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Harry P. Pappas allegedly bullied neighbor, police reports show

Landlord Murray Kushner sided with Pappas, tried to evict woman with stage 4 cancer

By David Wildstein, June 02 2019 6:02 pm

Former Union County Democratic Chairman Harry P. Pappas.

State Assembly candidate Harry P. Pappas claimed to be an advisor to President Donald Trump and past U.S. presidents while allegedly bullying a 72-year-old cancer patient who lives in an apartment above him, according to a Springfield Police Department report obtained by the New Jersey Globe.

Pappas, a hugely controversial former Union County Democratic chairman and Republican Township Committeeman in Springfield from the 1970s into the 1990s, is running an independent candidate for assemblyman in the 21st district.

“I have taken a great deal of effort not to complain to management over the excessive noise caused by your daughter as she walks like a herd of elephants from the time she is up through the time she goes to bed at nights [sic],” Pappas wrote in a letter to his neighbor that has now become part of the police file.

The victim, whose name is being withheld, says she and her daughter “live in constant anxiety and are fearful for any backlash Pappas may cause.”

The woman has lived in the same apartment for 24 years and told the Globe that Pappas moved in less than two years ago.

Now she is “constantly walking on egg-shells in her own home and is fearful of what Pappas might do or say to the property managers to get her evicted.”

The owner of the garden apartment complex where Pappas and the woman live is Murray Kushner, a prominent New Jersey real estate developer who has made significant campaign contributions to candidates from both parties.

Kushner did not return two calls to his office seeking comment. An on-site property manager, who would identify herself only as Kimberly, declined to comment after checking with her employer.

The woman said that the Kushner-owned company offered to move her to another unit—at her expense—and said they would also raise her rent in the process.

Pappas denied that he has threatened his neighbor’s daughter and said he has even offered to purchase slippers to “help in curbing the banging.”

“I am fully in my rights to protect my quality of life,” Pappas said.  “Should my complaint appear to be a threat that I will complain to management, so be it.”

Pappas has written several letters complaining about his neighbor.

Earlier this year, Kushner’s brother-in-law, William Schulder, sent a letter to Pappas’ neighbor threatening her with eviction unless the noise Pappas claimed to hear had stopped.

Schulder told the woman, who has stage four lung cancer, that “there is constant noise – banging and running back and forth” coming from the apartment, and said she could be viewed as a disorderly tenant.

The woman told the Globe that while she disputes Pappas’ version, she has taken steps to curb his perception of noise by covering her hardwood floors with carpet.

“He’s been lying, exaggerating, distorting,” the woman said.  “The man’s a total con man.  He’s dangerous. He’ll stop at nothing.”

Advisor to Trump?

There is no record of Pappas’ service as an advisor to Trump.

“To my knowledge, he is not on the Donald J. Trump 2020 Campaign Advisory Board, or is he an advisor to the president,” said former gubernatorial candidate Steve Rogers, who is close to the president and serves on his re-election campaign committee. “I have never heard his name mentioned as an advisor to the president in any capacity.”

Pappas’ claim that he has served as an advisor to U.S. presidents is consistent with claims he has made in the past about his relationship with Jimmy Carter. Pappas boasted for decades that as an early backer of Carter’s 1976 presidential campaign, the president frequently sought his counsel.

Records kept by the White House and obtained in 2001 by PoliticsNJ from the Carter Library show detailed records of Carter’s minute-by-minute movement in the White House.

Pappas saw Carter only once during his presidency.

On June 29, 1979, President Carter’s schedule shows that the President participated in a “photo opportunity” with Pappas and his then-wife, Joanne Rajoppi, a candidate for the New Jersey State Senate. The session began at 2:00 PM and ended at 2:02 PM, according to White House records. Pappas’ closeness to Carter may have allowed him to spend exactly 120 seconds with the President during his four years in the White House.

Pappas announced in March that he would team up with former Scotch Plains Mayor Martin Marks as conservative independent Assembly candidates against incumbents Jon Bramnick (R-Westfield) and Nancy Munoz (R-Summit).

Pappas was elected Union County Democratic in 1978, but won just 34% of the county committee vote when he sought re-election in 1979 against William Maccarelli, then the assistant county counsel.  Pappas was the Democratic candidate for State Senate in 1977 against incumbent Peter J. McDonough (R-Plainfield), but lost by a 55%-42% margin.

After switching parties in 1991, Pappas won a seat on the Springfield Township Committee by 65 votes and served one term before losing a bid for freeholder.

Harry P. Pappas tenant complaint
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