New York City cemetery, scrap yard stands their “land” in property battle: suit

Managers of a historic city cemetery say it’s being overrun by nearby litter dogs.

Established in 1852, St Michael’s Cemetery in Queens is one of the oldest cemeteries in the city and the final resting place of composer Scott Joplin and the great boxer Emile Griffith.

East Elmhurst Cemetery is also the site of a fierce legal battle with neighboring litter owner Tom Tiseo, who allegedly allows Rottweilers to roam 88 acres of Holy Land and menacing mourners.

For years, the unidentified scrap yard, designated only as “ABC Corporation” in court papers, has been “engaged in a pattern of systematic harassment, trespassing, and trespassing against employees, property … and visitors to St Michael,” the Queens Supreme Court file says.

In the late 1990s, the “junk yard” allowed to land in the barrier between “24-37” [49th Street] and St. Michael’s property,” the complaint says.

The complaint says scrap yard dogs would enter St Michael’s through the broken fence, “to terrorize patrons and staff at the cemetery and disrupt funeral services.”

St. Michael filed a lawsuit against the bunker on September 30.
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St. Michael asked Tiseo to repair the broken fence or restrain the dogs, but Tiseo did not, the lawsuit says. The suit alleges that St. Michael’s Cemetery offered to repair the fence at its own expense, but was ignored.

The lawsuit says St. Michael “had no choice” but to build an insulating fence on her private property “to ensure the safety and sanctity of the cemetery.”

“Next, Tiseo began aggressively encroaching on St. Michael’s property. Tiseo began stockpiling and piling rubble, bulldozing and building temporary structures on St. Michael’s property,” the lawsuit says.

The court papers say: “Despite complaints, which Tiseo ignored, Tiseo began systematically usurping larger swaths of St.

Saint Michael's Cemetery, a man works on a fence separating the scrap yard
The lawsuit says St. Michael “had no choice” but to build an insulating fence on her private property “to ensure the safety and sanctity of the cemetery.”
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Tiseo got his wish when St. Michael filed a lawsuit on September 30.

The complaint accuses Tesio of trying to take illegal land between the broken fence and the separation fence of St. Michael. The cemetery’s lawyers obtained a court order this week to halt any activity pending a court session next month.

St. Michael’s Cemetery – a still active cemetery owned by St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan – required the court to determine the correct boundary line between the two properties and submitted land surveys. The church wants a judge to order the scrap yard to clear the land it’s encroaching on and have Tiseo cover the costs. The lawsuit also seeks unspecified damages.

Saint Michael's Cemetery
Established in 1852, St Michael’s Cemetery in Queens is one of the oldest cemeteries in the city.
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“The separation fence that our customers erected was intended to keep the dogs safe [away] Greg Nahas, the cemetery’s attorney, told The Post: …this was not a relinquishment of ownership, or the practical equivalent of a demilitarized zone.

Tiseo could not be reached for comment.

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