Belmar moves to settle redevelopment suit

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BELMAR — The Belmar Mayor and council Tuesday authorized settlement of a lawsuit filed by Loko Co. LLC over a planned redevelopment project on the former Pied Piper Ice Cream warehouse on River Road.

Two resolutions were approved Tuesday, one authorizing the settlement agreement. The other amended the 2014 redevelopment agreement and parking license for the project, whichwas to include construction of 10 residential units with commercial space beneath.

Loko Co. filed the lawsuit in Nov. 2016 against the Borough of Belmar and Mayor Matthew Doherty, citing allegations of breach of contract, breach of covenant, fraud and tortious interference in connection with the project.

According to Tuesday’s resolution authorizing execution of the settlement agreement, Loko had filed claims regarding an “alleged breach of the Redevelopment Agreement dated January 10, 2014 and other allegations.”

A counterclaim was then filed by the borough against Loko Co., according to the resolution, for “alleged breach of the Redevelopment Agreement and other allegations.”

According to the suit filed by Loko Co., “a representative of Loko Co.” met with Mayor Doherty and Borough Administrator Colleen Connolly in 2014 to discuss the borough vacating the property, a former Pied Piper Ice Cream warehouse, and conveying the title to Loko Co. in order to begin obtaining financing and begin site work for the first phase of the project.

The suit alleged that Mayor Doherty confirmed the municipal action would be adopted no later than the May 2014 meeting of the borough council, but the “necessary municipal action required to vacate and transfer that property did not occur until Sept. 2014.”

As a result, the suit alleges Loko Co. lost its anticipated revenue for 2014.

Referring to the pending settlement, Mayor Doherty said, “It’s important to note that the borough is not paying the plaintiffs anything. In the lawsuit they alleged serious misdeeds, none of which are true. They also were seeking hundreds of thousands of dollars. They’re getting none of it. Zero. Zero dollars and zero cents from the residents and the taxpayers in the Borough of Belmar.”

Greg Kapalko, developer of the redevelopment project along with two partners, declined to comment on Wednesday. William Wolf, the attorney for Loko Co., could not be reached for comment.

 

 

 

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