The View co-host Whoopi Goldberg is being sued $50 million over a New Jersey development dispute.
Goldberg’s company, Whoopi Inc., is accused of helping to unseat the longstanding creator of a plan to rebuild downtown West Orange according to the court document obtained by the New York Post.
In 2006, Prism Capital Partners was appointed to help redevelop the downtown area. However, the project, which spans 21 acres on Main Street in suburban Essex County, stalled.
“[The project’s mission was to] revamp the historic Thomas Edison Battery Building and surrounding grounds with thousands of square feet of retail space and hundreds of units of housing,” the New Jersey Patch reported.
The township found Prism had defaulted on its agreement back in May 2021. The deal was canceled in the following month.
Prism blamed pandemic-related property price hikes and municipal officials who ordered land to be rezoned and sold to a separate development group, which includes Whoopi Inc. The lawsuit also names West Orange officials and other real estate developers as defendants.
Prism wants the development agreement reinstated, as well as $50 million in damages for an allegedly “opportunistic and nefarious scheme to acquire the property for below market value, so they can use the land for a sound studio.”
“West Orange Township changed its mind from creating a residential neighborhood around our Edison Lofts property [and] they asked us to speak to Ms. Goldberg concerning her company’s interest in a small studio,” Prism principal partner Eugene Diaz said in a statement obtained by the paper. “Once we presented that deal to the town they decided to cut Prism out of the deal and take the property for less money than we paid for it in 2007, so they could negotiate a deal directly with Ms. Goldberg’s company.”
“They are not only trying to avoid paying the $20 million owed but they are trying to profit by being a middleman that flips the property to Ms. Goldberg,” he added.
West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi claimed the town “categorically denies” the allegations.
“[Prism had] almost 15 years to complete Phase II of this project and despite approvals, have failed to live up to their commitments,” he said according to the paper.