Author Topic: Houses on Berry Street - Ken Zisa Connection  (Read 10206 times)

Offline just watching

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Houses on Berry Street - Ken Zisa Connection
« on: May 30, 2009, 06:18:34 AM »
About 5 years ago, people who watch over zoning and planning in Hackensack were outraged that two 2-family houses were approved on 37.5 foot wide lots.  It replaced a long-vacant 75-foot wide lot on the south side of Berry Street, about 100 or 150 feet west of Railroad Ave.  The standard is 50 feet, and those applying for variances to build on 45 or 48 feet were regularly denied for years. Over the years, applications for single-family houses on narrow lots were so heavily discouraged by city officials that most did not even make it onto the Zoning Board docket. Certainly there was never a formal application to build on anything under 40 feet, even for a single-family house. But this application to build on 37.5 foot wide lots made it on the agenda, and it was approved over very heavy objections from the neighborhood.

These were the narrowest lots approved for contruction in the city in over 50 years.  Observers felt at the time that people who were really connected in town must be making money on it, and that is why the Zoning Board approved the variances.  But the details are only now emerging.

The attorney representing the builder (Mr. Mento) at the Zoning Board hearing was Joseph Zisa, who is now city attorney. Zisa himself regularly discouraged any of his clients from building on substandard lots, but not this time. 

Now we see in today's Record that allegations have surfaced about these houses involving Ken Zisa, our Chief of Police.  It is alleged that Ken Zisa was personally involved in this deal.  Rather than state anything online that could get me sued, why don't I just post the article ?  Here it is:

3 HACKENSACK COPS PLAN TO SUE CHIEF
Friday, May 29, 2009
BY MONSY ALVARADO
NorthJersey.com
STAFF WRITER

HACKENSACK Three police officers have notified the city of their intent to file lawsuits alleging Chief Ken Zisa abused his power by retaliating against them for their political affiliations and not contributing enough to his election campaign.

One officer, who has been in business with the chief, also alleges in a letter attached to his notice of tort claim that he did construction and repair work, including building decks, a hot tub and framing a basement for Zisa and his brother, Deputy Chief Frank Zisa, without getting paid.

The notices, received by the city on May 12, were sent by Officers Anthony Ferraioli, Aldrin Lamboy and Scott Sybel.

Zisa said Thursday that because of potential litigation he could not comment on the specifics listed in the notices. "The allegations contained in these letters are false, and that eventually will be borne out by whatever litigation ensues with this," he said.

Sybel, who has owned property in Hackensack and Paterson with Zisa, alleges that the chief subjected him to harassment and inappropriate comments and requests. Sybel, who said he did construction work for Zisa, is seeking damages of more than $300,000.  "Chief Zisa abused his official position and powers to cause Officer Sybell [sic] to perform extensive labor and services for Chief Zisa's personal enrichment," reads the claim.

Furthermore, Sybel claims, he was reassigned from the Narcotics Division last year to a walking post for only donating $75 to Zisa's state Assembly race.

Ferraioli and Lamboy claim that because they did not vote for the candidate Zisa supported in last year's Police Benevolent Association election, Zisa retaliated by demoting and reassigning them to walking posts.

Sybel and Ferraioli could not be reached for comment Thursday. Lamboy referred all questions to his attorney, John J. Didziunasa of Jersey City, who did not return calls. Didziunasa is also representing Ferraioli and Sybel.

City Manager Stephen LoIacono declined comment. He said the City Council will likely discuss the letters at its next regular meeting. City Attorney Joseph Zisa, the chief's cousin, also declined comment on Ferraioli and Lamboy's letters. He said Sybel's allegations shouldn't involve the city.  "His claims against the chief are all his business dealings privately with the chief and why they are even noticing the city on this makes no sense to me," Joseph Zisa said.

"If he feels like he didn't get treated properly by his other partners, which is frequently allegations between partnerships, then he should access the courts like everybody else does instead of trying to make it a public forum," he added.

In his letter, Sybel, who has been a city police officer since 1992, lists eight times he did construction work for Zisa or his brother dating back to 1996. The work included building a deck and a hot tub at the chief's house in the summer of 2000, installing molding in his dining room in November 2004, and fixing a leaky roof for the deputy chief in 2007, according to the letter.

Sybel says he also did work at the former Dog House Grill Restaurant building on River Street, which is partly owned by Zisa.

Sybel also claims that in early 2003, he, along with his brother and another business partner were approached by Arthur Mento, a retired city police officer, about building a house on Berry Street. Mento would supply the construction materials, while Sybel and the others would do the construction, according to the letter.

Sybel claims when construction was complete they had agreed to sell the house, with Mento receiving the money he invested, and the others splitting the rest, the letter states.

Later that year, Sybel claims, Mento told him that the chief wanted in on the deal.

"Artie further said that if I said no or opposed your demands, my career would be finished and that I would be out of narcotics and back to patrol," Sybel writes in the letter. "We had no choice. We had to let you in."
  Mento declined to comment.

Property records show that Mento bought the Berry Street property for $64,000 in July 2002, and that Zisa, Sybel, his brother and another business partner, John Schianchi, bought into the property in March 2004. They sold the property later that year for $435,000, property records show. Sybel said he received $18,000 after the sale.

"I objected to this and told you that I felt robbed," the letter addressed to Zisa says.

Joseph Zisa, the city attorney, represented Zisa, Mento, Schianchi and the Sybels when they sold the Berry Street property. He said that after the sale, $317,000 went to pay the mortgage still left on the property. He said that after closing costs and other fees were paid, the men received $91,800. A portion of that money went toward legal fees, he said.

That same year, the five men registered with the state a company, Cranberry Associates LLC, which bought several lots in Paterson, according to property records. The company built three houses on a portion of the property and sold them last year. But Sybel claims, in the letter, that he did not receive any money from the sales.

Zisa, the attorney, said he represented Cranberry Associates in some of the closings but could not remember how many. He said he didn't know how the profits were split.

"What the partners do with their money, they do with their money," he said.

E-mail: alvarado@northjersey.com




Offline Editor

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Re: Houses on Berry Street - Ken Zisa Connection
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2009, 11:54:49 AM »
Justwatching- will you ever be accountable for what you write?

If you arent going to say something directly to someones face, then dont use online as an opportunity to say it. It is this sense of bravery that people get when they are anonymous that gives the blogosphere a bad reputation.

Source: http://technology.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/tech_and_web/the_web/article662200.ece
« Last Edit: June 25, 2009, 09:36:07 AM by Editor »

Offline just watching

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Re: Houses on Berry Street - Ken Zisa Connection
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2009, 06:56:01 PM »
The hostile response is a direct attempt to try and paint my posting as being unprofessional in some fashion.  Another non-sequitor.  Nice try, it won't work.  Look at my posting again:

(1) I copied the Record article. I can't be held accountable for what The Record writes.

(2) My paragraph #1 is factual.  Nobody can object to it.

(3) My paragraph #3 is factual, and my paragraph #4 simply refers to the Record article.

(4) The only thing remotely objectionable is my paragraph #2.  It's not a rumor that Berry Street residents were questioning and postulating that someone connected was involved in this application.  I heard that directly from a Berry Street resident who is active in the community and herself has connections within the city.

And it certainly makes sense now that all the facts are becoming known.

Offline regina

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Re: Houses on Berry Street - Ken Zisa Connection
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2009, 07:31:37 PM »
I don't think this is the same property - the one in question is at 137 Berry, I think. But the same owner was able to get approval for this one in 2004. It needed be subdivided and then it required variances for building two families on the newly created substandard lots. Very rare to get approval for that!

Public Notice:
 
NOTICE OF BE SERVED ON OWNERS OF PROXIMITY PROPERTIES
Block: 330, Lot: 26 & 27
Application: SUB#755-04 & V#11-04
Please take notice:
That an application has been made by Arthur Mento for a variance from the requirements of the local Land Use Ordinance so as to permit Subdivide existing 75 x 120 lot & construct two 2-family dwellings on two 37'6" lots, requiring the following:
1) Insufficient lot width (Required 50'0" - Proposed 37'6"
2) Subdivision required
3) Such other variances as may be required on premises of 175 Berry Street and this notice is sent to you as an owner of property in the immediate proximity. A public hearing has been ordered for the 14th day of April, 2004 at 7:00 P.M. or as soon thereafter as it can be heard, at 65 Central Avenue, Hackensack, NJ, 3rd Floor Council Meeting room. When the case is called, you may appear in person, or agent or by attorney to present any comments or documentation, for or against, which may be relative to this application.
This notice is being sent to you by the applicant by order of the Planning Board of The City of Hackensack, New Jersey.
April 1, 2004-fee:$33.90 (30) 946359

Offline just watching

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Re: Houses on Berry Street - Ken Zisa Connection
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2009, 09:04:13 AM »
Regina,

I'm a bit confused.  The Zoning Docket information you posted was the one I referred to, which is 175 Berry Street, and it mentions Arthur Mento and that two 2-family houses were proposed.

137 Berry Street was the subdivision of a property just west of Park Street, and a new 2-family house was constructed there. Are you saying that Arthur Mento was involved in TWO deals on Berry Street, and that the Record article refers to




Offline regina

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Re: Houses on Berry Street - Ken Zisa Connection
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2009, 02:15:52 PM »
just watching

I looked up information on Berry Street (I don't take anything for granted - I like to research it for myself) and found the Public Notice that I posted. This is a different property. So, I would say that yes, Mr. Mento was involved in two properties on Berry Street. The notice I posted is not the property referred to in The Record article. I think this is the one that you referred to (2 two-families on 37.5 wide lots) and, as far as I can tell, this property did not involve the chief of police. But 137 Berry Street did.

Offline just watching

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Re: Houses on Berry Street - Ken Zisa Connection
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2009, 09:22:23 AM »
Wow, thanks for the great research.

I think two issues remain:

(1) The whole issue remains the same whether I got the address right or not.

(2) Another whole matter seems to be arising, which is whether or not the Zoning Board of Adjustment has two sets of standards, one for "connected" applicants such as a Police Officer / investor (Mr. Mento), and another set of standards for everyone else. 

Offline just watching

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Re: Houses on Berry Street - Ken Zisa Connection
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2009, 10:20:07 AM »
See the latest Record article

2 cops file suit against chief in demotions
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
BY PETER J. SAMPSON
NorthJersey.com
STAFF WRITER
 1 Comment    NEWARK A pair of Hackensack police officers sued Chief Ken Zisa and the department Tuesday, alleging that they were unlawfully demoted and relegated to walking a beat in retaliation for exercising their right to vote for the union delegate of their choice.

The punishment was particularly excruciating for one the officers, Anthony Ferraioli, who had recently returned to work after suffering a serious foot injury as a result of being struck by a car while on duty, the suit alleges.

Ferraioli, of New Milford, who joined the department in 1990, and Aldrin Lamboy of Saddle Brook, a police officer since 2001, are seeking unspecified damages in their suit against the chief, Capt. John Carroll, Sgt. Anthony Trezza and the department.

The 20-page complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Newark, accuses the defendants of deprivation of civil rights, retaliation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and political affiliation discrimination and harassment, among other allegations.

Trezza is also accused of assault and making terroristic threats against Ferraioli for allegedly telling a lieutenant that he would put a bullet in Ferraioli's head if Ferraioli won an election for Policemen's Benevolent Association president, the suit alleges. Ferraioli lodged a complaint certifying the threat put him in imminent fear of harm, but no action was taken against the sergeant, according to the suit.

"All these allegations are false," Zisa said. "It's unfortunate that public servants choose to waste the taxpayer's money by filing frivolous lawsuits. They should spend their time focusing on doing police work."

Carroll declined to comment and Trezza could not be reached.

"This case reveals the chief of police really abusing his power to try to manipulate an election, which quite frankly is about as contrary to the U.S. Constitution as you can get," said Ty Hyderally, a Montclair attorney representing the plaintiffs. "To engage in the activities which Chief Zisa allegedly did shows a complete disregard for the integrity of the ballot box" and the arrogance of "a person who believes he's above the law."

According to the suit, Zisa made it known that he wanted Detective Tina Clouse to win last year's PBA election and that failing to vote for her would bring consequences.

During the balloting, a sergeant stood next to the ballot box, demanded that all officers show him their written votes and made a list of everyone who refused to do so, the suit alleges.

Ignoring warnings from Trezza and Carroll that they would be transferred if they didn't vote for Clouse, Ferraioli and Lamboy let their superiors know they supported Officer Joseph Inglima, who won the election, according to the suit.

In retaliation, Zisa demoted and reassigned Ferraioli to a walking post, despite his disability and physical limitations due to joint damage and bone chips in his foot, the suit says. He also was wrongly denied medical coverage for the injury and "held out of work" as the defendants failed to respond to a doctor's report that he would need surgery if he returned to a walking post, the suit alleges.

When Ferraioli pressed for light duty or a reasonable accommodation, Zisa responded that he "didn't have the luxury" to grant him light duty and instructed the officer to "pension out at 40 percent," which he refused, the suit says.

Reassigned from the motorcycle division to walking a beat, Lamboy claims his demotion has cost him to ability to earn overtime pay.

When Lamboy formally complained and disclosed that he had a tape recording of the illegal retaliation, Carroll allegedly pressured him to engage in a coverup, according to the suit.

"Plaintiffs have suffered the deprivation of precious constitutional rights, mental anguish, physical discomfort, pain and suffering, shame and embarrassment, and/or aggravation of a previously existing mental or emotional and physical condition," the suit alleges. In addition, it says they have suffered lost wages, a diminished ability to earn a living and a diminished capacity to enjoy their lives.

E-mail: sampson@northjersey.com
« Last Edit: June 05, 2009, 12:23:07 PM by Editor »

Offline SackResident

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Re: Houses on Berry Street - Ken Zisa Connection
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2009, 01:28:48 PM »
Article in the Hackensack Chronicle:

3 city officers set to sue police chief
(by Mark J. Bonamo - June 04, 2009)

Three Hackensack police officers have informed city authorities that they intend to file lawsuits against Police Chief Charles Ken Zisa. The officers allege that Zisa abused his power by retaliating against them for their political views and for not making large enough donations to his political campaign.

The notices of tort claims, which were received by the city on May 12, were filed by officers Anthony Ferraioli, Aldrin Lamboy and Scott Sybel.

Sybel, a city police officer since 1992, also alleges in a letter addressed to Chief Zisa and attached to his notice of tort claim that he was not paid for extensive construction and repair work Sybel did when off duty for the chief and for Deputy Chief Frank Zisa, the chiefs brother. According to the letter, the work, dating from 1996 to 2007, included framing a basement, building decks, replacing windows, fixing roof leaks and installing a hot tub. Sybel also states in the letter that he performed work at the former Dog House Grill restaurant building on River Street, a property partially owned by Chief Zisa.

Chief Zisa abused his official position and powers to cause Officer Sybel [sic] to perform extensive labor and services for Chief Zisas personal enrichment, the claim states.

Sybel is seeking damages of over $300,000.

Officers allege pattern of harassment

All three officers allege a pattern of retaliation and harassment by Chief Zisa surrounding political activities. Sybel maintains in the notice of tort claim that after he refused to donate more than $75 to Zisas assemblyman election fund in 2007, he was transferred out of the Narcotics Division to patrol. Sybel further alleges that Officer Kevin Toomey was illegally soliciting funds in the workplace for the election fund.

Officer Toomey told Officer Sybel [sic] that his check was missing a 0 on the end of it, states the notice of tort claim.

Officers Ferraioli and Lamboy claim that because they backed a different candidate than the one supported by Zisa in last years Policemens Benevolent Association (PBA) election, Zisa retaliated by demoting them and by making them walk foot patrol beats.

Ferraioli was a candidate for president in the May 29 PBA Local 9 election; Lamboy was the vice presidential candidate. The two men lost their leadership bid to incumbents president Philip Carroll and vice president Tina Clouse, with Ferraioli losing the presidential vote by a 50-47 margin. Lamboy was suspended from duty on the same day as the election.

A source who closely observed the election, who wished not to be named, stated that the election results would be appealed to the local, county and state PBA union authorities on the basis of the alleged violation of union bylaws and alleged voter intimidation.

An alleged physical altercation at an April 22 PBA Local 9 meeting between Toomey and retired Hackensack police officer Thomas Aiellos was reportedly related to the PBA leadership struggle.

Involved parties comment

Although Chief Zisa declined to answer questions about specific issues mentioned in the notices of tort claims because of potential litigation, he generally refuted the allegations made in the notices in previously published comments.

The allegations contained in these letters are false, and that eventually will be borne out by whatever litigation ensues with this, he said.

City Attorney Joseph Zisa, the chiefs cousin, declined comment about Ferraiolis and Lamboys notices. However, he stated in previously published comments that he fails to understand why Sybels allegations should involve the city.

His claims against the chief are all his business dealings privately with the chiefand why they are even noticing the city on this makes no sense to me, City Attorney Zisa said.

If he feels like he didnt get treated properly by his other partners, which is frequently allegations between partnerships, then he should access the courts like everybody else does instead of trying to make it a public forum, he added.

Lamboy and Sybel could not be reached by press time. Ferraioli deferred all questions to his attorneys, Ty Hyderally and John J. Zidziunas. Zidziunas is also representing Sybel.

Hyderally, who is representing Ferraioli and Lamboy together with Zidziunas, noted that the two lawyers filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court in Newark on June 2 regarding Ferraioli and Lamboys allegation that Chief Zisa had used intimidation in a June 2008 PBA election to achieve results favorable to him.

Its a situation quite frankly that is sad to see happening, said Hyderally. It would appear that Chief Zisa does not respect the freedom of the ballot box. He abused his power to micromanage the election results in order to achieve his personal interests.

Issues raised about real estate venture

In the letter appended to his notice of tort claim, Sybel made additional allegations about a real estate venture involving both Chief Zisa and City Attorney Zisa.

Sybel claims that in early 2003, Artie Mento, a retired Hackensack police officer, approached him, his brother Douglas and another business partner, John Schianchi, to discuss building a house on Berry Street. According to the letter, Mento would provide the funds, while Sybel and his partners would perform the construction. Sybel maintains that the men agreed that after the house was built, it would be sold immediately. Mento would receive the money he invested back, and the men would split the remaining proceeds evenly. 

But later that year, Sybel claims that the deal changed when Mento informed him that Chief Zisa wanted in on the arrangement.

Artie further said that if I said no or opposed your demands, my career would be finished and that I would be out of narcotics and back to patrol, Sybel writes in the letter to Chief Zisa. We had no choice. We had to let you in.

You came in, despite spending no money or labor.

Mento could not be reached for comment by press time.

Property records indicate that Mento purchased the Berry Street property for $64,000 in July 2002, and that the four other men involved in the deal, including Zisa, bought into the property in March 2004. According to property records, the partners then sold the Berry Street property later that year for $435,000. Sybel claims in the letter that he received $18,000 when the sale was concluded.

I objected to this and told you that I felt robbed, Sybels letter to Zisa states.

City Attorney Zisa represented Chief Zisa, Mento, Schianchi and the Sybels when the partners sold the Berry Street property. In previously published comments, the city attorney said that upon conclusion of the sale, $317,000 went to pay the mortgage remaining on the property, and that after closing costs and additional fees were paid, the partners received $91,800. The city attorney also stated that a part of that money went toward legal fees.

According to property records, in 2004 the five partners registered a company, Cranberry Associates, LLC, with the state. The company proceeded to buy several lots in Paterson that same year. Cranberry Associates then built three houses on part of the property, selling them last year. However, Sybel alleges in the letter that he never saw any money from the Paterson house sales.

In previously published comments, City Attorney Zisa said that he represented Cranberry Associates in some of the sale closings but could not remember exactly how many. The city attorney also stated that he did not know how the profits were split between the partners.

What the partners do with their money, they do with their money, City Attorney Zisa said.

Recent legal controversies swirl around chief

Chief Zisa has been at the center of several legal controversies in recent months.

In February, Hackensack police officer Alessandra Viola leveled harassment allegations against the city police department that were allegedly related to the termination of a romantic relationship with Deputy Chief Zisa and that included allegations that Chief Zisa had attempted to intimidate Hackensack police officers as they voted in a PBA election. Viola also claimed that Chief Zisa reacted to her complaints by directing administrative charges against her.

In the same month, Chief Zisa filed a defamation lawsuit against Deborah Labrosse, a city resident and wife of Councilman-elect John Labrosse, for allegedly writing defamatory statements about him on NJ.coms Hackensack forum. Deborah Labrosse subsequently countersued Zisa, alleging that Zisa tampered with her NJ.com postings, and that she has and will experience intentional improper surveillance of her person and premises by reason of the activity of Zisa.

E-mail: bonamo@northjersey.com


« Last Edit: June 05, 2009, 02:03:17 PM by Editor »

Offline da-mayar

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Re: Houses on Berry Street - Ken Zisa Connection
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2009, 08:38:48 AM »
The word in the street is that when Zisa's section 8 tenants that resided on his Berry Street property were in trouble with the law the law enforcement cronies overlooked them. That Zisa' clan needs to give reparations to the African American folks they falsely accused.

Offline Editor

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Re: Houses on Berry Street - Ken Zisa Connection
« Reply #10 on: June 25, 2009, 09:35:00 AM »
Joy.  Yet another anonymous poster announcing the "word on the street".  Fascinating.

Offline da-mayar

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Re: Houses on Berry Street - Ken Zisa Connection
« Reply #11 on: June 25, 2009, 10:03:06 AM »
Since you are "know it all"  look up who the tenants who resided on Zisa's Berry Street property. Oh, fyi one detective was missing in the complaint it is T. Lloyd.

Offline Editor

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Re: Houses on Berry Street - Ken Zisa Connection
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2009, 04:43:50 PM »
Warning: I will not let this forum become another NJ.com and will shut it down if need be.

There are people who make valuable contributions to this site and those who use it as a platform for their own agenda.  The later can ruin it for everybody.

If you want to annonymously post inuendo there are other sites you can go to.  Keep it off this forum.

Note: I will comply with any subpoena to reveal the IP addresses of anonymous posters who abuse this privilege.

Offline just watching

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Re: Houses on Berry Street - Ken Zisa Connection
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2009, 08:28:16 AM »
I started this string, and my position is that any issue that makes the newspapers is a valid issue for this forum.

I will say, however, that the following statement by de-mayor is a completely contribution:  That Zisa' clan needs to give reparations to the African American folks they falsely accused.

That's an unfounded and incindiary accusation, and I would have no problem if the editor deleted it