PATERSON, NJ - The owners of Paterson’s Center City Mall have filed a lawsuit against the Paterson Parking Authority, the governmental agency that they say has “grossly mismanaged” the underground parking garage at the mall.

By giving away free and discounted parking, failing to maintain a system to track usage of the garage, and failing to provide “periodic updates on the finances of the garage,” Center City’s owners have lost millions of dollars the Plaintiff says in the 22-page, eight-count lawsuit filed in State Superior Court in Passaic County on Friday.

A copy of the lawsuit was provided to TAPinto Paterson by Jason Fink of Butler Associates, a New York based public relations firm acting on behalf of Center City Partners, LLC.

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The lawsuit outlines that the garage was built as part of a “sweeping 2002 redevelopment plan” that was developed to revitalize Paterson’s Downtown Business District. Center City Mall has paid $240,000 per year to the Paterson Parking Authority for the agency’s management of the garage, and has, the suit alleges, been “bilked out of millions of dollars to cover sham losses that never would have occurred if the Authority were running the garage with any sense of fiscal responsibility.”

In filing the lawsuit the mall’s owners are asking the court to appoint an independent fiscal monitor to take over management and finances of the garage, and conduct an audit, an updated agreement between the two parties, as well as unspecified compensatory damages.

Glenn Scotland, an attorney with the Roseland based firm of McManimon, Scotland & Bauman, LLC, called the allegations “baseless and without merit.”

“It is unfortunate that after many years of working with the Parking Authority, Center City has resorted to these tactics because they are unhappy with how the business deal they negotiated has worked out for them,” Scotland continued in a statement.

The lawsuit, by many accounts, appears to be an escalation of an ongoing feud between the owners of Center City Mall and the Parking Authority, as well as the Administration of Mayor Andre Sayegh, that has arisen in recent months from Sayegh’s refusal to support a project proposed by Center City Mall, LLC. to utilize state issued tax credits to help facilitate the construction of a “sports and entertainment arena, and hotel” on and adjacent to the mall site.

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