Law firms say Jersey City school board veep owes them $25K

JERSEY CITY — Sudhan Thomas, the vice president of the Jersey City school board, is the defendant in two new lawsuits alleging he owes more than $25,000 in unpaid legal bills.

The allegations come at a time that Thomas, a political neophyte, is seeking to broaden his influence in Jersey City. He recently signaled he may run for a council seat in November.

Weiner Law Group, formerly Weiner Lesniak, alleges in its lawsuit, filed on June 28 in Morris County Superior Court, that Thomas owes it $18,122. Jersey City law firm Ehrlich Gaynor, which filed its case here in Hudson County on May 26, says Thomas hasn’t paid it $7,066.

Reached to comment, Thomas deferred to his attorney, Paul Appel, who sent The Jersey Journal a letter saying Thomas plans to file counterclaims against both law firms. Appel said Thomas has paid $25,000 to a new attorney to fight the suits.

Thomas’ campaign records list a $4,119.50 debt to Ehrlich Gaynor, among $44,624.50 the campaign says it owes to 17 creditors. One of the debts is $6,000 to Glocal Payment Solutions, where Thomas is CEO and chairman. Glocal provided creative design, web design and tech consulting, the campaign reports.

The campaign also reports owing $2,000 to Appel, who is also Thomas’ campaign treasurer and a registered agent for Glocal Payment Solutions. Thomas’ campaign reported raising $15,175 last year for his BOE run, the records show.

Thomas, 42, first elected to the school board last November, has been a defendant in at least 10 other cases in the last two years, all over unpaid bills.

Three former landlords at Port Liberte (for three different units) all sued him separately between February 2016 and April 2017, saying he owed them a total of $26,077 in unpaid rent. One of those cases was settled last year; another was dismissed when both parties said they would settle; and the third was canceled by the landlord’s attorney, county court clerks told The Jersey Journal. The unit at the center of the unpaid rent allegations in the third case is in foreclosure and scheduled to be sold at a sheriff’s sale on Aug. 10.

In another lawsuit, a private detective said Thomas owes him $2,333. In another, a Jersey City woman sued saying Thomas didn’t pay her $620 for services related to his school board run. Reached by phone, the woman said the case had been settled, she was paid and she could not discuss the case any further because she signed a non-disclosure agreement.

In December 2009, a warrant was issued for Thomas’ arrest out of Middlesex County when New Century Financial Services said he failed to respond to a claim he owed it $1,589, according to court documents obtained by The Jersey Journal. At the time, Thomas lived in Plainsboro. A Middlesex County court clerk said the case was dismissed because the defendant was never served.

In June, Thomas filed paperwork with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission forming a campaign committee for a possible council run in November.

Terrence T. McDonald may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @terrencemcd. Find The Jersey Journal on Facebook.

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