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Norwalk officials reject Milligan claim of unfair treatment

A shop at the end of Isaac Street, said by the Norwalk Planning and Zoning office to violate Zoning regulations. The property is owned by Jason Milligan’s Wall Street Opportunity Fund, and was slated to be part of the “POKO” project to redevelop Wall Street.

Updated, 5:56 a.m.: Copy edits

NORWALK, Conn. — Norwalk officials rejected Thursday a real estate broker’s claim that he has been singled out for Zoning enforcement.

Jason Milligan, who is being sued by the City of Norwalk for purchasing properties in the Wall Street area without required approvals, made the charge of unfair treatment on Thursday.

“The city of Norwalk is treating me differently than everyone else. They are going out of their way to block my progress,” Milligan wrote Thursday afternoon.  Milligan received a Zoning citation from Deputy Zoning Inspector John Hayducky, stating that one of the properties purchased will be subject to a $150 a day fine if the issues continue.

A motor vehicle repair facility is being operated out of 97 Wall St. in violation of City code, Hayducky wrote in the notice of Zoning violations, dated Aug. 30.  The notice explains that the shop is not allowed in the Central Business Design District sub-area A and must immediately cease operations, or proof of existing permits must be provided within 15 days.

Wall Street Opportunity Fund, a limited liability company managed by Milligan, bought 97 Wall St. in May from Richard Olson of POKO Partners, along with four other properties in the area that were expected to become part of POKO’s Wall Street Place development. Olson and Milligan are being sued by Norwalk and the Norwalk Redevelopment Agency because they transferred the property without Redevelopment Agency approval.  The lawsuit claims the transfer violated the Land Disposition Agreement for the properties.

The shop at “51 Isaac St.,” part of the 97 Wall St. building owned by Jason Milligan’s Wall Street Opportunity Fund.

“I know for a fact that this particular building has been an auto repair business since at least 2001, and it may have been an auto repair place for decades before that. I have not researched,” Milligan wrote Thursday afternoon. “It is just despicable that they are singling me out.”

Norwalk Planning and Zoning Director Kleppin, in a late afternoon email to NancyOnNorwalk, said:

“I received an anonymous phone message two weeks ago from someone, and I am positive it wasn’t Mario, telling me there was an illegal autobody operation, including painting, at the end of Wall Street.  Staff inspected and confirmed that there was auto repair occurring.  With that we sent the Notice of Violation dated 8/30/18.

“For the record, we previously received a complaint about this address in May, 2017 (attached) which I believe is before ‘Wall Street Opportunity Fund’ became the owner of the property.  As you can see from that complaint, they made complaints about several different locations.  Often, this is a competitor.   We have no records of autobody as an approved use at that location.  There are requirements that they obtain a permit from the state (http://www.ct.gov/dmv/lib/dmv/K-7.pdf) which requires a local sign-off.  Again, we have no record of a permit for that location.  Perhaps as Jason indicated they have been operating for several years, but perhaps, they are doing so illegally.   In addition, I do not see the business, Nutech Auto and Marine, listed on the CT Dealers & Repairers License List (http://www.ct.gov/dmv/lib/dmv/d_r_list.pdf).”

Kleppin included a citation issued by Hayducky on May 18, 2017, to ILSR, a POKO company that owned 97 Wall St. The citation lists the same section of municipal code and states that an auto repair shop was operating there without approvals.

Milligan said late Thursday that NuTech is not the business in the shop, and that he did not know that ILSR/POKO had been cited. He wrote:

“Ok. So over 1 year ago they issued that notice and did nothing about it??

“There has been auto repair at that location for decades. The records for this section of town are spotty. The deeds are weird. Lot’s of strange addresses, right of ways etc.

“Rest assured that we will remedy the situation. We inherited this tenant.”

 

“I am not trying to block anybody’s progress,” Mayor Harry Rilling said in a Thursday afternoon phone call with NancyOnNorwalk. “I didn’t even know. What kind of Zoning violation was he given?”  Rilling said in the same call that he would have to talk with Kleppin.

“Honestly, I have been discussing POKO, but I haven’t discussed Jason Milligan or anything about Jason Milligan,” Rilling said. “I expect everything that happens to be done in the same manner that anybody else would be treated, and within the confines of our Zoning regulations and the law.”

“With regard to this zoning violation matter, no one from the Zoning Department contacted me regarding it,” Corporation Counsel Mario Coppola wrote in an email, shortly thereafter. “The first notice I was given regarding this matter was by your emails today.”

The auto repair business is located in the rear of 97 Wall St., in what is called “51 Isaac St.” in a sign posted at the dead end of Isaac Street. A sign over the shop’s door identifies the business as NuTech Auto and Marine.

A man working in the shop, which had at least four cars in it, referred NancyOnNorwalk to “Fredy,” the owner of the business, providing his phone number.

Fredy said he had been operating the auto shop there for seven years and that there had been an auto shop there before, for 10-15 years, as far as he knew. He works on his own cars, he said.

 

The Isaac Street dead end.

17 comments

Ernie DesRochers September 7, 2018 at 7:10 am

Tit for tat I guess. Pretty amazing that the city would do this given the fact that the business has purportedly been there since 2001. Why did Poko Partners not get fined? You just now figured that out? While they are at it I think the city should Citibank for the joke of an exterior it has on Poko. It makes Norwalk look like a joke. I would bet that this is the only busted multi family development in the country and the Tyvek exterior just makes it stand out like a sore thumb.. Let’s stop with the pettiness and fix the problem.

Jason M. September 7, 2018 at 7:47 am

Mario and his cohorts have routinely violated my civil rights. I have been singled out and treated differently. He has prohibited or scared people from speaking to me. There is an absolute pattern to the behavior and it is affecting my ability to conduct my businesses. Businesses that employ lot’s of people, and businesses that pay lots of taxes to Norwalk.

This zoning violation is no coincidence! Just like Mario sending the new guy to the building department to cancel my demo permit was no coincidence.

Mario is consulted for zoning violations, except this one? Mario has made zoning nervous about issuing any permits to me for anything even unrelated companies because of pending litigation. We are supposed to believe that in this instance in which legal counsel would absolutely be warranted that zoning decided to go rogue and issue a violation without even consulting him. Doubtful.

Consider that about a year ago I made a formal complaint, not anonymously, about 15 Belden ave. Zoning told me that Mario said not to pursue it due to pending litigation. That policy must have changed or not apply when there is a chance to violate me!

For the record, we inherited this tenant. I don’t love the auto repair use there, but he been there for 7 years. His shop is busy and he pays his rent. For several decades that shop has been auto repair with other companies in there.

Why all of a sudden is shutting down this small business a priority?

Drive down any street in Norwalk and I’ll bet you can find some zoning violations. I am sure that if you anonymously report them to zoning that they will issue a violation immediately without even contacting the owner.

Imagine if city hall would use its energy and resources to promote this city and make businesses and investors feel welcome?

V September 7, 2018 at 8:52 am

Jason M-
To my knowledge the city will not act unless you put name to complaint. And if you/someone does that then it’s public info allowing you find out who called this bs to their attention. It’s clearly being done on purpose – this is an old tactic used throughout time to harass people. I just hope the person behind this really lives in Norwalk and has a ‘real concern’ so that’s the reason they called it in.

Jason M. September 7, 2018 at 8:54 am

The one somewhat valid complaint that the city has against me is that I was misleading in a meeting. I was caught off guard at the meeting and severely outnumbered. I also came clean 12 hours later.

Contrast that to Mario the word sleuth who is continually and routinely misleading us all, and or he is grossly incompetent.

“With regard to this zoning violation matter, no one from the Zoning Department contacted me regarding it,” Corporation Counsel Mario Coppola wrote in an email, shortly thereafter. “The first notice I was given regarding this matter was by your emails today.”

That statement does not uncover what exactly Mario knew about this zoning violation-Did Mario have any knowledge whatsoever about this violation prior to it being issued? Did he instruct zoning to dig into the properties to see what violations they could find? Is he okay with zoning issuing violations with pending litigation without his knowledge or consent?

Mario is the most controlling guy I have ever met and we are supposed to believe that an attorney 2 months on the job went to the building department to tell them to void my demo permit, and now zoning is issuing violations completely on their own during “pending litigation”. All this unprecedented behavior is happening against me and the timing is all a coincidence?? Please.

Corporation Cousel reviews all zoining voilations. It is a legal document!

Reasonable Doubt September 7, 2018 at 10:10 am

At least Jason M. cleaned up the properties he has control over. More than can be said for team Sheehan – a decade and counting on the POKO site.

Jason Milligan September 7, 2018 at 12:29 pm

I received the zoning violation yesterday. The Notice to Quit will be served today!

It is sad for Fredy, his workers and their families.

I hope that Mario, Harry and others feel good about themselves. This isn’t punishing me. It is punishing 6-8 hard working families though.

Great job!

Hugh Sling September 7, 2018 at 1:57 pm

Scenic Norwalk attractions. The Duleep dungeon, the Loehmans memorial, a variety of ugly cheesey apt bldgs, the big empty theatre, 3,417 drinking establhments and of coarse the iconic Tyvek Estates.

Rick September 7, 2018 at 2:11 pm

It seems Jason has done it wrong, you truck in massive dirt piles ,pollute the water table an rivers with runoff from contaminated debris change your name to LA Milligan contribute money to the power plant big wheel and be one to hire the police dept to work the street like grabbo , so the village creek guy gets visual credit with his lawn signs while Woodward ave gets new sidewalks and then only then after a political contribution and hire Suchky to represent you could you get another two years to screw the neighborhood with a credible loss of quality of life.

Your obviously not a Norwalk home grown business man if you need help call us we are the ones in South Norwalk that could use the handful of jibs your property supports where quality of life bites and no one will stop the nonsense thats happening upon all walks of life in South Norwalk ,

There is a cheer leader who comes out for Harry and will tell you city hall is going to make Norwalk great again one death at a time. Another West ave business done a large company just bought a Canadian company with over 500 people that will stay in Canada and keep their money and leave no footprint at the Merritt

Is this the inspector Norwalk uses who bills by the Hour? Id like to see what it cost us to go after you Jason and the bill that follows ,ignoring you for two years like the meadow street contributing heroes have been seems like it would work .

The city can ignore Wall st but not you, even Duff is in trouble at the State house , after 3 years of leading the house time to change the Democrats have decided.

Hugh Sling September 7, 2018 at 3:20 pm

Andrew,the bulding burnt up in 2010, ruled as Arson. We can have Haunted House guided tours at Halloween.

Milly September 8, 2018 at 10:43 am

You can report violations to both Planning and Zoning and also the DPW and remain anonymous. And with the way people might retaliate against you I think it is a good thing.

Rick September 8, 2018 at 1:43 pm

Milly we were told by officials going back to Moccia days and onto Rillings dictatorship ignore health and building violation’s on Meadow st. send them to the state. Its gone on for at least ten years.It was stopped recently by the State now Norwalk has an environmental officer and now paid by the hour inspectors but the question is now are they qualified?

Where do you think all the unclaimed stolen autos went for years and when the police dept needed a unmarked no insurance or reg for undercover work came from ? One actually got into an accident one night.Not sure what the process is now most things done on meadow st we were told this week was via handshake.

now with violation’s and a meeting this week one of our state rep runners who contends to be pro environment president from Village creek rep 65 homes who not only has ignored us but we were told this week take them off our mailing list had very little to nothing to say at a violation meeting who has the backing of the mayor and rogue democratic committee.

do you see a pattern?

Now armed with facts from both the Ct state DEEP and EPA both Washington and Regional office we have been shut out of Health and safety and zoning committees , in fact Mr kleppin gave out misinformation on the Meadow st property this week and was unwilling to look into anything else.

please note only one who listens is Mr Dumas , never has he not answered his phone and was not willing to listen .

Must be nice to run someone against Travis who wont listen to the community and do what he is told. That is prime city hall material.

Do you see a pattern?

Im sure by now those who know the A team from South Norwalk will understand we get out of our cars we go into the wetlands take pictures of violations and find evidence the city wants to ignore.

None of it was ever directed to Milligan is probably why we have been ignored they are too busy going after his civil rights than to protect ours.

We are still wondering why the NEON building parking lot over the highest count of PCBs was done before the EPA and DEEP got the paperwork from the RDA was given to them or to us. We made note of this I doubt if your connected to city hall this got by you even if you clean the restrooms.

This is how the city works bring information they don’t have no clue what to do with and dismiss you as if you are a child.

Bottom line is the city has declared war on Mr Milligan anything else has been put off or ignored inspector’s were needed to protect housing residents , south Norwalk residents children and even pets but public enemy number one gets all the resources thrown at him from the city.

What about our data from the DEEP and EPA that does go back years if not a decade on meadow st and village creek the creek itself?

Ask village creek and the city if they know it exists and know its not just talk its work no one is ready to take on against the polluters and zoning whats in in for anyone to ignore DATA generated over the years. Whats in it for them seems to be the question.

Lisa Brinton Thomson September 8, 2018 at 7:37 pm

This ‘selective’ enforcement of P&Z is going to cost the city. The hardball tactics so publicly on display courtesy of Mr. Milligan, highlights what has gone on in Norwalk for decades. It’s why our properties stagnate, while taxes go through the roof.

This city works for a few and clearly Mr. Milligan isn’t one of them. While favors were given to Poko and a blind eye turned while they owned the properties – the city is now shutting down a business that existed only because Milligan now owns the property.

It appears this mayor would rather see the downtown Wall Street area abandoned, rather than work with Milligan. Actually, he wants to give away $15m of taxpayer dollars to friends rather than work with the guy who doesn’t want taxpayer money! Could this be payback for the rejection of the Innovation District?

In any event, this personal vendetta has clouded this mayoral administration’s judgement and looks petty. Geez, where have we seen that kind of behavior before?

U.S. Blues September 10, 2018 at 6:08 pm

I wish hayducky would pay this kind of attention to all complaints that he investigated and said he was working on it but truth im fact he has done bupkiss, shinola, shingots absolutely NOTHING.
So ues Milligan is being singled out.
Shame on Norwalk. Shame on Hayducky. Shame on little boy harry.

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