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NUTLEY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A few years ago, Nutley, New Jersey purchased an old appliance store for several million dollars.

Today, the property is falling apart and residents are losing patience, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported Thursday.

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Was it a long-term investment or a waste of taxpayer money?

Chopper 2 shows a partial roof collapse at the building known for many years as Ciccolini’s, a former furniture and appliance store on Franklin Avenue.

The mayor said a storm on Tuesday caused the collapse. Windows were shattered, too.

“It really needs to be knocked down,” said Janet DePalma, a Nutley resident.

“God forbid somebody was walking along the street and it caved in,” said Denise Sallette. “That’s a big time lawsuit for this town.”

The town paid $3.4 million for the property in 2016. Town officials said it’s because they didn’t want a developer building apartments there, and they needed to preserve parking.

Back in 2018, a report by CBS2 showed how the property became a dumping ground.

We asked the mayor at the time why the town spent money without a vision:

“It’s not that, you know, we know what we’re going to do with it. We just don’t have the specific plan at this point,” said Mayor Joseph Scarpelli.

Three years later, there’s still no plan.

In 2020, a contractor documented the deterioration inside.

“The only change I’ve seen is they decided that they would move the farmers market here to kind of save face,” said resident Chris Cullari.

They’ve painted parking spaces, to go along with paid meters, but neighboring businesses say no one uses it.

Resident Neil Henning said when he asks the town what it’s plan was, he’s told: “We just hired to do a study, we got a new study.”

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Records show, in recent years, the town has spent more than $100,000 hiring consultants for things like architectural reviews and planning services.

“It’s just a money pit, ” said Cullari.

The current mayor, Mauro Tucci, said something “spectacular,” that’s a destination adding activity to the town, will go there.

“The value was in the land,” Tucci said.

“What’s stopping you from knocking it down tomorrow?” Rozner asked the mayor.

“Right now, the insurance people,” he said.

Tucci said they’ve now asked developers to submit proposals.

“So how come the town didn’t put out the request for interest back in 2017?” Rozner asked.

“Because, quite frankly, we weren’t sure as to what we were going to do,” Tucci said.

Former New Jersey Assemblyman John Wisniewski said this is unusual for a municipality.

“Municipalities aren’t generally in the business of investing in real estate. That effectively took it off the tax roll,” Wisniewski said.

The mayor said, at one point, the town may have needed it to build affordable housing that is required by the state.

“Anything worth having is usually worth waiting for,” he said.

The mayor added that by the end of the year, the town will know exactly what everyone’s been waiting for.

He believes the property may be worth 30% more than what the town paid for it.

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The state agency that oversees the ethics of municipal spending said it could not comment because it did not know all the facts of the situation.

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Tags: local tv new jersey nutley nutley new jersey asked the mayor the mayor said the property waiting going

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Corey Johnson promises he wont run for mayor in the future

More On: comptroller race The Post’s ranked picks for NYC comptroller Why looney leftie Brad Lander should not be elected NYC comptroller New Yorkers start early primary voting in mayoral race, dozens of contests Frontrunner Corey Johnson fends off attacks from left and right in NYC comptroller debate

Corey Johnson — who is running for comptroller after dropping his mayoral bid — pledged Sunday not to run for mayor down the road as most recent top city bean counters have.

The term-limited Council speaker made the promise during the comptroller debate on NBC when a moderator asked all the candidates about their dreams of Gracie Mansion in the years to come.

“Every comptroller in recent memory has run for mayor, and cynics say this is just stepping stone job for ambitious politicians. Looking into the crystal ball, and raise your hand if you will rule out running for mayor in the future,” debate moderator David Ushery posed to the group.

Johnson raised his left hand.

The other top-tier Democratic candidates — Councilman Brad Lander, former financial journalist Michelle Caruso-Cabrera and Assemblyman David Weprin — also raised their hands. New York State Sen. Brian Benjamin and and Zack Iscol did not raise their hands.

“I’m just being honest,” Benjamin said with a chuckle.

Corey Johnson faced attacks from both the left and the right during the June 9 comptroller debate.NBC

Johnson, who began the election cycle as a mayoral candidate before aborting his campaign in September, spoke Sunday about why he made the switch in March.

Asked during the debate by Politico’s Sally Goldenberg about whether he’s running for comptroller because the job is “more manageable, personally” than running City Hall, the leading comptroller contender spoke about his background, including his mental health struggles.

“I came out at 16 years old in a small town. I’m the only openly HIV-positive elected official in the state of New York, I’ve been sober — this July 4 will be 12 years sober,” Johnson said.

If elected, Corey Johnson would be the first city comptroller in decades not to purse a run for mayor.Matthew McDermott

“I didn’t run because I very publicly said I was dealing with a health challenge last year, [and] I needed time to deal with it,” he added. “I did, I got the help I needed. Two of my friends — close friends of mine — took their lives during COVID-19, which severely affected me in a painful way, and I needed to take that time, and when I came back, I decided that this was the right job for me.”

If elected and he opts not to seek the top city office, Johnson would be the first city comptroller in decades not to. Recent comptrollers John Liu, Scott Stringer and Bill Thompson have all run unsuccessful bids for mayor.

Johnson’s answer — the first time he’s publicly said he won’t run for mayor, according to sources — came after he endured attacks from both the left and the right during the June 9 comptroller debate.

Filed under comptroller ,  comptroller race ,  corey johnson ,  speaker ,  6/20/21

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