This morning around 11:45 am, there were several sightings of a larger-than-life, 20-foot inflatable rat hovering in front of Schweppe Burgdorff Realtors on Valley Road, Montclair. We received two tip-offs, but before you know it, Montclair PD was on the scene insisting that workers take down that rat. At 12:15 the rat was gone.
Our photo editor Fran Liscio ran right over, and found two workers who handed Fran a flyer, indicating that this was more than just a simple prank.
According to the flyer made by Laborers Local 78, the union challenges Jay Schweppe’s contracting practices including claims he hires “substandard companies to perform deadly asbestos removal at his buildings.”
We called Schweppe at 3:30 pm to get his side of the story, and left a message. We’ll update when we hear back.
Another rat appearance is scheduled for tomorrow morning at an undisclosed location.

20 replies on “Does Someone See Smell A Rat?”

  1. Unless I’m wrong, Jay Schweppe has nothing to do with the business any longer, and hasn’t for years.

  2. I heard he quit real estate to get into the ginger ale biz.
    More importantly, though, was the “undisclosed location” disclosed to the Baristas so they can get a pic tomorrow? (I’m curious whether it’s the same inflatable rat one sees occasionally in NYC. Perhaps NJ has its own subspecies?)

  3. i bought and sold my last house and my current house through schweppe and they were a pleasure from start to finish. i am also a close personal friend of the realtor who conducted my transactions. so i’m not an impartial party in any reporting regarding this story. schweppe’s transactions on my behalf were conducted in the most ethical, open, and professional way from start to finish. given my bias i may have to recuse myself from anything but the photos as far as this story goes 🙂

  4. You used to see the rat on the sidewalks of NYC until they were told that was against city ordinances, and then they appeared on the back of pick-up trucks.
    Unions were and can be important to making sure safe methods of construction and trained people carry them out. They can also make sure fair wages and benefits are given to those people. Steel workers and others need to be highly trained, but look at the recent crane fiascos.
    The unions also end up powerful political entities that demand crazy crap to quell the members to make sure the “leadership” stays in power no matter what commonsense would tell you (just look at a UAW book of rules). The power and money become paramount. If they stayed within the worker domain, I would laud them. Having been in the construction industry, I say they stifle competition and rip off the worker, and will use as much violence as they can get away with to accomplish it.
    Jay Schweppe may no longer be involved in the selling of real-estate but I wouldn’t be surprised if he owns/manages properties. If it’s true he contracts people that are not certified in asbestos removal, then expose it or any other shady practice and the law will take care of it. The fact the union sites nothing illegal is telling, no? The flyer is nothing but sensational scare tactics at its worst; most cases of mesothelioma take longer than the “victim” was alive to show up (though I don’t dispute this case).
    Though hired legally, I’ve had to leave a construction site under threat of my tools “accidentally” falling out the window. I’ve had to work with people that wouldn’t last 2 hours mopping a floor, that the company paid exurbanite rates for, who realized less salary than the people that worked for the non-unionized company after you factor in the union contributions and “voluntary” political contributions all in order to work in a unionized building. The best thing dose guys did was supply coffee at our expense by going to get it and staying out of the way. I’ve even been informed of the statistics of accidents for having work go to quickly, it could be dangerous; funny if was a movie instead of business as usual.
    This one really hit a nerve, as you can tell, one of the last reasons I got out of the business: the delivery truck getting run into a curb with a warning to the boss to pay up or else while the boss says screw ’em, but still changes the name on the side of the delivery van, cool.
    The rat is a symbol of those that inflate it and should be shunned. SHUNNED!

  5. “Thank God. I thought this was gonna be a Baristaville restaurant review!”
    This made me laugh out loud! Thanks for the chuckle.

  6. Asbestos removal a.k.a remediation (remediation sounds much worse; hence they feel they can charge you more) is one of the biggest union\organized crime scams going. They hold you up for thousands and thousands of dollars on a process that is dubious at best.

  7. Laura Loonie….
    OMG! What a great pic that conjures up! I can’t stop laughing….tears roll down my cheeks… oh man …that was great!

  8. AliAkbar, you’re worse than an idiot if you think asbestos is a joke. If it’s in stable condition, it can be left alone or sealed, but removal is serious business. Union may not be necessary, but license/certification is. It is dangerous stuff if not treated properly; my point was who the rat really is. Hire only certified people when dealing with this, they’ll be honest as weather removal is necessary and recommend state licensed contractors, no job for an amateur.
    This is why I also pointed out that if there was something going on beside a union loss of revenue, why not report it to the proper authorities, why scare tactics against a landlord/business?
    Eschew the rat! For to live a rat must chew.

  9. This made me laugh out loud! Thanks for the chuckle.
    I’ll be here all week. Try the chicken.

  10. Very good, Amandala, it’s actually one of my favorite coined words (not taking credit) as I worked on projects for the upper 1% in wealth as time went on. And yes that was a fraudia…err Freudian slip.

  11. They are back in front of Burgdorff with an open casket.
    Jay still owns that building as well as a group of stores in Watchung Plaza, Talbots Building and the old Gibbs School.
    Where was this “illegal asbestos removal” done?.

  12. Typical ultra liberal montclair, not backing unions, once the heart of the liberal agenda, not politically correct enough???

  13. Typical ultra liberal montclair, not backing unions, once the heart of the liberal agenda, not politically correct enough???

  14. I’m going to start a dog walking union and make sure to blow up an inflatable rat at the doorsteps of ametuer dog walkers.
    After all, dogwalking is serious business. Dog poop contains trillions of cells of bacteria and the non-union walkers tend to leave the poo behind.

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