WAYNE, NJ – During Wednesday night’s Wayne Town Council meeting, Fourth Ward Councilman, Joe Scuralli abstained from the vote on the affordable housing development proposed at the Valley National Bank Headquarters on Valley Road. Two Wayne residents called in to address the council and both asked Scuralli to explain his non-vote.
“I am currently holding the power of attorney for an individual that owns a company that transacts a level of business that would be considered significant with the property owner in this particular issue,” he replied during the meeting. “I am also the manager of a company owned by that party, so it was decided that I should recuse myself in this application to avoid any question of conflict of interest.”
TAPinto reached out to Scuralli the next day for clarification.
The question of conflict comes from a real estate business, Furscal, L.L.C., currently owned by the Councilman’s mother, Eleanor Scuralli. This LLC owns the building at 100 Furler Street in Totowa.
“My parents have owned that building since I was two-years-old,” Joe Scuralli said.
Furscal, L.L.C. had originally rented the building to another company owned by Scuralli’s parents, Wayne Machine & Die Co, which manufactured plastic processing machinery. Years later, his mother then rented the building to Great Falls Bank, which eventually merged with Valley National Bank. It is the entity, Valley National Bank Corp, that currently rents the property from Furscal, L.L.C.
When the AvalonBay proposed buyout of the Valley National Headquarters, and the subsequent affordable housing lawsuit, came before the Wayne Town Council for the first time, Scuralli spoke with Township Attorney, Matt Giacobbe about the situation.
Since Scuralli holds the power of attorney for his mother and manages the property, he realized that this created the potential for a conflict of interest.
“Matt and I decided that it would be best if I were to recuse myself from the matter entirely,” explained Scuralli. “From the beginning of this, I recused myself on every vote,” he said. “As per standard procedures in these types of situations, I subsequently did not attend any closed session meetings or discussions related to this particular issue.”