Essex County News

Who is Victor Santos?

Victor Santos, owner of the property at 52-90 Amsterdam St. in the city's Ironbound neighborhood, broke ground on a new DPW facility last month. Credits: Elana Knopp
52 Amsterdam Newark, LLC owner Victor Santos donned a hardhat at the groundbreaking for the city's new DPW facility Credits: Elana Knopp
Amiri "Middy" Baraka, Jr. is at the center of a lawsuit filed by former city attorney Willie Parker, who named Mayor Baraka, "Middy" Baraka, and two other city officials in the whistleblower action. Credits: Mark J. Bonamo
A artist's rendering of the Newark's new Department of Public Works building, which is being built by Victor Santos.

The real estate investor arrested Wednesday on federal charges of using straw buyers to fraudulently obtain mortgage loans from a bank is also behind Newark's new Department of Public Works garage that is at the center of a federal whistleblower lawsuit.

Victor Santos, 57, of Watchung, who was charged along with three others with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, owns 52-90 Amsterdam St. in the Ironbound, the future site of the city's DPW facility where Mayor Ras Baraka and other city officials gathered for a ceremonial groundbreaking last month.

The property is at the center of a lawsuit filed by former city attorney Willie Parker against Baraka, the mayor's brother and chief of staff Amiri "Middy" Baraka, Jr., and two top city officials.

Sign Up for E-News

Parker raised objections to the multi-million 52 Amsterdam development deal between the city and Santos when he discovered an added provision to the 40-page contract which called for the City of Newark to continue paying rent even in the case of unforeseen events, such as a natural disaster, kept it from using the property.

The controversial provision, known as a “Hell or High Water clause,” is often referred to in legal terms as an “Unconscionable Provision.”

"Because Mr. Parker would not agree to a provision that would inure to the detriment of the city, his client, the city and its leadership determined to terminate him," said Jack White, attorney for Parker.

Several attorneys who spoke to TAPinto Newark said the a "Hell or High Water" clause is rarely in the public interest. "It flies in the face of common sense," said one attorney who asked not to be named.

Parker filed the suit in June in U.S. District Court for New Jersey against the City of Newark, the mayor and his brother, along with Personnel Director Kecia Daniels and Business Administrator Jack Kelly, after he was allegedly retaliated against, and then fired, for refusing to sign off on the deal.

Parker claims in his suit that after he refused to sign off on the contract, he was “commanded” by Middy Baraka to execute the contract on behalf of the city during an Aug. 25 meeting.

Parker reported the chief of staff’s demands to the mayor, which resulted in a confrontation outside Parker’s home when Middy Baraka showed up with an armed security detail to accuse the attorney of snitching, the suit alleges.

The suit claims that Middy Baraka told Parker to “tell the mayor that you didn’t hear what you say you heard or that you misunderstood what you heard.”

The incident marked the beginning of an alleged string of retaliatory measures, with Parker claiming that he was chastised by the mayor in front of other employees and accused of making side deals with developers and their lawyers.

In October, 2016, Parker suffered a heart attack and was ultimately fired.

Parker is suing for up to $5 million in damages.

Baraka, along with state and city elected officials, developers and others lauded Santos at the September groundbreaking of the five-building complex, which is a public-private partnership with Goldman Sachs and located in an industrial section of the Ironbound neighborhood of Newark, just east of Routes 1 and 9.

The lot is owned by 52 Amsterdam Newark, LLC, which is registered out of the Watchung, Somerset County house owned by Victor Santos.

Santos thanked the mayor at the groundbreaking event, along with Goldman Sachs and others, for their help in bringing the deal to fruition.

“I’m excited to get this project finished,” he said at the groundbreaking.

In 2016, the Newark city council approved a 25-year lease of the property at 52-90 Amsterdam St., with a rent of $4.7 million for the first year and $7.6 million in the 25th year.

The property is situated completely within the AE Flood Zone, which is considered a high-risk zone.

The property was previously home to dye manufacturing companies and was contaminated for several decades, according to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

At the groundbreaking, the mayor, along with Middy Baraka, Santos, members of the Newark City Council, Department of Economic and Housing Development Deputy Mayor Carmelo Garcia, Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group Managing Director Margaret Anadu and others, were in celebratory moods as they dug into a buffet of hot foods. 

Mayor Baraka said the project would benefit the city.

“There’s been a lot of discussion about this place,” he said. “This is something we’re trying to do to make sure our buildings are sustainable.”

52 Amsterdam Newark, LLC recently received Preliminary and Final Site Plan approvals with nearly 20 variances for lot coverage, building height, insufficient and excessive illumination and garbage storage screening.

The project will include two one-story motor vehicle storage buildings, a one-story motor vehicle repair garage, a four-story parking deck with 227 spaces and a seven-story office building. The garages would provide washing, fueling, and repairs for city vehicles.

The complex will stretch from Magazine St. to Wilson Ave., and would include lockers, a cafeteria, a body and welding shop, a fire engine repair shop, a fuel station, a masonry, carpentry and paint shop, a truck wash, storage for city-owned vehicles such as dump trucks and salt spreaders, storage for the Newark Police Department’s confiscated vehicles and administrative facilities for the Department of Water and Sewer Utilities.

According to a city hall press release, the facility “will provide for an extensive use of sophisticated and environmentally friendly building systems,” including nearly 100,000 square feet of solar panels to reduce overall electrical consumption, and will involve the extensive use of recycled building materials, energy and water saving fixtures and equipment throughout.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Nutley

Have a Turkey? Give a Turkey to Nutley Family Service Bureau, to help a Nutley Family in Need

November 17, 2017

NUTLEY, NJ - Nutley residents have been earning credits at the Nutley Park ShopRite for a free frozen turkey for much of the last month. Members of the community are being asked to donate those turkeys to Nutley Family Service Bureau to help Nutley families in need.

Although primarily a mental health organization, NFSB also provides social services like supplemental ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_6d25824855ef7aab0cf0_mini_magick20171117-27158-1ty0x1b

Sat, November 18, 10:00 AM

The Old Cemetery on Passaic Avenue near Park Avenue, Nutley

Leaf Raking at Historic Nutley Cemetery

Green Religions And Spirituality

Carousel_image_733b8a565f7405823e50_trump_pence_2010

Sat, November 18, 12:00 PM

Petracco and Sons Deli , Nutley

MAGA! Tour begins in Nutley NJ

Government

Sat, November 18, 5:00 PM

The Great Hall, Newark

Ubuntu Awards: New Jersey's 30 Under 30

Arts & Entertainment Giving Back

Sun, November 19, 1:00 PM

Montclair

Tours of the Historic Houses

Education

Carousel_image_43d0c59763bee26e44c2_nov_19_jpg

Sun, November 19, 1:00 PM

Verona

Our Lady of the Lake School Open House

Education

Sun, November 19, 2:00 PM

Christ Episcopal Church in Bloomfield & Glen Ridge, Glen Ridge

Kids for Critters

Giving Back

Nutley Public Schools' Construction Projects: "What We Looked At"

October 24, 2017

When Dr. Julie Glazer joined the Nutley Public Schools as Superintendent in July 2016, the district and Board of Education had been exploring overcrowding within the schools for several years. Previous administrations and Boards were aware of the need for additional space and had spent at least six years watching enrollment, programming and space at each of the schools.

“When I came to ...

Nutley High School Offers Something for All Students

NUTLEY, NJ - Students at all levels of Nutley High School have many courses, programs and extracurricular activities to choose from. Whether students are looking to explore new electives in robotics, writing or business, the rigor of advanced placement courses, the challenge of varsity sports and enriching artistic programs, or vocational opportunities, there is something for all students at ...

On3

Ralph Lauren, Quest Diagnostics Receive NJEDA Awards to Move to On3 Campus in Nutley

November 14, 2017

TRENTON, NJ - The New Jersey Economic Development Authority approved Grow New Jersey Assistance Program Grants for Ralph Lauren and Quest Diagnostics to to make a capital investment and locate in Prism Capital's On3 redevelopment project of the former Hoffman-La Roche campus.

Ralph Lauren is to receive a 10 year $33.1 million dollar Grow New Jersey award. The project ...

NJEDA to Decide Awards for Ralph Lauren and Quest Diagnostics on On3 (Former Roche Campus)

NUTLEY, NJ - The New Jersey Economic Development Authority is expected to hand down a decision on Tuesday for Ralph Lauren and Qwest Diagnostics to be given the green light to set up shop on the former Roche campus in Nutley and Clifton. The meeting will take place in Trenton.

The related agenda items posted on the NJEDA website are:

ITEM: Ralph Lauren Corporation APPL. #44618 ...

Holiday Lights Spectacular Opens at Turtle Back Zoo

November 18, 2017

WEST ORANGE, NJ — After reaching its 12th-consecutive attendance milestone in 2016 with 795,558 visitors, the Turtle Back Zoo invites the public to the 11th annual Holiday Lights Spectacular, featuring 50 figures illuminated by one million lights both at the zoo and the surrounding Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex.

Officially opened on Friday, the Holiday Lights ...

Montclair Attorney Pleads Guilty In Fraud Ring that Bilked Nearly $4 Million from Insurance Carriers

TRENTON – Mark Gertner, of Montclair, has pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal running and is awaiting sentencing in a medical fraud ring that bilked nearly $4 million from insurance carriers, Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor announced Wednesday. He was named along with 5 other defendants.

A former North Jersey chiropractor, ...

Hub City native, longtime boxer, facing off for global title in Atlantic City this weekend

November 16, 2017

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ - New Brunswick native and legendary boxer Jorge “King” Diaz has certainly had his ups and downs over the years, and in some ways, he’s epitomized the rags to riches story.

Jorge was born in New Brunswick and throughout his youth, moved around to Puerto Rico, Franklin Township and North Brunswick, before finally settling down in Somerset some years ...

Girls on the Run to celebrate their limitless potential at Florham Park PBA Turkey Trot on November 18

FLORHAM PARK, N.J - Nearly 600 girls who are participating in Girls on the Run and Heart & Sole programs this fall at schools and parks across Essex, Morris, and Union Counties will run in the Florham Park PBA Turkey Trot 5K on Saturday, November 18. The 5K run starts at 10AM and will take place at the Holy Family Church, 1 Lloyd Avenue, Florham Park.

During the 10-week fall ...

Belmar Creates Beachscape ‘Garden’ to See How it Grows in Dune Planting Project

November 12, 2017

BELMAR, NJ — A small beachfront experiment is under way on a patch of sand near the 12th Avenue playground.

Tucked into a corner between the boardwalk and the playground’s north side, a crescent-shaped area is filled with dozens of tender young plants of various shapes and sizes, neatly positioned around several large landscape boulders and along wooden snow fencing. It’s a ...

Nutley Police Blotter November 5 - 9, 2017

November 11, 2017

NUTLEY, NJ - The Police Blotter is compiled each week by Det. Sgt. Anthony Montanari of the Crime Intelligence Public Information Division of the Nutley Police Department.

Please note:  All parties placed under arrest have been assigned a court date and remain innocent until proven guilty of those charges at their respective hearing

Anyone who has information about any crimes can ...

Please consider donating your ShopRite Frozen Turkey to the NFSB Food Pantry

November 16, 2017

Dear Nutley ShopRite Patrons,

Nutley Family Service Bureau (NFSB) Food Pantry is asking for support to make this Thanksgiving holiday a special event for all of our Food Pantry patrons.  Please consider donating your ShopRite Frozen Turkey to the NFSB Food Pantry.  Donations will be gratefully accepted at 169 Chestnut Street, Nutley, NJ:

Friday, November 17th, 9am – ...

TAPinto Nutley Welcomes Your Letter to the Editor

NUTLEY, NJ - In a vibrant community like Nutley, citizens can share their opinions, offer grievances, or bestow praise on the subjects that matter most to them. TAPinto Nutley welcomes letters to the editor.

The publication of Letters to the Editor is at the sole discretion of TAPinto LLC.

Letters must be factually accurate and not defamatory. Anonymous letters will not be ...

Sustained, Severe Cuts Equal Setbacks at NJ Department of Environmental Protection

November 6, 2017

Long-term budget and staff cuts have severely impacted the ability of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to carry out critical work to protect New Jersey’s environment and residents. This has serious implications for wildlife, public health and our economy. DEP is charged with managing and protecting the State’s environment and natural resources.

This ...

It is truly an honor to serve on this Board

November 10, 2017

I want to thank everyone that voted to re-elect me to the Nutley Board of Education.  It is truly an honor to serve on this Board.  I also want to thank my committee and friends for all their help and support during the campaign.  Our success is a direct result of all your dedication and hard work.  I appreciate everyone's efforts more than I can state in words.

To my ...

Heartfelt thanks to the voters of the Nutley for re-electing me to Board of Education

I want to express my heartfelt thanks to the voters of the Nutley for re-electing me to Board of Education.

I appreciate the efforts of all my friends and supporters who helped make this campaign a success. Thank you for talking to your friends and neighbors, posting to social media, putting up lawns signs, and providing me with advice. Most of all I’d like to thank my husband Mike and ...

Thank you Nutley Voters that came out to support me

I would first like to thank all of the Voters of Nutley that came out to support me yesterday.

Running for office is never easy but it requires a commitment a commitment of why do you run.  Mine is a commitment of public service. Throughout my career I have served in many positions.  Though all of those positions I have continued to see why Public service is so ...

Annual Turkey Drive To Help Provide For New Jersey's Hungry

November 16, 2017

HILLSIDE, NJ – Close to 300,000 New Jersey children face hunger every day. Many of their families don’t have the means to enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving dinner – turkey, stuffing and all. To ensure food-insecure people across the state have what they need to share a holiday meal, the Community FoodBank of New Jersey has been purchasing thousands of turkeys and will gather even ...

Our Lady of the Lake School Open House November 19

See what a blue ribbon education is all about. Come visit Our Lady of the Lake School - a  2x National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. Our Lady of the Lake School has a full-time preschool program, full-time kindergarten and grades 1 - 8. Our Lady of the Lake School's rigorous academics are coupled with varied extra curricular activities, including coding, TREP$ and athletics.

For ...

The Two Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman

The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Loigman (St. Martins Griffin, 2016)

 

Author Lynda Cohen Loigman states, “The Two-Family House is a story I thought about for at least ten years before I ever wrote a word. I spent countless hours over a full decade thinking about how Rose, Helen, Abe, and Mort would behave in difficult situations, and how they would feel when faced with ...

A Night of Redemption

FLORHAM PARK,N.J.-MetLife Stadium was a beautiful hue of green on Thursday night, November 2nd, as the New York Jets took the field.  67 degrees at game time under an almost full moon, with absolutely no breeze, was the perfect setting for the New York Jets to take home a win against their division rivals, the Buffalo Bills.

After a delectable meal at Gencarelli's of Lyndhurst, a ...

Obituaries

Sep 7, 1923 - Nov 9, 2017
Mr. Heinz K. Schneider, 94, of Nutley, NJ, passed away on Thursday, November 9, 2017 at his home ...
Read more
- Oct 16, 2017
Marie Vicchiariello, of Nutley, passed away on October 16, 2017.  Born in Passaic, the ...
Read more