By Bill Cleary
The spokesperson for the Chatham Square Tenants Association, Anthony Parisi, (photo) was arrested on a number of charges on Wednesday, October 8th at the apartment complex in Gloucester City. Chatham Square, the former Reading Manor Apartments, is located at US Route 130 and Klemm Avenue.
PoliceLt. George Berglund, spokesperson for the department said officers were dispatched to A-8 Chatham Square for a report of a suspicious device blocking the front door. Upon arrival the resident, Anthony Parisi, age 36, refused to exit his apartment and a safe zone was established with nearby residents evacuated.
Berglund said, “The Camden County Bomb Squad responded along with members of the Camden County Prosecutors Office. After a period of time a member of the Prosecutors Office made contact with Mr. Parisi and he exited his apartment.”
Berglund said after a thorough check the devise was determined to be fake. Parisi was sent to the hospital for evaluation and he was charged with causing a false public alarm. Parisi was additionally charged by the Fire Department for obstructing the common doors of the apartment.
There were two other incidents involving Parisi earlier in the week leading up to his arrest.
Berglund said on Tuesday, October 7 at 12:01 AM all Gloucester City Police units were dispatched to Parisi's apartment for an alleged fight that he reported. It was determined that he (Parisi) called because the maintenance man was fixing the downstairs apartment door that was broken. Berglund said this was the second such call within the hour that was unfounded as such Parisi was charged with making false reports to Law Enforcement.
The other incident occurred Monday October 6. At 8:33 PM Officers responded to the same apartment. This time Parisi was causing a disturbance with a bullhorn and blaring a siren.
Berglund said Mr. Parisi was observed yelling and cursing at a crowd of people below his apartment using a loud bullhorn. "The crowd was getting larger and he continued to antagonize everyone and refused attempts to reason with him," said Berglund.
Officers had to break through the barricaded common hall doors to get to Parisi's door to attempt to make contact with him through his front door. Parisi was summoned to his front door and officers arrested him for disorderly conduct. The fire department additionally charged Parisi with creating an escape hazard for blocking the doors.
The next day he sent an Email to this reporter about the incident. The first couple of sentences read…Your police kicked down my door last night for using a bullhorn. They think they can intimidate us, WE WILL ONLY BE STRONGER!!!!!!!!! People are gonna lose their livelihoods b/c of this. I think the IRS needs to get involved with some other people. And dont be surprised if people start getting yanked out of bed in the middle of the night.
The City purchased the 100 Chatham Square Apartment complex earlier this year. Sixty of the apartments were declared unlivable while the remaining were being repaired one by one. The residents were allowed to remain in the apartments while the repairs were being made. Parisi, who said he was a part-time student at Rutgers Camden, joined with the remaining tenants to form an association.
Claiming the City was dragging its feet in making the repairs he contacted the daily newspapers, televisions stations and local media. At each opportunity Parisi vilified nearly everyone on City Council. In one article there is a photo of him hanging out the window of his apartment with signs slandering a City councilman.
He was also seen at a number of intersections along Route 130 near the apartments handing out flyers to motorists that defamed council.
Following that episode on September 22 Fox News TV reported…. Dozens of volunteers from both Philadelphia and New York City Guardian Angels patrolled the complex in Gloucester City last night. Parisi said he contacted the organization and asked for their help. The reason for his request, he claimed the residents didn’t feel safe living at the apartments.
October 2nd Parisi along with 30 other tenants were summon to appear in Camden County Landlord/Tenant Court to show proof that they had paid their rent to the previous owner. Because of poor record keeping by the last owners the City was unable to determine which tenants had paid their rent and security deposits.
Following the proceedings 12 cases were dismissed. “They had arguably paid, and will continue living there,” said City Solicitor John Kearney who represented the taxpayers. Another 15 tenants defaulted and they will be evicted for not paying their rent.
The one complaint that was not resolved had problems concerning habitability. That person was Anthony Parisi.
As of today (Friday) Parisi remains in custody. His bail was set at $20,000 full cash.