The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Hudson County Superior Court is unrelated to the dispute over the so-called Ground Zero mosque, a proposed cultural, sports and religious center two blocks from the World Trade Center site, The Star-Ledger of Newark reported.
Union City officials say that Feisal Abdul Rauf ignored citations for violations of housing codes in two buildings for years, including 12 violations of fire codes handed out a year before a fire.
"He's a terrible landlord who's unresponsive to the residents who live in his building," said Mark Albiez, a city spokesman. "City officials and inspectors have reached out to him to express the urgency in correcting problems in his buildings, and it's unfortunate that it's gotten to this point, but it's our responsibility to insure that residents receive the care that is needed."
The city is seeking to put the two buildings into receivership, using rents from tenants to make repairs. The larger building has been empty since the fire in 2008.