Police lieutenant’s lawsuits with Weehawken settled for $747,000

WEEHAWKEN – Two lawsuits by a township police lieutenant alleging political retaliation by Mayor Richard Turner and the building department have been settled by the Township of Weehawken for $747,000.
A federal lawsuit filed in 2008 by Police Lt. Richard DeCosmis said his relationship with Mayor Richard Turner “took a turn for the worse” when he began to complain that a $1.18 million grant from the State Department of Transportation allocated for a “park and ride” was not being utilized, reported the news website Hudson County View, citing court documents.
The suit alleged the land allocated for the “park and ride” was being used as the parking lot for the Bella Vista Estates, developed by Bruce Noel and Nate Salverini, who allegedly were regular contributors to Turner’s political campaigns and allegedly had a “business relationship” with Frank Tattoli, Weehawken’s construction code official.
DeCosmis had reportedly purchased a condominium at Bella Vista Estates where residents were supposed to have “a deeded parking lot” with a space assigned for each unit, which he alleged was not the case.
After DeCosmis said he would contact state authorities regarding the park and ride he said Tattoli allegedly prompted a number of unannounced building inspections that led to building violations on properties owned by him and his family members.
The other lawsuit, alleging that Turner utilized “frequent and unlawful interference with the day-to-day operation[s] of the Weehawken police department” was filed by DeCosmis and then-Police Captain Thomas Earl in November 2007.
After the filing, DeCosmis says that the Weehawken building department continually harassed him.
Shortly after a building inspector was arrested for conducting an unauthorized inspection on a DeCosmis property, the suits alleged Tattoli imposed a stop order on DeCosmis’ home renovations. The charges were later dropped.
In the settlement agreement, DeCosmis agreed to retire on Nov. 1, 2017 and the township will dismiss the disciplinary charges against DeCosmis. The police lieutenant will receive a 15 percent salary increase and the total insurance company payment will be $747,000. Township insurance, not taxpayer dollars, will cover the lump sum.
All future inspection or permit matters related to DeCosmis’ home will be handled by the West New York Building Department and the township and its officials named in the suit do not admit to any wrongdoing as a result of the settlement.

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