A Pennsylvania woman has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Johnstown, the Johnstown Redevelopment Authority and the Tyrone-based company G&R Excavating and Demolition after she claims that they “improperly” demolished a warehouse that she owned.
According to the lawsuit, filed on behalf of Zipporah Najar, the demolition reportedly took place along the 100 block of Adams Street in February of 2022.
The lawsuit states that Najar purchased the warehouse, located at 103 Adams Street, in November of 2020 and had been using it as a “base of operations” for a ministry that she had founded.
According to the court filing, she claims that she used the warehouse to store “thousands of books, gifts and toys” that she then distributed to the public as part of her organization’s charitable efforts.
The lawsuit details three events that Najar reportedly hosted prior to the demolition, the last of which was held on Dec. 12, 2021.
Najar states that she then traveled to New York, after the event, where she stayed until March of 2022.
The lawsuit claims that, upon her return, the warehouse, and all of its contents, were gone.
Najar states that she contacted the city to find out what had happened to her warehouse, at which time she was reportedly informed of its demolition.
The lawsuit states that the city provided “no explanation” for the demolition, nor did they provide her with any prior notice of such work being done.
Najar says that her legal counsel then filed a Right-To-Know request with the city, where they learned that G&R had been contracted to demolish any property located at 105-111 Adams Street, the site of the former King Furniture building.
According to the lawsuit, Najar claims that G&R “improperly” demolished her warehouse without verifying its ownership and states that the company did not possess the proper permit to demolish her property in the first place.
She also states that the city “failed and/or refused” to acknowledge or apologize for the wrongful demolition of her property, which she states has limited her ability to host any charitable events since all of the warehouse’s contents were destroyed.
The lawsuit states that Najar is seeking damages related to the cost of rebuilding the warehouse, the fair market value of the property at the time of its demolition and the cost of the contents inside the warehouse, as well as additional legal fees and costs.
She is also demanding a jury trial.