A condo association claims that a company co-owned by the wife of Jersey City’s mayor purchased their storefront to “facilitate the installation of a cannabis dispensary under the false pretense of relocating a physical therapy practice.”
Earlier this week, a lawsuit was filed in Hudson County Superior Court by 51-53 Fourteenth Street Condominium Association. Named as defendants are 51-53 14th Retail LLC, who currently own the former Hudson Tavern storefront in the building after buying it earlier this year.
Additional defendants include Exchange Physical Therapy Group and co-owners Drew Nussbaum and Jaclyn Fulop, the wife of Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop. A cannabis company named Story Dispensary of Hoboken LLC and co-owners Samantha Silva and Howard Hintz are also listed as defendants.
The timeline of the lawsuit goes back to last July, when the condo board claims Nussbaum, Ms. Fulop, and non-party Steve Fulop attended a showing of the storefront when it was listed for sale.
The case alleges that Mr. Fulop quickly asked if the seller “was willing to take the property off the market at that time” and claims that “Nussbaum verbally confirmed on numerous occasions…that he intended to move his physical therapy/chiropractic practice to the commercial space.”
That intention was allegedly detailed within the eventual purchase agreement according to the complaint, as the contract included a line reading “The Buyer intends to use the Property as a Commercial CONDO for use as a medical office.”
While the sale of the storefront eventually closed last November for $2.4 million, the case claims that contentions emerged earlier this year when “[51-53 14th Retail LLC] entered into a letter of intent to lease this commercial space to Story [Dispensary]– a newly formed entity.”
“Despite the representations made by [51-53 14th Retail], the property is not intended to be used as a ‘medical office,’ but rather by Story as a recreational cannabis dispensary.” Story Dispensary submitted their application to the city in January and has not applied for any medicinal marijuana component.
The lawsuit claims that ownership behind Story Dispensary never provided the condo board with proper notice before they appeared before both Hoboken’s Cannabis Review Board and the Historic Preservation Committee.
“These deceptive and fraudulent actions on the part of Defendants were effectuated to deprive the Association the opportunity to be heard…and prevent the Association from enforcing the requirements of the New Jersey Condominium Act and its Governing Documents,” the case reads.
The complaint additionally claims that the owners of the commercial space have violated the building’s master deed by “failing to seek approval of alterations to the Common Elements” that would be part of their dispensary plan.
The condo board’s lawsuit says their trustees took action in April over the proposed dispensary, adopting a resolution that prohibits “the sale, use, display, transfer, distribution and/or smoking vaping, or aerosolizing of cannabis” at the storefront. The board says that all the residential unit owners are opposed to the “improper and unapproved use of this space as a cannabis dispensary.”
The case claims that a cannabis dispensary at the property is “incongruent with the character of the building, [the] residential zone, and is undermined by the express representations made to the seller of the commercial unit to induce sale.”
Jersey Digs has reached out to the Exchange Physical Therapy Group for comment on the accusations and placed an email to an address associated with the newly formed Story Dispensary. We have not yet received a response as of press time.
The condo board’s lawsuit is seeking an injunction to block the dispensary along with damages for nuisance, common law fraud, and civil conspiracy. The case was filed on May 9th in the Chancery division.
While the Story Dispensary application was an allowable use under Hoboken’s zoning laws when submitted, officials passed legislation last month placing new restrictions on where cannabis dispensaries can operate. Per TapInto, four councilmembers have called on Story Dispensary to “voluntarily withdraw” their application.