The legal fight between Camden and developer Carl Dranoff is at an end, but the animosity won’t likely to fade anytime soon.
The city announced the settlement between the two sides last week, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, ending a five-year dispute over tax payments on luxury apartments. Mayor Victor Carstarphen hailed the settlement, saying it would add $7.8 million in monetary and property assets to its coffers.
Terms of the settlement weren’t publicly disclosed, but both sides said Dranoff will pay Camden $3 million, as well as additional tax payments of $150,000 for each of the next two years on the waterfront Victor Lofts apartment building, which Dranoff redeveloped from a former record factory in the early 2000s.
Dranoff is also ceding the development rights to the dilapidated, city-owned Radio Lofts site, as well as a neighboring parking lot.
Carstarphen managed to incite the developer in his statement, claiming Dranoff was a bully and “do-gooder pretending to be a part of our revitalization efforts when, in fact, he was lining his own pockets.” Dranoff labeled those comments as “false, misleading and defamatory.”
Dranoff’s issues with the city may stem from a dispute with Democratic power broker George E. Norcross III, who released a statement of his own blasting Dranoff after the settlement was announced.
State and federal officials have been scrutinizing Norcross’ involvement in several real estate deals in Camden, along the Delaware River. Dranoff claimed in a deposition to have had a falling out with Norcross involving a proposed deal in 2016 and that officials loyal to Norcross have been hindering Dranoff ever since.
In 2018, Dranoff resorted to suing Camden after the city refused to transfer a tax agreement linked to the Victor from the developer to Aimco, thwarting the latter’s $71 million purchase of the property. Norcross’ brother is a lawyer who has advised the Camden Redevelopment Agency.
— Holden Walter-Warner