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Milligan defies City threat of new lawsuit

Concrete blocks, Thursday at the Isaacs Street deadend. Real estate broker Jason Milligan had them installed Monday to stop vehicles from driving through his parking lot to Leonard Street, as people have done for years. Milligan bought the lot in 2018, defying the City and Norwalk Redevelopment Agency. He was sued and the legal battle is ongoing.

NORWALK, Conn. – It looks like a new lawsuit will be filed against real estate broker and Wall Street provocateur Jason Milligan.

Norwalk Corporation Counsel Mario Coppola on Wednesday notified Milligan, through Attorney David Rubin, that he had until Friday evening to remove the concrete blocks that have been preventing cars from driving through the former Leonard Street parking lot since Tuesday. Milligan’s response was to accuse Coppola of bullying and threatening and “categorically” reject the claim that he is “doing anything improper.”

The City possesses an easement over the western end of the parking lot, located at 23 Isaac St., Coppola wrote. It is dated July 24, 2015, and Milligan clearly knew about it since he submitted a copy as evidence in the primary City/Redevelopment Agency lawsuit against him, according to Coppola, who accused Milligan of “unlawful self-help to the detriment of the public, including the Wall Street area businesses and residents who live in the area.”

Milligan bought the lot from Richard Olson of POKO Partners in May 2018, setting off his second legal battle with the City. The first was technically with the Norwalk Public Library Foundation; Milligan won Zoning approval for an apartment building next to the Belden Avenue library and the foundation appealed it. This ended with the City paying Milligan $460,000 for a six-year option to purchase his property. The current battle is more spectacular, as the City’s attempt to take back the parking lot is playing out publicly and Milligan has performed various attention getting stunts, and filing his own lawsuits, including one against Redevelopment.

Milligan’s reply to Coppola asserts that there are many ways for an easement to end. He presents reasons that this one is suspect, given the state of “POKO,” the stalled Wall Street Place development.

“There are many reasons why I decided to close of the Isaacs street entrance to my property not the least of which are expense and liability,” Milligan wrote. “Each snow storm alone costs thousands of dollars to clean up. Cars & trucks speed through the lot day and night creating safety hazards for which I might be liable. I am not willing to continue to bear the expense & liability of maintaining an easement that was to terminate on its face when construction for phase I stops.”

He wrote, “If the City would like to negotiate access, parking, or future project ideas for any properties that I own then I am eager to have those conversations. What I will not accept it the continued threats, bullying, intimidation and discrimination!”

Neither Mayor Harry Rilling nor Coppola replied to an email asking for a response to Milligan’s comments. They have said they will not comment on ongoing litigation.

Milligan on Friday served the City and Redevelopment Agency with discovery requests to identify employees who have knowledge of the allegations made against him and documents supporting the claims. He also demands that the plaintiffs quantify the monetary damages caused by his purchase of the former “POKO” properties. The broad discovery requests include demands for text messages with various parties, including State Sen. Bob Duff (D-25) and Citibank.

Milligan said the discovery requests are broad because “they have a lot of skeletons hiding in closets and I don’t know which closets.”

“Their claims are ridiculous,” Milligan wrote. “Like the library I already know the ending. I just have to wait for Scorpio {Coppola} and Harry to slowly realize reality. It is hard to be in touch when you operate in a 14 to 1 Democrat to Republican City Council echo chamber.”

Milligan is scheduled to give a deposition Friday. Legal bills in the ongoing lawsuit were $571,394.08 as of Oct. 25.

He said the Isaacs Street lot was 75 percent fenced off with 6-foot-tall chain-link and covered with rotting construction materials when he bought it.

“The easement never covered more than a narrow access way even before it expired,” he wrote. “That area is currently only chained off.”

A new sign at the entrance to Isaacs Street.

5 comments

Victor Cavallo November 16, 2019 at 4:45 am

This is irrefutable proof that Norwalk is on a fast-track to earning its renaming as “South Bridgeport”. But we have a ways to go before we can brush-up our downtown to look anywhere as good as Bridgeport’s. Be patient. Only a couple of more lawsuits to go.

Jason Milligan November 16, 2019 at 7:46 am

The good news is that Isaacs Street is back to two-way and the traffic light is working.

The bad news is we have nobody at the city that is both intelligent and brave. It seems to be one or the other.

Has anyone seen former mayor Knopp?

Perhaps it is time to bring him in again…

We need someone to mediate no matter what because I don’t envision Mario stopping even after I win the frivolous lawsuit.

Sharon November 16, 2019 at 6:26 pm

Easement, easement, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?? Thou O easement art the fairest in the land.

Bryan Meek November 17, 2019 at 1:11 pm

Jason should paint them to look like stacks of cash to symbolize the taxpayer money being squandered to protect a few egos. The mall owners must be really happy at the city’s efforts to destroy the main and wall areas. Vermin instead eyesore. Check. Draconian parking. Check. Politically motivated blighting. Check. What could they do next? Pump odor from the Over capacity treatment plant up the river towards Wall Street?

The Norwalker November 18, 2019 at 7:42 am

The answer is eminent domain for a two way Isaac St from Wall St. to Leonard St. What is left of the Parking lot can have one entrance/exit on Leonard St. in that sharp curve.

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