Want an apartment in New Jersey? It will be costlier than it should be because of politicians who hold up promising developments to help their cronies.
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I first covered the hold-up about 3 years ago, after I confronted Edgewater, New Jersey mayor Michael McPartland.
“Are you on the take?” I asked at a town council meeting, after he’d ignored interview requests.
He never answered.
McPartland was accused of corruptly blocking an exciting new development of hundreds of waterfront apartments — all to protect his powerful developer friend Fred Daibes.
He and other city council members lived in one of Daibes’ buildings.
A lawsuit alleged that nearly 2,000 competing apartments were blocked by Daibes and the town council.
The mayor and council got aggressive, even at one point attempting to seize the competing developer’s land using eminent domain. That was stopped in court.
Since my first reporting, a few things have changed. After the developer sued, claiming corruption, McPartland and the city council switched sides. The corruption suit was dropped, and the politicians agreed to approve most of the developer’s proposed construction.
Sadly, the exciting development still remains unbuilt. That’s because now a spa — with close connections to Daibes, according to the developer — has sued Edgewater, saying the council was not allowed to approve the development under duress of a corruption lawsuit.
Thanks to politicians, lawyers, and their cronies, beautiful waterfront property remains… a dump. Taxpayers, and renters, lose.