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Quick Check Sues Bribing Businessman

WHITEHOUSE STATION, N.J. -- A 68-year-old businessman accused last month of trying to bribe Hanover's mayor to get zoning approval to build a Quick Chek is being sued by the convenience store chain for the $225,000 it advanced him, according to a report in New Jersey-based The Star Ledger.

Quick Chek filed a lawsuit last week against Blairstown resident Michael Sesera because the township zoning board in 2007 denied Quick Chek's application to build a store on Sesera's Parsippany Road lot, according to the newspaper.

Sesera and Quick Chek entered into an agreement in October 2005, and in exchange for $225,000, Sesera gave Quick Chek a mortgage lien on his 1.6-acre property, according to the lawsuit, which became public this week in state Superior Court in Morristown, The Star Ledger reported.

However, authorities said Sesera handed Mayor Ronald Francioli a brown paper bag stuffed with $20,000, last month, expecting the mayor to get him the needed zoning approval, the report stated.

Sesera didn't know Francioli had tipped off police, who were watching when he showed up at the drop at the Rockaway Townsquare Mall parking lot. He is due in court on the criminal charge on Dec. 17.

Sesera operated a Gulf gas station at Whippany and Parsippany Roads for more than 40 years, and previously lived in Hanover's Whippany section, according to public records cited by the newspaper. The gas station had been closed for almost a decade.

After a deal with BP to open a gas station and convenience store fell through, Sesera struck up the deal with Quick Chek to build a similar project. But in 2006, the township committee rezoned the property to exclude retail businesses as part of a revitalization plan. Sesera tried to get a use variance from the zoning board in the summer of 2007, but failed, the report stated.

When Sesera's project fell through, Quick Chek demanded its money back, and then filed for foreclosure in May.

"He has all his life invested in this property, and it was a go until the zone was changed," township committeeman Len Fariello said after Sesera's arrest.

"This property to him was his nest egg," Francioli said in the report.
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