The owner of the property abutting the new Verona Place apartment buildings has increased his demands on the developer of those buildings.
Mark De Mattheis, the developer of Verona Place, sent an email sent to 11 Verona government officials on Wednesday, July 27, detailing new demands from Greg Paglianite, the owner of the adjacent 457 Bloomfield Avenue. MyVeronaNJ.com obtained a copy of the email through an Open Public Records Act request.
According to the email, Paglianite is now seeking $19,500 from De Mattheis, up from the $10,000 that De Mattheis agreed to pay him in May. Paglianite is also, according to the email, demanding that DeMattheis repave his driveway and parking lot. De Mattheis says in the email that his contractor has estimated the cost of that work at $13,000:
“Words cannot express my thoughts with regard to the behavior of this individual. He is clearly not attempting to negotiate an amicable settlement to this matter. Rather, he is merely looking out for his own unjustified personal financial gain, which he hopes to obtain at my expense. This will not happen.
I should have known when Paglianite accused my contractor of cracking the side of his building’s masonry wall on the 1st day of site construction, that he had ill intentions. Fortunately, I had photographs of that wall two (2) weeks earlier that showed the damage previously existed.”
De Mattheis broke ground on the two small apartment buildings last September 25, and construction started in October. The structures rose, but construction stalled in late spring. On June 10, De Mattheis filed an affidavit with Verona stating that Paglianite was refusing to give De Mattheis’ crew access to his building’s driveway to that they could work on the west side of the apartments. (De Mattheis had sent a draft license agreement to Paglianite covering that work on October 8, 2015, but Paglianite never signed it.) On the basis of the affidavit, Verona issued De Mattheis a “certificate of necessity”, which should have compelled Paglianite to open his driveway to the construction workers. But Paglianite refused and the two are headed to Verona municipal court on Wedensday, August 10. If the court finds in De Mattheis’ favor, Paglianite could face a fine of up to $1,000 a day for each day he has declined to allow access.
Since last Thursday, MyVeronaNJ has sent two detailed emails to Paglianite requesting comment on these new developments and left three phone messages with his staff. He has not yet responded. Both Mark De Mattheis and Verona Township Manager Matthew Cavallo declined to comment.
This is just another case of a developer throwing his weight around and making unnecessary demands. Access to Pagliante’s property has been grossly limited for months and his client’s have a very difficult time getting into do business. When is this town officials look out for local business?
“Both Mark De Mattheis and Verona Township Manager Matthew Cavallo declined to comment.”
Who were you quoting in italics then?
Virginia you used the term “open public records act” can you explain what that means and can a normal citizen use that same act? Also I’m new in town and want to know if this is a paper or a Blog are you a journalist or a blogger.
The email that was sent.
The Open Public Records Act is what New Jersey’s version of the Freedom of Information Act is called. The basic law has its roots in a 1966 decision by President Lyndon Johnson. It allows any member of the public to request government documents that haven’t been released to the public. The laws are often called “Sunshine Laws” because they make it possible to shine a light on government decisions.
New Jersey’s government website has a section on OPRA requests. Verona has its OPRA request form online and you can access it here. Essex County’s OPRA form and information is here. Different forms have to be filed with different officials. Verona’s gets filed with the Town Clerk in Town Hall. Government bodies that get an OPRA request have to respond to it within 7 business days. They can approve the request or deny it.
As for your other questions, I got my start in journalism working for The Wall Street Journal’s European edition. I also worked for Crain’s New York Business (a weekly newspaper in New York City) and Forbes. MyVeronaNJ.com is published only online.
Thank you for your timely response. So does this OPRA also cover personal emails between attorneys? And also to follow up with the previous question who are you quoting in italics? And on a personal note am thoroughly enjoying your blog, it’s a good way to find out what’s going on in town.
OPRA and FOIA (the federal government equivalent) only cover government records. The block quote in the story is from the email sent by Mark De Mattheis to 11 Verona government officials.