The state of New Jersey finally won a battle with a Genovese mobster in court.
The battle was with the family of Carmine “Papa Smurf” Franco over a 1.89 acre triangular piece of land. The state sued for condemnation in 2009 and offered the family $990,000 for the land.
The state wanted the land for a twin train tunnel project between New Jersey and New York.
The program was called “Access to the Region's Core,” but it was canceled by Gov. Chris Christie.
Papa Smurf Franco is a Genovese Family associate who has for over thirty years controlled various carting companies. He was convicted in the 1980’s and 1990’s for various felonies in the waste hauling business. He was forbidden by law from owning any business or working in the carting business in New Jersey or New York.
That did not stop Papa Smurf Franco, because he continued to control various carting companies unit the Feds took him down in 2012 for a joint venture with the Gambino and Lucchese family.
They formed a crew that asserted “Property Rights” over every property that they picked up waste from. Once anyone in the crew had the rights no other crew could service the property. This way, no matter what the company that picked up the waste was called the revenue still went into the same pockets.
They decided who paid protection money, who could own a company and where those companies could work. They loaned money to companies and they stole others’ equipment.
They controlled the carting business in most of New Jersey and New York.
Papa Smurf Franco was facing over 45 years in prison. He would plead guilty in 2013 to the charges. One of them was illegally transporting stolen cardboard across state lines.
The judge fell for his story. He had a hard upbringing, old age and health issues so he was sentenced to only a year, two $5,000 fines and was required to forfeit $2.5 million to the government.
The family took the NJ Transit to court over the land because they claimed it was worth far more than $990k they were offered.
They hired an architect and an engineer to reimagine the property. They came up with drawings and plans that showed a 13 story condominium high rise on the land.
The land around it had become valuable because of its proximity to the trains and views of New York.
They took NJ Transit to court claiming the property was then worth 9.1 million.
A jury ruled that it was worth 8.1 million and ruled in the family’s favor.
The state of New Jersey had their own test run on the land and found that it was contaminated and it would cost 2 million dollars to clean up the contamination.
They appealed the jury award. On October 19th of this year, a three panel appeals court ruled that the value depended on getting the proper permits for building, so they remanded it back to a new trial.
Will they find a way to get the permits?
For now, the state has won.