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Old 12-28-2012, 09:49 PM
ROAD RUNNER ROAD RUNNER is offline
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Edgewater - decades later & same cast of characters operating

The Record (New Jersey)
February 12, 1989


SHAREHOLDERS SUE OVER 1987 CO-OP FIRE NEGLIGENCE ALLEGED IN BLAZE AT WATERS EBB IN EDGEWATER
Author: By Peter J. Sampson, Record Staff Writer; The Record


Shareholders at the fire-ravaged Waters Ebb apartment complex in Edgewater have filed a class action suit alleging negligence by the cooperative's sponsors, managing agents, board of directors, general counsel, and insurance agent contributed to their multimillion-dollar loss.

The 28-count complaint alleges that the defendants contributed to the severity of the fire and consequent losses by shareholders by allowing inoperable fire alarms, failing to provide adequate insurance, and through mismanagement.

The suit was filed in state Superior Court, Hackensack, Friday on the eve of the second anniversary of the predawn blaze that gutted one of the cooperative's two 102-unit garden apartment buildings on River Road.
Defendants who could be reached for comment branded the accusations as completely untrue.

Workers are nearing completion of a new building to replace the demolished structure, but the final cost is expected to exceed $8 million about twice the amount paid by the insurance company for the loss.

"We're seeking to the extent possible to recoup whatever monies we can to benefit the people in both buildings," said Gary S. Redish, who with co-counsel Steven I. Adler is representing 47 of the cooperative's shareholders in the class action. The suit seeks unspecified damages and a jury trial.

Named as defendants are: attorneys James D. Demetrakis, David Carmel, and Paul Kaufman, sponsors of the 1984 conversion; managing agents Oliver, McCartney & Holmes, Inc. and Elite Property Management Co.; Fred Diabes and his Edgewater-based insurance agencies; six members of the co-op board; the cooperative's general counsel, Ira Berliner; and Dietz International Group, a public adjuster.

Without specifically pinpointing the blame, the suit alleges that the board, the sponsor, the managing agents, and Daibes, either in concert or separately, were "grossly negligent" in reducing the cooperative's fire insurance coverage, leaving the unsuspecting shareholders vulnerable to a tremendous loss.

Waters Ebb had carried a blanket fire-insurance policy of $10 million and an additional $1 million in coverage against the loss of rental income should an apartment become uninhabitable. But when the policy was renewed seven months before the Feb. 12, 1987, fire, the rent-loss coverage was canceled and fire loss was capped at $5 million per building.

The suit also alleges that while serving as the sponsors representative on the board, Kaufman, "through manipulation, fraud, [and] self-dealing," convinced the board to accept a general release that frees the sponsors from any legal claims the cooperative or its shareholders may bring against them.

The release was granted in consideration of the sponsors personal guarantee for a bank loan to fund construction and refinancing of the cooperative's debt. The suit alleged Kaufman failed to tell shareholders about the release when they authorized a $7.7 million loan, and that Berliner falsely represented to the bank that shareholders had approved an $8.4 million loan. Kaufman and Carmel branded the allegations "absolutely false" and "scandalous" and said the truth would come out in the course of the litigation.

"They can say what they want," Kaufman said. "We committed no fraud. It was valid consideration for a guarantee. Without our guarantee, there would have been no reconstruction. "

The suit also alleged the sponsors failed to extend the buildings fire walls and make other safety-related repairs that would have limited the extent of the blaze. It also said that Oliver, McCartney & Holmes, a firm headed by Demetrakis and Carmel, and Elite Management were responsible for maintaining the building's fire alarms and smoke detectors, which were either shut off or broken at the time of the blaze.

Carmel said that Elite had taken over management of the co-op about two months before the fire. A spokesman for Elite had no immediate comment.

The suit seeks to wrest control of the cooperative from the defendant directors. They were accused of mismanagement and keeping shareholders in the dark by failing to hold regular meetings, take minutes, provide annual budget and financial statements, conduct elections, and insure that the sponsor and managing agents fulfilled their obligations.

Daibes, Berliner, and the board members could not be reached for comment.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:48 PM
ROAD RUNNER ROAD RUNNER is offline
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Re: Edgewater - decades later & same cast of characters operating

WOW, 2 suspicious fires on the same yacht in one month! Gee, wonder if the old chap was under-insured like his Water Ebb clients?

June 16, 1989
ARSON BLAMED FOR YACHT'S DESTRUCTION
The RecordBy The Record


An arsonist triggered the explosion that destroyed a $135,000 cabin cruiser at the Grand Cove Marina & Yacht Club late Wednesday night, authorities said Thursday. No injuries were reported.

"At this point, we don't have a suspect," said Bergen County Acting Prosecutor John G. Holl, who would not reveal what set off the 9:50 p.m. explosion.

The boat was owned by Fred Daibes, who lives on River Road in the borough. Daibes did not return a telephone message left with his daughter.

Wednesday's explosion marked the second suspicious fire on the 42-foot cabin cruiser this month. Police reported that a small fire damaged the boat while it was dry-docked on June 5.

A security guard patrolling the lot heard the explosion and called police, Holl said. Messages left with the club's answering service were not returned Thursday.

Deputy Chief Herbert H. Allmers of the prosecutor's office said that investigators have not uncovered a motive.
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Old 12-29-2012, 01:28 AM
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Re: Edgewater - decades later & same cast of characters operating

“HUMOROUS ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS”

Demetrakis insisted “:You could build a house on it. You could probably even eat it."
The land is owned by his friend and business partner, Fred Daibes.
* Hey, maybe Edgewater residents should offer the 2 Mr. D's a cup of Sludge Dump Soup?

State officials, who say they found out recently about the high levels of toxic metal in the sludge, say residents should be concerned but not panicked.
All residents, however, should avoid walking near the sludge or coming in direct contact with it, he said.
* Don't panick, but avoid walking near the sludge??:

Borough officials, said "Demetrakis had led them to believe the sludge was not contaminated. He told us that the stuff was almost certainly harmless, so we allowed him to dredge it was more or less a favor to him said Councilwoman Neda Rose. “

Demetrakis said, "The bottom line here is that some council people who can barely read and write.”

* Edgewater elected BUFFOONS then and now, WOW some-things just never change!

* Guess when it comes to $$$$$$$$$ and you are dealing with a bunch of elected thick-wits, the ends justify the means!!

The Record (New Jersey)
June 30, 1996


DOWN ON THE DUMP IN EDGEWATER
Author: By JEFF PILLETS, Staff Writer; The Record

Almost every morning for the past six years, the arrival of Allison Keyes at the Harborside Deli for a buttered roll and coffee has been as predictable as the rush-hour traffic jam on River Road in Edgewater. But since last week, Keyes says, her early-morning ritual has become an "exercise in stink."

That's because a two-acre stretch of south Edgewater near the deli has been turned into a sludge dump, compliments of waterfront developer James Demetrakis and the Borough Council.

The sludge an otherworldly mass of gray-green goo up to 6 feet deep in places is actually dredged-out Hudson River muck from the Demetrakis-owned Grand Cove Marina and Yacht Club at the north end of town. The slimy mass sits about 15 feet off River Road at the doorstep of Shadyside, a quaint patch of the Hudson waterfront sprinkled with cafes, art galleries, and restaurants. It's also just a few hundred feet from a sparkling new $50 million mall that many hope will boost Edgewater's dogeared image.

"Maybe we can have a grand opening for the mall and a grand opening for the new dump at the same time," said Jerry Maron, the owner of a Shadyside art gallery who says the stink has repelled potential customers.

In an interview Friday, Demetrakis insisted that his sludge dump expected to grow to 20,000 cubic yards in the coming weeks meets all requirements of a dumping permit granted to him by the state last month. "That stuff is as harmless as the dirt in your back yard," he said."It's as clean as it can possibly be. You could build a house on it. You could probably even eat it."

But according to Demetrakis' own environmental consultant, the sludge being dumped on Shadyside carries three toxic metals in concentrations exceeding limits set by the state. The consultant, Kenneth Paul, a chemist at EcolSciences Inc. in Rockaway, said recent sludge samplings show levels of cadmium two to three times higher than allowed by the Department of Environmental Protection. The samples also contained beryllium at levels approaching twice the maximum. The concentrations of both metals exceeded maximum levels allowed for both residential and commercial land uses.

In addition, the tests showed marginally high levels of arsenic. Levels in three samples taken averaged about 21 parts per million, about 1 part per million higher than permitted by the state for commercial land use, Paul said.

Borough officials, who said Demetrakis had led them to believe the sludge was not contaminated, promise to stop the dumping if they find the developer has broken the terms of his state permit. Members of the Borough Council voted to approve the dumping in April on the condition that the sludge was clean. "He told us that the stuff was almost certainly harmless, so we allowed him to dredge it was more or less a favor to him so he could open up his marina in time for the boating season,' said Councilwoman Neda Rose. "Now, we'll have to take a closer look at that permit as fast as possible."

The dredge-and-dump operation, as carried out over the past 11 days, is clearly at odds with some procedures set down in the May 24 DEP permit. Although the permit calls for construction of a berm to contain the sludge and water runoff, none has yet been built. Residents walk unimpeded to the edges of the sludge dump. Motorists on River Road have a clear view of the mound as it gets closer and closer to the two-lane highway. And while the permit requires all dredged material to be hauled in sealed trucks, residents say a lot of the slimy stuff has spilled out onto the roadway.

"The stuff dries and the dust flies everywhere. It's just laying over there smelly and uncovered," said Tina Munson, who runs a popular art school in Shadyside. "You could hardly imagine a bigger insult to the neighborhood."
State officials, who say they found out recently about the high levels of toxic metal in the sludge, say residents should be concerned but not panicked.

David Risilia, an official in the DEP's Office of Inland Regulation, said concentrations of the contaminants would be too low in airborne dust to pose any kind of health risk. All residents, however, should avoid walking near the sludge or coming in direct contact with it, he said.

Risilia said Demetrakis will most likely be required to mix the sludge with clean fill or crushed rock to lower the concentration of heavy-metal contaminants. Although he said that the dumping probably will not be halted for now, he said inspectors probably will visit the site in coming days and insist that a berm be built. "For now, use common sense and stay away," he said. "If we find the area hasn't been properly secured, Mr. Demetrakis will be cited and we could put a stop to the project."

Demetrakis, however, denies there are any violations of his agreements with either the town or the state. He says it is impossible to haul the sludge without spilling some. He also says that he doesn't have to build a berm because he is dumping the material in a "depression that acts like a berm." The land is owned by his friend and business partner, Fred Daibes.
"The bottom line here is that I'm being harassed by a handful of people who hate me and some council people who can barely read and write," he said. "I'm trying to dredge my marina so I can do something for this town, so I can keep it tied to the water like it is supposed to be. "But I might as well just turn the marina into a strip shopping center or something like that let's see how much people would like that," he added.

Demetrakis is a major partner in several land corporations that now own, or once controlled, most of Edgewater's 2.8-mile waterfront. He is also lead attorney for former Hartz Mountain Vice President Gene Heller, developer of the newly completed Edgewater Commons mall.

As Heller's lawyer, he played a major role in negotiations with River Road property owners on a controversial widening of the heavily traveled highway. After being hired by A&P two years ago, he was able to push through a major expansion of the grocery chain's Fort Lee store despite a groundswell of community opposition.
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Old 12-30-2012, 08:42 AM
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Re: Edgewater - decades later & same cast of characters operating

Quote:
Originally Posted by ROAD RUNNER View Post
The suit also alleged the sponsors failed to extend the buildings fire walls and make other safety-related repairs that would have limited the extent of the blaze. It also said that Oliver, McCartney & Holmes, a firm headed by Demetrakis and Carmel, and Elite Management were responsible for maintaining the building's fire alarms and smoke detectors, which were either shut off or broken at the time of the blaze.
The fire walls are also my understanding of what was responsible for the spread of the fire. Chuck Batch will likely be able to elaborate. Unfortunately, he probably won't be able to comment on the boat (and numerous other) fires.
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:24 AM
ROAD RUNNER ROAD RUNNER is offline
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Re: Edgewater - decades later & same cast of characters operating

ONE FOR BRIARCLIFF & CLIFFSIDE PARK RESIDENTS

CLIFFSIDE PARK LAND SWINDLE?? YOU DECIDE!
WOW, Mayor Ger’s “blunder”, conveniently turns into Daibes’ financial windfall and Cliffside Park taxpayer’s lose out!

“HUMOROUS (BELIEVE IT OR NOT) ARTICLE’S HIGHLIGHTS”

Mayor Gerald A. Calabrese concedes that he and other Cliffside Park officials blundered when the borough's claim to a small piece of property was relinquished for $1 to a real-estate investor who packaged it with an adjacent tract in Fort Lee and sold them for $198,500.

By giving up any municipal rights to the parcel, Calabrese cleared the way for the investor (Daibes) to more than double his investment in just three months.

It has little value, except to the adjacent property owners, because it has no road frontage.

* Hey Ger apparently not to your friend, shyster Daibes. Hope he gave you a generous campaign donation!

On a deed dated Apr. 22 and prepared by Daibes's lawyer, Calabrese surrendered any interest the borough had in the parcel to Daibes for $1.
By the time the council ratified the mayor's action on May 6, Daibes already had sold his property for $198,500 to a contractor who is building a two-family house on the site.


"There was a mix-up," said the mayor, who signed away any borough interest in the parcel. The document signed by the mayor, however, clearly refers to the foreclosure and the county deed book in which it was recorded.

"We didn't break the law," Calabrese said.*

Really Ger, maybe, maybe not broke the law, but “ETHICALLY”?

Unbelievable!!

The Record (New Jersey)
October 3, 1986
TRACT `GIVEAWAY QUESTIONED
Author: By Peter J. Sampson, Staff Writer; The Record

Mayor Gerald A. Calabrese concedes that he and other Cliffside Park officials blundered when the borough's claim to a small piece of property was relinquished for $1 to a real-estate investor who packaged it with an adjacent tract in Fort Lee and sold them for $198,500.

By giving up any municipal rights to the parcel, Calabrese cleared the way for the investor to more than double his investment in just three months. The investor paid $80,000 for both tracts but could not obtain clear title to one of them until Cliffside Park relinquished an old claim.

Cliffside Park officials acknowledged earlier this week that they did not know the town had foreclosed on the land 35 years ago as a result of a tax dispute. It's not clear whether the borough owned the land, but if it did, state law would have required officials to get an appraisal and give all contiguous property owners the right to bid on the parcel.

"There was a mix-up," said the mayor, who signed away any borough interest in the parcel in April on the advice of the borough attorney and tax assessor. "If we made a mistake, we've got to rectify it."

The document signed by the mayor, however, clearly refers to the foreclosure and the county deed book in which it was recorded. Rather than check the county records, however, borough officials relied on their own files.

"We didn't break the law," Calabrese said. "All we had was the facts before us. " He and other officials could not explain why the county records weren't reviewed.

Calabrese said he will seek council approval Tuesday to have a court clarify the borough's claim on the property. The court could allow the borough to collect some extra compensation for the parcel, or decide it simply "slept on its rights" for too long and has no valid claim, lawyers said.

Charles Martini and Eugene Babbini, the two Republicans running for council in November, called the transaction a "giveaway" and questioned why Calabrese signed the deed before receiving council approval, as is customary but wasn't required.

"How much more abuse can he [the taxpayer] take? " asked a campaign flyer the Republican campaign mailed to every borough household.
The parcel in question, about 1,000 square feet, is an undersized triangle off Inwood Terrace. It has little value, except to the adjacent property owners, because it has no road frontage.

The triangle, measuring 27 feet at the rear base and 75 and 80 feet along its sides, is part of a larger lot 25 feet by 101 feet by 33 feet that stretches into Fort Lee, according to the deed the mayor signed.

Fort Lee has been taxing the Cliffside Park portion since 1935 under an agreement that divided up the borderline lots in both towns for tax-collection purposes. The borough's claim on the parcel dates to a 1951 housecleaning in which the town foreclosed on several dozen properties for delinquent taxes.
The foreclosure was recorded at the county building in Hackensack, and Borough Attorney Joseph Clark said he didn't know why it wasn't recorded in Cliffside Park.

The foreclosure, however, was discovered during a title search conducted for Fred A. Daibes, the Edgewater real-estate investor who on Jan. 23 signed a contract with one of his workers, Henry J. Spielman Jr., to purchase a 50-by-101-by-66-foot property at 805 Inwood Terrace in Fort Lee that includes the parcel in Cliffside Park. The Spielman family had been paying the property taxes to Fort Lee since 1945.

Earlier in January, Daibes's lawyer sent a letter asking the borough to execute a deed relinquishing any interest in the land so Daibes could obtain clear title to the property. Such a deed is called a quitclaim deed.
"I had the impression this [quitclaim] was needed because of the old [tax] agreement, and this was releasing any right for back taxes," Clark said.

Referred to assessor Clark said he referred the request to Robert Iulo, the borough tax assessor, who researched the matter and later advised him that there was no record of borough ownership or any interest since Fort Lee had been collecting the taxes on the parcel for the last half century.

"I asked Iulo if he had anything on the records, and he wrote back no. I'm not blaming Iulo because he gave me what he had," Clark said. Asked for comment on the matter, John R. Baldwin, director of the state tax board that oversees municipal assessors, said: "I think the borough attorney made a mistake if he relied on the assessor to look that up. " Baldwin said tax assessors do not have the responsibility or legal training to do title searches.

Said Clark: "In retrospect, I think all of us can say we should have done more. " However, he added, the quitclaim was presented to him as a way to clear up any lingering claim for back taxes, not because of the foreclosure.
Daibes, meanwhile, closed his $80,000 deal with Spielman without obtaining a clear title and continued to press the borough for a release so he could then sell the property to a builder.

He tore down the old shack on the property and secured a variance from the Fort Lee Board of Adjustment to permit construction of a two-family dwelling. Daibes said he spent about $25,000 in construction and legal fees to prepare the site and get the building approval, which was granted Apr. 15.

On a deed dated Apr. 22 and prepared by Daibes's lawyer, Calabrese surrendered any interest the borough had in the parcel to Daibes for $1.
By the time the council ratified the mayor's action on May 6, Daibes already had sold his property for $198,500 to a contractor who is building a two-family house on the site.
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Old 01-03-2013, 08:04 PM
Valory Bardinas Valory Bardinas is offline
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Re: Edgewater - decades later & same cast of characters operating

Same players same swindle on tax payers.

At December's council meeting Councilmen Michael Henwood had the audacity to expound that " the room is filled with people from Cliffside Park, and frankly we have to do what is right for Edgewater. There are a few people here from Edgewater, but these are the same people who come to all the meeting and all they do is complaint. So anything they have to say is disingenuous." Watch the tapes of the council meeting, you won't believe it.

The nerve of people coming to council meetings to complain about what has been going on in this town. Imagine complaining about fiscal waste, and corruption. Shame on us.
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Old 01-12-2013, 05:10 PM
ROAD RUNNER ROAD RUNNER is offline
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Re: Edgewater - decades later & same cast of characters operating

Researching historical articles is not only interesting, but also very enlightening.

The following historical articles related to the Alcoa aluminum factory, describe a sequence of coincidental events, which are just extraordinary and subsequently resulted in yet another financial windfall for one local developer.

OVERVIEW
In 1983, Oskar Brecher, president of Amland Properties,Inc of NY bought the Alcoa plant.

In late 1984, Brecher, won approval to convert the historic property, which had gained national landmark status in 1978, into 709 luxury apartments. Dubbed Renaissance Square, plans for the $100 million development called for 529 apartments in the L-shaped former factory and for an additional 180 units in a new midrise building to the south.

But within six months, traces of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs - chemicals once used as fire retardants but now linked to cancer - were discovered in oil patches on several floors. What began as a relatively small cleanup kept escalating in size and cost until Brecher eventually gave up. In 1991, after five years of litigation in federal court, the Aluminum Company of America acknowledged responsibility for massive PCB contamination, took back the property, and agreed to reimburse Brecher some $20 million he had spent on the cleanup.

The PCB contamination, while widespread, does not pose a health hazard to neighbors, said Jim Staples, a DEP spokesman. "It's not that high a priority for us to move on it, as long as they agree to mothball it. " Posti said Pittsburgh-based Alcoa, which operates 128 aluminum plants worldwide, may eventually decide to complete the Edgewater cleanup and sell the plant to another developer. " Brecher has an option to buy it back from Alcoa at the same price within five years.


MIRACOLOUSLY, in 1997 (six years later) NJDEP Officials claimed that less than 1 percent of the 130,000-ton building is contaminated with PCBs and INCREDIABLEY, just happens to hire Daibes and Sons an Edgewater-based demolition and development company to knock down the plant and crush it into fill at an estimated $10 million and also paid an additional $2.5 million for disposal of any tainted material that might turn up unexpectedly.

After the demolition and final approval by the state, UNBELIEVABLY, Alcoa sold the property to the Daibes firm for $8 million. Daibes immediately begin work on the luxury apartment complex, which would include 400 to 450 rental units starting at about $1,800 a month.

Around 1998- 1999, the property changed hands again when AvalonBay Communities Inc., a national real estate firm, paid $13.5 million for the site.

The Record
July 19, 1991

PCBS KILL $104M APARTMENT PLAN SUNK BY $40M CLEANUP COST
Author: By Lisa Rein, Record Staff Writer; The Record

A proposed 709-unit apartment complex that was to be a linchpin in Edgewater's transformation from factory town to bedroom community is dead, a victim of hazardous wastes on the project's site.

The $104 million project was sunk by the estimated $40 million cost of cleaning up PCB contamination at the former Alcoa aluminum factory, which a developer had wanted to convert to apartments.

The Aluminum Company of America, acknowledging responsibility for massive PCB contamination in the concrete floors, walls, and ceilings of the hulking 10-story building, has bought it back for $10 from Oskar Brecher, the last of several developers to try to refurbish the site.

Settling a 5-year-old federal lawsuit over liability for the carcinogen's cleanup, Alcoa has also agreed to pay Brecher an undisclosed sum to recover his costs for partial cleanup of PCBs on the site, said Alcoa spokesman Alfred Posti. PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, were used in machine oils until their manufacture was banned in 1976.

Brecher's attorney, Robert Wayne of Newark, declined to comment on the settlement, but Mayor Bryan Christiansen said the cleanup cost Brecher, president of Amland Properties Inc. of New York, close to $20 million. And state environmental officials say it is far from complete.

"When the plant closed, the world didn't know PCBs were considered hazardous, but we would never have denied being responsible for the contamination," Posti said. The June 27 settlement kills the approvals Brecher received from the town in 1985 to convert the former plant to 709 luxury apartments. The complex was to have been Edgewater's second-largest, behind the 1,200-unit Independence Harbor.

The plant was built in 1915 and closed in 1967. It was designated a national historic landmark because of its unusual features, including reinforced concrete columns and 17-foot ceilings. In its heyday during World War II and the Korean War, 2,000 laborers welded aircraft parts and rolled aluminum foil.

Brecher bought the building in 1983, after three other owners had tried to develop it. PCBs were discovered at the site shortly after the apartments were approved. In 1986, the state Department of Environmental Protection ordered Amland to begin the cleanup, but as its costs rose, Brecher took Alcoa to court to pay for it.

Alcoa's New Jersey subsidiary will act as caretaker of the 1.5 million-square-foot River Road property, which fell into disrepair in the late 1980s when Amland abandoned the cleanup until the lawsuit was resolved, Posti said. The property will be landscaped, construction debris removed, broken windows replaced, and a new fence and security system installed to seal off the building, Posti said.

The PCB contamination, while widespread, does not pose a health hazard to neighbors, said Jim Staples, a DEP spokesman. "It's not that high a priority for us to move on it, as long as they agree to mothball it. " Posti said Pittsburgh-based Alcoa, which operates 128 aluminum plants worldwide, may eventually decide to complete the Edgewater cleanup and sell the plant to another developer. Brecher has an option to buy it back from Alcoa at the same price within five years.

The town made an unexpected real estate profit from the protracted legal battle. As part of the settlement, Alcoa agreed early this week to pay Edgewater $750,000 for a two-acre plot across the street from the building, property that Brecher donated to the town when he won his approvals six years ago. The town and the school district considered using the property for an expansion of the only elementary school, but PCB contamination in the soil was too expensive to remove, Christiansen said.

It is a bittersweet windfall, though, since the project promised to help propel Edgewater out of its industrial past and help make it a residential New York suburb. "It's no surprise at this point in the game, but the building remains an eyesore at the center of our community," Christiansen said. The property, assessed at $8 million, brings in $100,000 in tax revenue a year.

Security is being tightened at the vacant site of the former Alcoa aluminum factory, ensuring that any redevelopment of the hulking building will be indefinitely on hold. The massive 10-story building on River Road was to have been converted by a New York developer to a 709-unit apartment complex. But a year ago the Aluminum Company of America bought it back, acknowledging responsibility for massive PCB contamination that the developer could not afford to clean up. "They're in for a long haul with a vacant building," said Frank Pollotta, the town's building inspector. "It looks, to say the least, unkempt. "

Alcoa officials plan to install a motion detector system inside the building that would catch trespassers by sounding an alarm at the police station. A security guard will continue to protect the site. Doors and windows up to 40 feet from the ground will be closed with masonry, Pollotta said. A 15-foot concrete wall also will be built along the length of the building, parallel to River Road. The wall will prevent passers-by from trespassing.

Officials at the Pittsburgh-based company said there had been no vandalism that they know of at the plant. "Everything's a precautionary measure," Alcoa spokesman Alfred Posti said. Posti said the company is "looking at options" to clean up the hazardous waste, but that no cleanup is planned in the near future. The plant, with 17-foot ceilings and reinforced concrete columns, was built in 1915 and closed in 1967. In its heyday during World War II and the Korean War, laborers welded aircraft parts and rolled aluminum foil there.

Oskar Brecher bought the Alcoa plant in 1983 after three other owners had tried to develop it. His project was to have cost $104 million. But PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, were discovered on the site shortly after plans for the apartment complex were approved. The state Department of Environmental Protection ordered Brecher to begin the cleanup, but as the costs rose to nearly $40 million, he took Alcoa to court to pay for it.

Last July, Alcoa agreed to buy the building back from Brecher for $10 and to pay him an undisclosed sum to recover his costs for partial cleanup of PCBs at the site.


The Record (New Jersey)
June 19, 1997


LUXURY HOMES WILL REPLACE ALCOA PLANT EDGEWATER BUILDING TO BE RAZED
Author: By JEFF PILLETS, Staff Writer; The Record

The crumbling and contaminated Alcoa building in Edgewater once an engine of North Jersey's postwar industrial boom but now among the biggest eyesores on the lower Hudson River will be razed and replaced with three luxury apartment house

Pittsburgh-based Aluminum Company of America confirmed Wednesday that it has signed an agreement with state and local officials and a private developer to demolish the vacant monolith that towers 160 feet over River Road.

"Everybody will win under this deal," Bergen County Executive William "Pat" Schuber said. "This building has been a terrible eyesore that has hindered the progress of our waterfront."

Demolition of the granite-gray shell will literally pave the way for a new wave of development along the rapidly changing face of southeast Bergen County: 40,000 to 50,000 tons of the old Alcoa plant will be crushed into pebbles and used as fill under an expanded River Road and other proposed commercial sites along the waterfront.

The $10 million to $12 million demolition and disposal plan is scheduled to be formally announced at a news conference in Edgewater this morning.

Officals say less than 1 percent of the 130,000-ton building is contaminated with PCBs, a class of hazardous chemicals that seeped into the plant's concrete floors years ago, most likely from leaky aluminum mills.

Alcoa says tests it conducted on the site show discrete areas of contamination limited to only a few floors of the eight-story structure. None of the hazardous chemicals have been found in the ground or the land nearby, company officials said.

"As it turned out, the contamination really wasn't as widespread as we thought," said Kevin L. McKnight, manager of environmental remediation for Alcoa. "We will simply be able to go in there and literally cut it out using saws."

After the contaminated portions are removed and trucked to a hazardous waste dump in upstate New York, the rest of the Alcoa plant will be slowly broken up and fed into a pair of massive rock crushing machines that will be housed in a vacant building on the site.

Officials with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, which has approved the agreement, say all environmental laws will be strictly enforced during the demolition, a process which could begin in less than six weeks.

The state plans to set up a field lab at the site to test for contamination as the building is broken up. Air monitors set up near the rock crushing machinery will also test for contaminants. "There will be no relaxation of environmental regulations," said DEP spokeswoman Loretta O'Donnell. She said the state will approve each phase of the demolition before it begins.

Officials said Edgewater residents will not be in any danger of breathing airborne PCBs during the operation, which will continue for up to a year. Company officials said exhaustive testing of the entire building has virtually pinpointed the contaminated areas, which contain between 50 and "several hundred" parts per million of the cancer-causing chemical, Alcoa officials said. Still, the structure of the deal allots room and plenty of cash for the unexpected. Under the agreement, company officials say, Alcoa would pay Assad Y. Daibes and Sons an Edgewater-based demolition and development company to knock down the plant and crush it into fill. But Alcoa has also agreed to pay an additional $2.5 million for disposal of any tainted material that might turn up unexpectedly.
"Call it a safety net," McKnight said.

After the demolition and final approval by the state, Alcoa would sell the property to the Daibes firm for $8 million. Daibes would immediately begin work on the luxury apartment complex, which would include 400 to 450 rental units starting at about $1,800 a month. Fred A. Daibes, a principal of the Edgewater company, said plans for the apartment complex include tennis courts, a swimming pool, and a large garden area between the three midrise towers.

Russell Avenue, just north of the Alcoa building, would be widened into a boulevard with grassy medians and shade trees. In addition, a historic cemetery enclosed within the Alcoa property would be preserved. The cemetery, one of the oldest in Bergen County, contains the remains of Native Americans and several individuals who were said to be slaves.

"A few years ago, we simply would not have been able to afford this deal," Daibes said. "But now, with the comeback in the residential real estate market, this kind of project can easily be profitable." Edgewater said the agreement would cement the borough's economic renaissance.

"No matter how hard you look, you cannot find a down side to this deal," Councilwoman Neda Rose said.

"We are now on the verge of a miracle in Edgewater," Mayor Bryan Christiansen said. "Ten years ago, who could have predicted that all these good things would be happening?"

In the last year, work was completed on a major waterfront shopping center and the long-awaited expansion of heavily traveled River Road. A second waterfront mall is under construction

The Record (New Jersey)
September 1, 2000


ANOTHER MISFORTUNE FOR SITE OF INDUSTRIAL LANDMARK THE FACTORY
Author: PETER J. SAMPSON, Staff Writer; The Record

Surveying the devastation that had been the Avalon River Mews luxury apartment complex, one neighbor found it hard to imagine anyone ever taking up residence there. "I don't think I [would] want to live in that building, no matter what goes up there," said Brigitte Neumann. "That building is cursed!"

The spectacular fire that destroyed the partially built, $75 million complex and nearby homes was the latest misfortune in a decades-long saga for the site of one of Edgewater's most prominent industrial landmarks.

Indeed, the problem-plagued conversion of the former Alcoa aluminum factory was emblematic of Edgewater's transition from a gritty factory town - home to such industrial giants as Ford and Hills Bros. coffee - to a well-heeled bedroom community. And, fittingly, the fire bridged those two worlds, with flames from the tony apartment complex engulfing nine modest multifamily homes that had been behind the site for decades.

For half a century, the 10-story Alcoa factory on River Road towered over the borough's bustling waterfront, turning out aluminum products from rolled foil to aircraft parts. After the plant fell silent in the mid-1960s, a victim of the slow decline of heavy industry in the Northeast, a series of developers stepped forward with grandiose plans that promised to help lift Edgewater out of its blue-collar past.

In late 1984, Oskar Brecher, president of Amland Properties Inc. of New York, won approval to convert the historic property, which had gained national landmark status in 1978, into 709 luxury apartments. Dubbed Renaissance Square, plans for the $100 million development called for 529 apartments in the L-shaped former factory and for an additional 180 units in a new midrise building to the south. But within six months, traces of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs - chemicals once used as fire retardants but now linked to cancer - were discovered in oil patches on several floors.

What began as a relatively small cleanup kept escalating in size and cost until Brecher eventually gave up. In 1991, after five years of litigation in federal court, the Aluminum Company of America acknowledged responsibility for massive PCB contamination, took back the property, and agreed to reimburse Brecher some $20 million he had spent on the cleanup.

An unavoidable eyesore, the shell of the abandoned building languished for years as a painful reminder of the pitfalls of reclaiming industrial properties as more than a dozen other large condominium and mall projects transformed Edgewater's Gold Coast.

Finally, in the fall of 1997, a contractor began to carefully dismantle the industrial relic in a state-approved demolition that was estimated to cost $10 million because of the need to prevent contaminated dust from leaving the site.
Alcoa paid for the dismantling - closely monitored by environmental officials - before selling the property to a local developer, Fred Daibes, who planned to build three luxury towers with 460 apartments on the nine-acre site.

Several mishaps marred the demolition. One worker broke a leg when a chunk of concrete fell on him, while another man escaped serious injury when a Bobcat he was operating toppled from the 10th to the ninth floor. High winds were blamed for two other incidents. A scaffold collapsed onto power lines, causing a blackout that affected more than 2,000 customers while showering a sidewalk with concrete. A month earlier, a dislodged tarpaulin caused an electrical transformer to blow and send a power surge that blew out light bulbs, scorched wall sockets, and destroyed all plugged-in appliances in about 30 nearby apartments.

Last year, Named Avalon River Mews, construction of two wooden buildings containing 408 units began last September, with the first apartments projected to be ready for occupancy in December. Company officials said they plan to rebuild.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:04 PM
ROAD RUNNER ROAD RUNNER is offline
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Re: Edgewater - decades later & same cast of characters operating

What I found most astounding as I read these articles were the contradictory statements made by public officials between 1991 and 1997:

In the 1991, elected buffoon, Christiansen stated: ” The town and the school district considered using the property for an expansion of the only elementary school, but PCB contamination in the soil was too expensive to remove, Christiansen said.”

In 1991, officials discovered PCB contamination in the soil surrounding the Alcoa factory. Evidently, however, according to Christiansen’s public statement it was "too expensive to remove”. Apparently, based on the buffoon’s comment at the time, one can only presume that the contamination area and toxicity levels must have been massive, given his profound public statement.

Q? One has to ask why elected Christiansen was so concerned about the removal cost. Surely, at the time the buffoon knew that PCB chemicals been linked to cancer for decades and that the required removal and costs were the responsibility of Alcoa. However, rather than being concerned with the health and welfare of Edgewater residents, he is stymied by the cost.
Hmmm… so I wonder, why did our buffoon Mayor Christiansen allow the remove costs to take precedence over the health & welfare of our community?

In 1997 and although only six years earlier officials legally declared the Alcoa factory and the surrounding soil highly contaminated with PBC toxins, they nevertheless approved the demolition of the granite-gray shell. Moreover, and even more perplexing, 40,000 to 50,000 tons of the old “PCB” infested Alcoa plant was crushed into pebbles and used as “clean” fill under an expanded River Road and other proposed commercial sites along the waterfront.

Q? History shows that over the years USEPA standards become more stringent, not more flexible. Yet in the case of Alcoa, although in 1991 massive levels of PBC chemicals is found in and around the factory, in 1997 miraculously the PCB’s levels dissipated to acceptable USEPA levels and the once contaminated structure is crushed and the debris is "approved and used as clean fill along a public roadway" - how is this possible????

In 1991, officially, declared the Alco factory highly contaminated. Then, six years later, in 1997 they claim that the site toxicity levels as only minor and approve the dismantling of building, and proclaim that Edgewater residents would not be in any danger of breathing airborne PCBs during the operation, which will continue for up to a year.

At the time, company officials said exhaustive testing of the entire building has virtually pinpointed the contaminated areas, which contain between 50 and "several hundred" parts per million of the cancer-causing chemical, Alcoa officials said. still, the structure of the deal allots room and plenty of cash for the unexpected. Under the agreement, company officials say, Alcoa would pay Assad Y. Daibes and Sons an Edgewater-based demolition and development company to knock down the plant and crush it into fill. Nevertheless, Alcoa has also agreed to pay an additional $2.5 million for disposal of any tainted material that might turn up unexpectedly. "Call it a safety net," McKnight said.

Officials say less than 1 percent of the 130,000-ton building is contaminated with PCBs; a class of hazardous chemicals that seeped into the plant's concrete floors years ago, most likely from leaky aluminum mills.

Alcoa says tests it conducted on the site show discrete areas of contamination limited to only a few floors of the eight-story structure. None of the hazardous chemicals have been found in the ground or the land nearby, company officials said.

Q? Hmmm.... then how do you explain buffoon's Christansen's 1991 public statement that PCB contamination was in the soil? So much so, that it is "too expensive to remove".

"As it turned out, the contamination really wasn't as widespread as we thought," said Kevin L. McKnight, manager of environmental remediation for Alcoa. "We will simply be able to go in there and literally cut it out using saws."

Q? So, what version of the Alcoa contamination saga is the truth? Are we to believe the “on the record” statements made by officials 1991 or the contradictory statement made in 1997?

Q? Are we to believe that in 1991, officials (NJDEP & local elected buffoons) were so neglect/incompetent that they, “without” doing “exhaustive testing of the entire building” declared the site highly contaminated and halted all construction, which subsequently resulted in a huge (millions $$$$$) financial loss to Brecher?

Q? Are we to believe that suddenly, within in one year after the expiration of Brecher’s five year legal option (“Brecher has an option to buy it back from Alcoa at the same price within five years”) to reclaim the Alcoa property officials decided to do “exhaustive testing of the entire building”? Moreover and bafflingly, surprisingly, six years later, they discover that the extent of the contamination was not as severe as originally determined and hire a local, inexperienced (not experienced in environmental cleanup endeavors) construction company to dismantle and dispose of the contaminated debris. However, Alcoa officials said. “Still, the structure of the deal allots room and plenty of cash for the unexpected. Under the agreement, company officials say, Alcoa would pay Assad Y. Daibes and Sons an Edgewater-based demolition and development company to knock down the plant and crush it into fill. Nevertheless, Alcoa has also agreed to pay an additional $2.5 million for disposal of any tainted material that might turn up unexpectedly. "Call it a safety net," McKnight said.”

Q? Hmmm…another mystifying conundrum: If “exhaustive testing of the entire building” whereupon they “virtually pinpointed the contaminated areas”, why was it necessary to pay Daibes an “additional $2.5 million” for the disposal of unforeseen tainted material? Strange, why would a huge corporation like Alcoa pay $2,5million upfront instead of factoring into the contract a clause agreeing to pay additional money should unforeseen contamination material is discovered?

Hmmm….perhaps Alcoa faced an offer they could not refuse.

AMAZINGLY, GIVEN EDGEWATER’S CORRUPT HISTORY, DECADES LATER THE SAME CAST OF QUESTIONABLE CHARACTERS LURK OPENLY BEHIND THE SCENES AND ARE ALLOWED TO OPERATE FREELY!

HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?
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Old 01-14-2013, 09:36 AM
MHogan201 MHogan201 is offline
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Re: Edgewater - decades later & same cast of characters operating

You should also look for an article on the Alcoa building for "Brown Fields". Then Governor Whitman actually came to Edgewater to sign the Brown Fields legislation with "the boys" all looking on.

You gotta love it!

Mary Hogan
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Old 01-14-2013, 11:15 AM
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Re: Edgewater - decades later & same cast of characters operating

Quote:
Originally Posted by MHogan201 View Post
You should also look for an article on the Alcoa building for "Brown Fields". Then Governor Whitman actually came to Edgewater to sign the Brown Fields legislation with "the boys" all looking on.

You gotta love it!

Mary Hogan
Ok, I will research the "Brown Fields" article.

What one has to wonder is, did any of the "crushed" debris from Alcoa end up at Veterans Field? Since, according to the article is was to be used as "clean" fill under River Road and other commerical properties in Edgewater.

Hey won't that be a windfall, getting paid millions twice within 15 years ito remove the same contaminated dirt. Once at the expense of the polluter and the second time at the expense of the local taxpayers.

AMAZING!
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:00 PM
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Re: Edgewater - decades later & same cast of characters operating

http://www.modern-ruins.com/alcoa/index.html
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Old 01-14-2013, 12:54 PM
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Re: Edgewater - decades later & same cast of characters operating

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike View Post
This article was written in 1997 and contridicts the "OFFICIAL" PCB toxic levels originally reported in 1991. However, money, power and corrupt politicians will aways trump the health & welfare and the quality of life of a community. Heck, what's a little collateral damage, so a few peons may get sick some my even die, but what is that compared to making millions.

The following statement may validate and explain the difference between the massive toxic levels reported in 1991 and then the minor levels reported 1997:

Everything hinges on the pollution having stayed in the building and not having leaked into the ground. If that turns out to be the case, this piece of prime real estate may simply become a parking lot.

Do you believe the power's were were going to let high PCB toxic levels prevent them from making "MILLIONS" by allowing "PRIME REAL ESTATE" property to become a parking lot?

It is just AMAZING what went on back then and what may still be going on in Edgewater today. A different decade, but still the same cast of characters!
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Old 01-14-2013, 08:37 PM
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Re: Edgewater - decades later & same cast of characters operating

Remember this all took place right across the street from Eleanor van Gelder School. That's right a school where CHILDREN attend and play recess in a yard on the other side of Russell. I remember a former councilman saying 'with a straight face', that the PCBs would not cross the street. Not the wind, not the rain nothing would cause any of the toxins to cross Russell Avenue and cause any of the students any health problems. Of course no studies have been done, and because there's just too much pollution in Edgewater to pinpoint exactly which toxic waste dump may have caused your child's asthma or environmental diabetes or neurologically induced behavioral problems and on and on. You will never connect your son's future low sperm count and inability to provide you grandchildren the old-fashioned way, to PCBs on the playground. So, all these scumbags think they are off the hook. And that's why I choose to believe in karma, nobody gets out alive and sometimes the deeds of the fathers are visited on their progeny.

Everyone knew it was a done deal when Christie Whitman shook Torricelli's hand at a photo op on the Alcoa property. I had expressed at a town meeting held at EVG, that the Mayor and Council at the time should have shared Edgewater's secret miracle with the rest of the country that was having trouble cleaning these brownfield sites. What they didn't realize is; all they had to do is lay dormant for ten years and wah-la, the toxic waste dump where once men had to wear white suits to work on the property, is suddenly, miraculously rehabilitated enough to knock down and build residential units.

Of course they are rentals, because you don't have to disclose the toxicity to renters only buyers.

Speaking of white suits, are they not required when working on toxic sites anymore? I see no one wearing protective gear at the ballfield.
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Old 01-14-2013, 10:23 PM
ROAD RUNNER ROAD RUNNER is offline
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Re: Edgewater - decades later & same cast of characters operating

"We're getting about $50,000 worth of work done for nothing," said Christiansen.
Honestly this guy is such a morally bankrupt buffoon! Between this article and the previous articles related to the Alcoa site, his dishonest, moronic comments is sickening, how does he sleep at night.

Edgewater elected unethical, corrupt Politian’s then and now!

Yep, allowing a shyster developer to dump tons of "TOXIC CONTAMINATED" materials on community recreation field, supposedly in exchange for "$50,000.00 of work was a real coup. I mean, $10 million to clean it up a few decades later is a huge bargain for taxpayer's, and considering that maybe only a few peon's may have gotten exposed to the toxins and gotten six or even died was is well $50,000.00 worth of work done for "NOTHING"!


Although, really does anyone believe Weissman only paid $50,000.00?

The Record (New Jersey)
July 10, 1986

A DUMPING GIVEAWAY?
Author: By Peter J. Sampson, Staff Writer; The Record
Dateline: EDGEWATER

A developer dumped soil, concrete rubble, and river silt in a park for more than two weeks without written permission from the borough, a councilman charged yesterday.

Los Angeles builder Nathan Weissman was under federal orders to restore riverfront he had illegally filled in.

Councilman Doug DeRito, lone Republican on the governing body, said Weissman was allowed to transfer the material to Veterans Field with tacit approval of the Democratic mayor and council members.

"They're saving the developer thousands of dollars if he can dump it on Veterans Field instead of taking it out of town," DeRito said. "It just goes to show, a developer can do whatever he wants in this community. "

At a minimum, DeRito said, the "wet sludge" from the riverbed next to the Shelter Bay Club condominiums should be tested for contaminants.

In April, the developer was ordered by the Army Corps of Engineers to remove fill from 2.1 acres of Hudson River bottom. Weissman had filled in the area for recreational facilities for his development, but failed to get the agency's approval. The excavation work began about three weeks ago, and is to be completed by December.

DeRito visited the site last week with two police officers and halted operations of dump trucks and bulldozers transferring fill from the 60-unit development to the adjacent park. Work resumed yesterday, after DeRito failed to win backing at the council's meeting Tuesday night.

Council President Bryan Christiansen yesterday dismissed DeRito's charges as "a bunch of baloney," saying the borough would benefit from the work. "We're getting about $50,000 worth of work done for nothing," said Christiansen, noting that the developer is filling in and grading the waterfront portion of the park as promised when the project was approved five years ago.

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Old 01-15-2013, 09:22 AM
MHogan201 MHogan201 is offline
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Re: Edgewater - decades later & same cast of characters operating

Kate,

In terms of EVG, they set up monitoring devices, remember Kate, on the EVG school property. And when they went off they said, "Oh the trucks on River Road made them go off. It was an error." Yeah, right.
Same DEP monitoring the Quanta site has decided that we do not need to remove the largest arsenic site in all of the US (literally abutting City Place) at the Quanta site. We can set it in concrete and build a high-rise over it and it will be fine. And who is going to clean up that property and owns it now?

Well if "contaminates can't cross the street", I wonder how they can get them to all to rush over to the cement they put in the ground and stay there forever.

My kids were going to EVG at the time of take down of Alcoa. Some parents moved out of town for the year and/or sent their kids to other schools. Since I wan't rich enough to do that, I had my kids tested for lead, etc. so I would have a base line to compare with when they got older. The State Board of Health says you need to have a complete circle for, oh, say 20 years before you can prove contamination caused cancer, etc.

I wonder what they thought about the birds dropping dead when flying over the construction of what is now the movie theatre/City Place and the workers breaking out in rashes? Did we need a complete circle to prove that?

In terms of Alcoa, I was on the First Aid Squad at the time, we were told that no one was to go into the building. There had been several fires there and we were told that if any firemen were hurt, they would bring them out to us and we were not to go into the building. Same with the construction at the movie theatre/City Place. They even set up a marked up site. If the ambulance went onto the site, it also would have to be decontaminated.

I guess we don't have to wonder why this portion of the Hudson River bank has the nickname, “Cancer Alley”. Politicians may take credit to getting rid of the “old dilapidated factories” but they never addressed the health issues and contamination that was left behind. To get rid of the building is easy. It is the contamination that lies beneath that is deadly.

Wait! That certainly sounds like NJ politics.

Mary Hogan
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