Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Sanzari Dumped Illegally, Suit Says

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Sanzari Dumped Illegally, Suit Says

Article excerpt

A federal lawsuit alleges that a Bergen County businessman oversaw the illegal dumping of 6,000 cubic meters of contaminated materials on a North Bergen property and misled the state to cover it up.

The alleged dumping scheme conducted by public contracting magnate Joseph Sanzari and his son-in-law, Timothy Murray, left a 2- acre Fairview Avenue site filled with unacceptable levels of mercury, lead and a range of other harmful compounds, the suit said.

Sanzari companies, the court papers said, also filled in federally protected wetlands and dumped hazardous chemicals directly into a pair of streams that lead from the site to the Hackensack River.

The suit was filed in January by the site's owner, AMA Realty of Allendale, which says it leased the property to Sanzari in 2007 for the storage of construction equipment. At the time, Sanzari owned an asphalt-recycling facility adjacent to the site that was managed by Murray.

Calls to Sanzari's corporate office in Hackensack were not returned Wednesday.

A lawyer for Sanzari, Timothy E. Corriston of Connell Foley in Roseland, declined to comment in detail but referred to the suit as "fluff."

"Basically it's a landlord-tenant dispute that's been overblown by the plaintiff," he said. "We deny that our operations caused any contamination on the property."

John A. Daniels, an attorney for AMA Realty and its president, Michael D. Aita, said in an interview that the allegations in the suit are based in part on more than a year's research by environmental experts hired by the landlord.

The lawsuit alleges that the dumping altered the topography of the site to such an extent that it now chronically floods. The property is worthless, the suit says.

"We have a very strong case and can show how my client has been hurt," Daniels said. "He is looking forward to his day in court."

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court, Newark, in January, says Sanzari, his son-in-law and their companies engaged in "racketeering" as defined under federal RICO statutes. …

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