After Jackson Township unilaterally discarded an agreed upon settlement in their lawsuit with Agudath Israel, the plaintiffs were given permission to refile and update their complaint in court.
The new complaint, filed last night, is far more wide sweeping than the original (which focused primarily on land use) and names a number of individual officials as defendants. It details a multiple-years-long pattern of discrimination by the township and its officers and employees as part of an ostensible plan to discourage and frustrate Orthodox Jews who might want to move to Jackson.
These actions are claimed to have been fueled by negative public sentiment and comments made in public meetings, emailed to the mayor and council and posted on social media. For example the following email sent by a resident in 2017 is quoted:
I have been fortunate enough to somehow get inside the Orthodox community and I could tell you that there is certainly a plan and that plan is to buy up as much as they possibly can and take Jackson. So if we don’t get on the ball and figure out a way to slow it down legally then we are dead. I’m begging you all to please pull out the big guns and find our town a proactive law firm or perhaps hire a land/use attorney on retainer to do what needs to be done to protect us. That being said I appreciate the efforts that are being made by council such as the landlord registration the no knock and most recently the ordinance on dormitories. But we are dealing with a very shrewd group and a very organized operation when it come to the Orthodox community, baby steps just aren’t going to be enough.
Making an appearance are eruvs, sukkahs, schools, dorms, trailers, spying, “blockbusting” complaints, deleted emails, former zoning board members, the LCSW, and the Jackson Strong and Rise Up Ocean County Facebook groups among other things. The complaint alleges violations of First Amendment, Fourteenth Amendment, RLUIPA, the Fair Housing Act and New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination and can be read below.
This is separate from the motion for sanctions filed last week, which will be decided by May 6th and may result in fines and other penalties for Jackson.