Lawsuit Alleges Developer of N.J.’s Tallest Building is Defrauding Condo Purchasers

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99 Hudson Jersey City 1
99 Hudson, Jersey City. Photo courtesy Archinect.

The company behind one of the highest-profile projects in the history of the Garden State is being taken to court over misrepresentations they supposedly made in marketing their building along with a slew of alleged defects and problems that have purportedly gone unaddressed at the property.


On January 15, seven plaintiffs filed a scathing 59-page lawsuit in Hudson County Court against the developers of Jersey City’s 99 Hudson Street. The filers are all under contract to purchase units at the property and named COA 99 Hudson LLC and China Overseas America as defendants in the case.

The 79-story tower has been rising a block from the Hudson River since 2016 and sports 781 condominiums in an amenity-rich environment with sprawling views of Manhattan, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty.

Megha Moza Sells 99 Hudson Penthouse Jersey City
Lower Manhattan. Photo credit Pure Properties.

The prospective buyers’ lawsuit says China Overseas assured them of an “all-encompassing lifestyle experience” in promotion of the property that was “false and misleading” and contradicted a Public Offering Statement (POS) they received upon agreeing to buy at the building.

China Overseas allegedly amended the POS after the plaintiffs signed their respective sales agreements and proceeded to revise architectural plans by removing certain dimensions and measurements. That reality, according to the lawsuit, resulted in smaller units than the buyers had been promised.

“The square footage of the plaintiffs’ units is estimated to be 10 to 20 percent smaller than the dimensions as stated on the POS and the marketing materials,” the complaint says.

99 Hudson Jersey City 2
99 Hudson, Jersey City. Image via Zillow.

One of the plaintiffs, Yujiao Zhang, claims in the lawsuit that she was only allowed one hour immediately before her scheduled closing to conduct an inspection of the unit she agreed to purchase. Zhang, who was set to purchase a $1.59 million condo in the building, also claims China Overseas indicated to her that “she would not be allowed to delay closing even on discovery of substantive issues with the unit during her inspection.”

The lawsuit additionally claims that China Overseas was not upfront about the cost of living at the building, as they amended the POS to dictate owners on the Condominium Association Board pay 25% of the cost for the residential unit that is occupied by the superintendent.

China Overseas supposedly also never disclosed a separate special assessment against condo owners that is due to the Exchange Place Special Improvement District. “As a result of these amendments, plaintiffs, among other unit owners, will have to make significant monetary payments,” the filing says.

99 Hudson Jersey City Penthouse Sells 1
Southern views of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty. Photo credit Pure Properties.

The lawsuit goes on to allege 19 separate problems that have reportedly been discovered at the development. They include issues like cracks in the structure’s parking garage that have caused water leakage, broken skirting boards and base molding, wood flooring that has large gaps between planks, and multiple units that have cracks on the ceilings and walls.

Repairs following a water line break in one unit allegedly revealed a thin wall that contained low quality and sparse insulation. The case even claims that workers discovered an unfinished bottle of fruit juice with an expiration date of July 2019 behind the sheetrock.

Multiple residents at 99 Hudson have reported that their HVAC units are not functioning properly, and several units allegedly have no hot water access. The case claims that windows in multiple condos have gaps between the walls that have caused management to seal certain panes, some of which have been secured with tape from the exterior of the building.

99 Hudson Jersey City Penthouse Sells
Views from the 75th floor. Photo credit Pure Properties.

The filing claims this particular issue is so widespread that China Overseas America’s Director of Sales Gary Cicerello “admitted in a virtual town hall meeting that almost all of the windows [in] the units of the property need further fixing before they can safely open.”

All the plaintiffs in the lawsuit agreed to buy units priced over $783,000 and claim to have repeatedly tried to cancel their contracts. Supposedly, their requests have been “repeatedly delayed and ignored” and their deposit money is still being held in escrow with law firm Connell Foley LLP, who is named an additional defendant in the case.

An inquiry regarding the litigation placed by Jersey Digs to the PR team representing China Overseas has not yet been answered.

The lawsuit seeks damages for breach of contract, violations of the Consumer Fraud Act, and violation of New Jersey’s Planned Real Estate Development Full Disclosure Act, along with a declaration that the plaintiffs’ sales agreements are null and void.

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30 COMMENTS

  1. China builders. China marketers. China sales team. China ownership.

    Accused of fraud and misleading customers? Color me SHOCKED.

  2. Sounds like problems that most new buildings jersey city or anywhere would have . I had some similar issues when I bought my condo . The builders are usually happy to fix these issues and things usually get resolved eventually. Sounds like bunch of entitled brats

  3. The real problem is that Buyers are realizing that they over paid for a mediocre product. This building was way over priced from day one.

  4. We had a very negative experience when shopping around with their sales team.

    They dodged many questions when asked and the numbers didn’t make sense. I distinctly remember asking how monthly maintainence per sq foot could be so much lower than the market average in the area (they quoted 30% less) and they came up with a bs calculation that didn’t net out when you actually did the math.

    For the cherry on top, after one month of walking away from their sales pitch they returned with a heavy discount (went from original quote of 1.1mm down to 750k) out of the blue. Extreme red flag! Glad we went with our gut and walked away from false promises!

  5. nj guy unfortunately many of the companies are non union and in many cases buildings of that size are bid out 20 floors at a time so no consistency is ever established and the end result is a problematic bld. with yrs. of work orders all in the name of profits its a shame

  6. @CC Proof?I am pretty sure this 1.1mil to 750k isn’t true. I have been in real estate in this area for many years. Not a huge fan of 99 but I have enough information that this never happened.

  7. @Samson Absolutely! But you still cannot afford it, oops 🙊 wait, maybe your self-proud can buy you a chicken over rice downstairs at 99 Hudson

  8. I worked that job for 3 years and while it is owned by a Chinese company, I can only recall a single Asian guy on the job the entire time and he had nothing to do with China Overseas. The Asian defamatory comments are Stupid and unfounded. As far as building flaws, in any new construction of that sort there is always a lot of settling and with the height of that building, it is a really always moving with the wind. It takes a while for the building to “stabilize” . As a result you willl see cracks etc show up faster and more frequently. The job job was all done union so the one commenters assessment about contractors was unfounded and wrong. The problems that exist in that building weren’t caused by the people that built it. Things like a thin wall or poor insulation would be impossible as the construction was all very consistent and inspected often.

  9. Very common in New Jersey. I purchased a new condo in 2007 in Hudson County and encountered simialr issues. Shoddy construction with so many other problems. Mold being the number one. Rain water coming in through windows, leaks, electrical damages because of water. No insulation. Central air and heater eventually stopped working. Wooden floor planks comimg off the floor. I gave it up in 2013 but lost lots of money. Basically my American dream became my nightmare.

  10. Whos butt you kissing. Oh, the secrets i could tell. I was there from day one until the end. When you pour concrete as fast as that was, and using less rebar than usual, you will have those problems. Inspected regularly, who you trying to fool. Tell the truth or shut up

  11. Don Juan doesn’t know what he is talking about. High rises never *stabilize*. They are constantly moving to and fro. A competent structural engineer takes this into consideration when designing a building. What can not be accounted for 100% is humidity and heat issues which is the cause for most cracking in walls and ceilings. Basically, all building components (wood, concrete, steel, etc.) are effected by moisture and humidity which causes the expansion of said materials, typically during the summer months, and then the drying or shrinkage of these materials when the heat is turned on inside during the winter months. This is what causes cracks to occur. Floors too shrink and warp if they are installed before the wood is acclimated to the new site. Also inspections don’t necessarily mean shit.

    Also as to the issue of mold, it is a very common problem even in *luxe* condos in NYC. The main issue is that cement board installed in the shower/ tub is NOT waterproof. (Nor is grout or cement.) The only way to control or eliminate mold is install a vapor barrier (6 mil plastic) OVER the insulation, then apply a waterproofing product (like Hydroban) over the cement board before the tiles are installed. A waterproofing product should also be used during or after the grout is applied. Caveat emptor.

  12. Expecting the terms you agree to in a signed contract to be fulfilled isn’t being an entitled brat. You sound like you’re just sticking with your biases rather than admit this is clearly a shady operation.

  13. I was on the inside of this job. What happened was every trade treated this job like it was an endless money supply. Contractors pushed guys to do crappy work with cheap materials, then charged for top of the line work. Everyone made tons of money. The contractors made record profits. The building was over budget, behind in the opening, so 99 was pushing people to sign on the dotted line to try to recoup some money. It was sickening what was going on. The contractors should be ashamed. The products used are home depot quality at best.

  14. With the furious pace of development in JC, Manhattan, LIC, Brooklyn, etc. that has been going on for years and years, you have to ask yourself as a buyer: Where are all these workers coming from? Probably they are forced to use rookies to lay tile etc. Is it even physically possible that there enough qualified workers to meet the insane level of development of the last few years? Even if these workers came in from other parts of the country, where would they live — in their vans?

  15. What is the name of the company and the phone number for the company that filed this lawsuit? Is it possible for other people to join this lawsuit?

  16. So what did the owner get? A six figure “as is” piece of real property?:(

    You get what you pay for. The NJ Dept of Real Estate needs to know about this fiasco.

  17. This is garbage, GuyFromJC, plain and simple. 432 Park in NYC is the very same: jerry built and full of nothing but construction problems.

    You will get what you pay for….every single time. As if owning one of these slummy condos makes you somebody at all.:( Fooey.

  18. The builder will show you the bright side and put on friendly mask when selling the condo, once you close the contract, they will just be themselves, showing who they really are and ingoring your emails, lying about the CO issuing, delaying punch list items for months and let you suffer in broken venting system, poor AC home. DO NOT TRUST THEM.

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