Community Improvement director David Gilmore on Thursday filed a lawsuit against the city of Paterson for alleged retaliation.
Gilmore accuses mayor Andre Sayegh’s administration of retaliating against him by virtually dismantling his division by moving half of its inspectors. He cites a series of incident where the Sayegh administration wanted him to sign off on questionable approvals.
For example, Gilmore refused to sign off on demolition of the Paterson Armory because of lack of back up documents. His responsibility to supervise demolitions was taken away after that incident, according to the lawsuit.
Gilmore also claims the Paterson Art Factory was out of compliance when it held Sayegh’s second mayor’s ball. He worried having a large event at the venue could lead to a tragedy like the one that claimed 36 lives at the Ghost Ship in California.
Members of the City Council asked questions about the Art Factory, but Gilmore claims Sayegh’s law director Farrah Irving muzzled him at the meeting. He tried to speak at the public portion, but was also muzzled by the administration. He claims the city tried to take disciplinary actions against over the situation.
Gilmore (pictured) also accuses his co-worker construction official Gennaro “Jerry” Lobozzo of dereliction of duty.
Lobozzo allegedly failed to “follow up on” violations issued by Gilmore’s inspectors, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit states $152,000 in fines remain outstanding because Lobozzo “failed” to complete updates on the status of the fines.
Lobozzo did not respond to a call for comment.
Gilmore’s suit states he told former business administrator Vaugh McKoy and economic development director Michael Powell about the situation. Neither took any actions, says the lawsuit. He also told Kathleen Long, who succeeded McKoy as business administrator, about the matter.
Powell is both Gilmore and Lobozzo’s immediatee supervisor.
Gilmore informed state and federal law enforcement agencies about the Lobozzo situation, says the lawsuit.
Gilmore also claims Doug Dobriner, owner of American Hose, tried to bribe him after receiving tickets, according to the lawsuit. Dobriner was ticketed for allegedly “putting up corrugated metal fences” without permits.
“When Dobriner received the tickets, he attempted to bribe Gilmore into forgiving them,” reads the lawsuit. The lawsuit claims Dobriner is a donor to Sayegh’s campaign.
Dobriner could not immediately be reached for comment at American Hose on Thursday afternoon.
“The dismantling of his department and economic consequences and discipline are retaliatory for the actions that Gilmore took against Saygeh’s friends and donors,” states the lawsuit.
Sayegh did not respond to a message for comment for this story.
Sayegh administration’s move to transfer seven inspectors from Community Improvement led to a steep drop in enforcement activities.
Gilmore and Sayegh were opponents in the 2014 mayoral race. Gilmore was hired by former mayor Jose “Joey” Torres in 2015. He was later promoted to Community Improvement director.
Gilmore is seeking an unspecified amount in damages in the lawsuit.
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Updated July 24 at 8:55 a.m.