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Sunday, May 15, 2011

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THE RENTS TOO DAM HIGH!!

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This man is Mark Newton

Not only does he dress the part, Mark Newton knows the law. In fact, an exhaustive Star-Ledger review of his court filings shows that for at least 19 years he has made Superior, chancery, federal and municipal courtrooms his virtual offices, representing himself in hundreds of court battles — though he has no license to practice law.

His specialty? Avoiding eviction. And he is relentlessly effective.

Interviews with landlords and neighbors and an examination of court documents provide a portrait of a man waging an almost continual war of attrition, fighting one eviction after another for years on end, filing lawsuits, complaints, subpoenas, asking for judge recusals and seeking postponements. He sometimes has multiple cases going simultaneously in different courts, always acting pro se, meaning he is his own "lawyer."

Neighbors, judges, landlord’s family members and attorneys all have found themselves in Newton’s crosshairs. If there is a more active pro se litigant in New Jersey, no one has heard of it. Mark Newton is the pro se king.

"He learned to work the system in such a way that he could take me to several different courts,’’ said Karyn Stewart, who claims she spent $5,000 in attorney fees trying to evict Newton. "There’s probably not a landlord in Essex County who doesn’t know Mark Newton. Somebody has got to put a stop to him.’’

For their part, Newton’s former landlords say they have spent anywhere from $5,000 to $60,000 in attorney fees and up to four years in court trying to get him evicted.

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