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Police & Fire

Hudson sheriff’s top aide fighting court order over mobster’s use of condo

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT: The Hudson County Sheriff’s chief of operations, John Bartucci, has ignored a Florida judge’s order to pay legal fees to a condominium association after it was discovered that a convicted loanshark has been living in the chief’s condo rent-free without the necessary lease the past 10 years, CLIFFVIEW PILOT has learned.

Dune Walk condos

The association must now seek a $70,000 loan “to pay our outstanding bill to our attorney,” which totals $89,187.11, said a board member of the Dune Walk by the Ocean Condominium Association in Stuart, Fla., who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Earlier this year, a St. Lucie-based judge said reputed Genovese associate Michael DaPuzzo, formerly of Bergen County, has been living in the Central Florida condo without registering as an occupant, in violation of association rules.

For a brief time, DaPuzzo even served as the condo association’s treasurer, until board members realized the unit was Bartucci’s and no leases were ever submitted.

To date, the association hasn’t received a lease, another violation of the judge’s order, the board member told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.

As a result, the judge ordered Bartucci to surrender a lease to the association and pay its legal fees in the case — in June. Bartucci, who insists he and his friend are being unfairly singled out and harassed, is appealing that decision to a higher court.

Board members are concerned that DaPuzzo will attend next week’s meeting, when they vote on applying for the loan, one of them told CLIFFVIEW PILOT.

“He has a reputation of being disruptive at meetings while he threatens and harasses members of the Board and other members of the community, including octogenarian widows,” he told the Pilot. “[It] has taken a toll.”

Court records show that DaPuzzo was convicted out of Bergen County in February 1999 for criminal usury — loansharking.

Bartucci, meanwhile, “apparently considers himself above our documents and Florida Law and feels that it’s OK to hire a bully as long as it all occurs in another state,” the frightened board member said

DaPuzzo was living rent-free in a Hoboken unit owned by the chief — and valued at “well over $2,000 per month” — when Bartucci bought the Florida condo “almost sight unseen” on Oct. 31, 2000, Judge William J. Walsh said.

“Mr. Bartucci has never lived in this unit but for two or three short visits in nine years,” the judge wrote in his 15-page decision in June.

In that time, Walsh wrote, “Bartucci has never provided any communication that Mr. DaPuzzo was a guest, a tenant, a co-owner of any other possible characterization.

“Mr. Bartucci has made a number of contrary characterizations as to the reason that he has provided DaPuzzo with a free place to live for over ten years,” he added. The “most incredible,” the judge said, is that they were childhood friends in Hoboken. DaPuzzo is seven years old than Bartucci.

“For whatever reason — including the fact that Mr. DaPuzzo collects a disability payment and has an outstanding federal judgment against him — it is evident that both gentlemen desire to prevent any written record that may characterize Mr. DaPuzzo’s tenancy or occupancy,” Walsh wrote.

DaPuzzo has been “living off the grid” in both New Jersey and Florida, even though his Florida driver’s license lists his address as Unit 919 at Dune Walk; that he registered to vote under that address; and that he has paid the electrical bill there the past decade, the judge said.

Things came to a head in fall 2004, when hurricanes Frances and Jeanne devastated the development. DaPuzzo oversaw repairs for Bartucci, court papers say, and when an association manager audited the files to make sure all rules and regulations were followed, she “determined that the only unit without proper lease documentation” was 919, according to Walsh. Repeated requests were ignored, and the board sued, he said.

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