

  3. Talking about tools, I thought TiffMikeJenPeter weren’t satisfied with the original deal so they proceeded to squeeze even more. They had to make sure their personal stamp was on it.

    • TiffMikeJenPeter who have been nothing but hyper partisan, obstructive and negative needed to try to find something to put on their upcoming campaign lit with a little manipulative wording.

      • There it is; bonafide actual evidence complete separation from reality by the certifiable mentally deranged. Retrieve your tongue from Ravi’s butt. You earned your pay today though. Ravi says thanks.

        • Roman has made 100% of the references to Ravi Bhalla in the comments.

          Yet, Roman keeps insisting that OTHER PEOPLE are obsessed with Ravi Bhalla.

          Roman makes a grotesque, over the line suggestion to someone who has merely voiced fair criticism of the council people he supports.

          Yet Roman remains convinced that OTHER PEOPLE are behaving in a vile, divisive manner that is bad for the community.

          Roman is incapable of seeing this dark, ugly, obsessive behavior for what it is though it is quite plain to anyone reading these public exchanges. If you are his friend, be a friend. Talk to him.

          • I’m not Roman but you sure are one obsessed jealous person Nancy. That Hoboken Horse guy stands up for Hoboken and you? Well you stand up for Ravi’s loot, the terror flier that put him office, the employee ripped off for thousands of dollars and Ravi’s second job. Of course you do, that’s what a good paid political operative does. Hey, it’s a job.

            We’re pretty clear where each of you stand. I just wish someone would kick that big toothed horse in the teeth. Just to put him in a time out. He doesn’t have to always show off being right. He could be nicer to Ravi and his PAC money. After all, PACs are now a Hoboken “tradition.” We all need and like PAC money, just like Ravi.

            Hoboken Horse should accept this is what Hoboken is now.

          • That’s one of Roman’s stock “I’m not Roman, I’m just a big fan of his” lines. He calls himself that big toothed horse and throws fake shade at himself, which is actually a poorly disguised compliment. “He doesn’t have to show always show off being right.” Idiotic, no? And so incredibly insecure. “Showing off being right” is the worst he’s willing to say of himself. A cry for help from a fragile little boy.

            But there’s no one left to compliment him in the real world. There hasn’t been a comment on his site in days, and most comments have been written by him for some time anyway. Like this comment, they provide him with the emotional support that he’s not getting in real life. These embarrassingly transparent attempts to create the illusion of a fan base have become standard fare at this stage in his decline. And they always come with lashing out at others.

            But none of the facts are changed or even addressed

            He made a vile, unprovoked remark, but keeps insisting other people are vile, divisive and bad for the community.

            He’s obsessed with Bhalla but insists other people who never talk about Bhalla are obsessed with Bhalla.

            Apart from repeating his sad litany of personal attacks and never supported criminal innuendoes, it’s not clear what he’s trying to accomplish, if anything.

            He’s not really communicating with anyone. He’s not sharing actual information save for “I hate Ravi.” He’s become an object of pity and ridicule.

            If he’s your friend, do the right thing. Ring him up and give him the validation he is sadly pretending to get here.

          • Hoboken Antifa racebaiter says what?

            Being a compulsive liar is not a good look. You just spent a whole of time writing total giberish and BS. No one will be calling to defend race baiters in Hoboken. Just can’t imagine anyone getting any call let alone Horse.

            Nancy is so jealous. Well that’s a shame. Horsey shoveled some ugly manure right back to the door of Ravi’s office. Ouch! Interesting comments but zip on Nancy’s race baiter lowlife 411 site. Guess her allegation a councilman is anti-Semetic isn’t working even for Ravi’s campaign operatives there who like to talk to each other.

            http://www.hobokenhorse.com/2018/12/horse-is-witness-mayoral-council.html

          • A further illustration. Note how he is:

            -Incapable of addressing the subject. Namely, his unprovoked ugly remarks to someone who merely disapproves of his preferred councilpeople as was their right.

            -Incapable of countering arguments with arguments of his own. Merely waves his hands crazily as if to silence unpleasant noises, yelling “total giberish [sic] and BS” like a disconsolate vagrant in the park.

            -Drags in “antifa.” Part of his alt-right gestalt but utterly irrelevant, not to mention ludicrous in an affluent bedroom community. But it gives him a sense of being on a romanticized mission, as if he is doing the “important work” of fighting a revolution in the streets when he is merely disagreeing with fairly arrived at conclusions. By projecting extreme and conspiratorial evil onto his foes, he hopes to justify his absurdly disproportionate response to them.

            As is well established, the alt-right are lost without their evil conspiracy theories. But people like Alex Jones who make up these stories know they are entertainment and said as much at his custody hearing. Devotees like Roman, however, believe in these tales and live in their shadows, cut off from reality. Hoboken antifa is as real as Seth Rich being killed by the DNC – which Roman also believes.

            https://www.independent.co.uk/news/infowars-alex-jones-performance-artist-playing-character-lawyer-conspiracy-theory-donald-trump-a7687571.html

            -Incongruously attacks the cross-town blogger, projecting that she is somehow “jealous” of him. But his site is devoid of participation while hers is not. He must write all the additional comments to create the appearance of interest and agreement (with him) while she does not. He is here speaking of himself in 3rd person and linking to his site, etc, etc, etc. In other words, the deeply, pathologically jealous child claiming that it is all the other children who are jealous of him.

            A cry for help to be sure. But there is one silver lining. He knows at some level that his actions are indefensible and doesn’t even try. Just keeps changing the subject. You’d have to say he was further off the deep end if he tried to defend saying what he said. But he hasn’t and won’t. So that’s a start.

            But don’t expect him to make any more progress than that until someone who actually cares about him gets involved.

          • Holy crap, Nancy is totally obsessed with Hoboken Horse. She should get her meds adjusted. There’s more comments on his site than hers and definitely more sane readers.

    • Sometimes, you try to take a backroom deal and make it into something better. But only Ravi gets paid no matter what the deal is; you be sure of that.

      • Why don’t you ask Jen and Peter how many (possibly illegal) meetings they had in the “backroom” with KMS about this hotel going back to before the 2015 Council elections, without the participation or even the knowledge of the mayor, the City’s lawyers or planning team?

        This project was their absolute highest priority for years. With all the more important issues facing the City, this was their #1 fixation. They literally demanded that Mayor Zimmer move it forward despite her clearly stated reservations. I always thought that was really odd.

        If this litigation moves forward, those meetings could prove legally problematic for the City.

        • Wait, is Ravi selling out Hoboken in another deal in his first or second job? Because this shadowy distraction attempt is awfully weak but if you have evidence, provide it to the HPD.

          They’re waiting to meet with you on the Ravi Terror Flyer whenever you like. Turn over the evidence Lindastan and stop obstructing the truth!

          Fess up!

  4. There’s that lindalou person again, completely out of her/his mind again. This law suit is about the redevelopment agreement, not about whose priority this project was for the past 10 years. Nor is it about the previous mayor.

    Is lindalou trying to deflect from something else? The comment makes absolutely no sense.

    • The comment makes no sense to you because you’re a doofus, and part of being a doofus is having a limited ability to understand things.

      An online world without doofuses would be a boring place so keep the doofiness coming.

      MADA!!!!!

    • Yes, Pippen a distraction but it’s not working. The Ravi campaign people think you’re the Hoboken Horse. They think anyone who sheds light on Ravi is Horse. He’s gotten deep in their head. Keep speaking truth to power Pippen, they hate it!

      • No – I think you and Pippin are doofuses. Only Roman Brice thinks he’s a horse. Of course that’s less nutty than thinking he’s a journalist.

        • Stan, find a hobby. Being Shadow Mayor ain’t cutting it and besides, Bromar ain’t letting your white privilege back into the mayor’s office.

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