Cole Schotz P.C.



Carl A. Rizzo
New Jersey Office
Court Plaza North, 25 Main Street, Hackensack, NJ 07601
T: 201-525-6350 / C: 551-206-6560 / F: 201-678-6350
Legal Practice Assistant: Deborah Hilcher
T: 201-489-3000, ext. 5084


Carl A. Rizzo is co-chairman of the firm’s Real Estate Real Property Tax Appeal sub-practice group and a member of the firm’s commercial litigation department. Carl’s broad and diverse practice includes concentrations in commercial litigation matters and chancery practice relating to contractual disputes involving such matters as surety, construction and construction liens, real estate transactions, commercial tenancy, employment covenants and partnership/shareholder discord. He also concentrates his practice in tax court ad valorem proceedings, where he has successfully negotiated and litigated numerous matters involving millions of dollars in tax reductions for his commercial property owner clients.  Carl also represents developer clients in land use and zoning matters, including both the prosecution of and objection to development applications as well as an extensive prerogative writs practice.  He further has a wide-reaching basis of other litigation experience ranging from administrative appeals to applications for advantageous business designations as well as matters relating to attorney ethics and disciplinary proceedings.

A Member of the firm since 1992 Carl has played an integral role in assisting clients realize their goals and objectives in the face of irreconcilable differences including the representation of:

  • A developer of a 110,000 square foot mixed-use development in Bayonne in its eminent domain battle with New Jersey Transit resulting in a hard fought settlement producing just under 1 million dollars in compensation for direct and residual property damages caused by this government taking;
  • A clothing manufacturer against their fashion designer client, which was enjoined from secreting its assets, was placed under the protective oversight of a special fiscal agent, thereby enabling the recovery of millions of dollars for application against the outstanding contract debt owed to the manufacturer client;
  • A New Jersey franchise restaurateur in its successful appeal of the local Alcohol Beverage Commission’s denial of a person to person and place to place liquor license transfer application, thereby significantly enhancing the value of the Flemington New Jersey’s restaurant’s value;
  • A private multi-family property holding company in its successful appeal of a trial court’s judgment improperly assessing over a million dollars in fire code violations/fines;
  • A New York restaurateurs’ New Jersey waterfront ethnic restaurant concept in its successful battle with a Hudson County town and local residents’ that sought to undermine its proven business plan through the adoption of unconstitutional and discriminatory laws and condominium by-laws that intended to treat the client differently than other similarly situated commercial/retail establishments;
  • A publically traded insurance brokerage firm in the successful resolution of a dispute with a business competitor concerning the breath and scope of a restrictive covenant terms, thereby allowing the newly hired sales executive to continue in his position with the client and enabling the client to springboard its development of a new line of business;
  • A New York textile importer in the successful resolution of a claim by a publically traded fabric manufacturer concerning the propriety and applicability of a confidentiality provision concerning a newly hired sales manager retained by the client to head up its newly formed uniform fabric division;
  • An on-air radio personality’s successful resolution of sexual harassment and wrongful termination claims against a well-known publically traded news/media outlet;                     
  • A religious institution in a multi-year appeal concerning the exempt status of their 100+ acre campus, claiming that the proportion of exemption attributable to the religious use, was grossly understated. Relying upon our First Amendment challenge, we successfully convinced the municipality to reclassify a significant portion of the client’s property as tax exempt, thereby resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional tax savings for the client;
  • A major publishing company in pursuit of a reduction of the excessively high assessment on their 180,000 square-foot corporate headquarters facilities in Union County, New Jersey.  Based upon an aggressive approach to fixing the market rent applicable to similar single-user buildings, we achieved a successful settlement whereby the assessment was reduced by 35%.  As a result of this multi-year settlement, the client realized over $1.2 million dollars in tax savings;
  • A significant pension fund in their efforts to rectify the overassessment impacting their 303,000 square-foot multi-story office building in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey.  Demonstrating the parking deficiencies associated with the office use and the level of subject rent warranted significantly lower valuation served to spur the municipality to settle the matter reducing the assessment by 30%. This reduction in assessment affected over $695,000 in tax savings for the three tax years appealed;
  • A leading news/broadcasting company in their appeal of the assessments on its 90 acre AM radio transmission tower site.  By utilizing the wetlands delineations of the client’s environmental consultant, we convinced the municipality to assign only a minimal conservation land value to the bulk of the property and successfully argued that the municipality should only tax the fair value of the fixtures (foundations) of the superstructure radio antenna towers and not the towers themselves that are recognized to be exempt from taxation.  In the end, a multi-year settlement package valued at over $250,000 in tax savings was achieved;

Awarded an AV rating for his professionalism and the quality of his legal work from Martindale-Hubbell, the premier directory of legal professionals. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey. See Award Methodology.

Carl is Contributing Editor of the Hotel Business Review, the primary business journal of and has been both  a presenter and panel member speaking on the topic of, "An Annual Property Tax Review Should Be In the Cards and Due Diligence in Commercial Real Estate Transactions" at the New Jersey Association of Corporate Counsel's Annual Conference in 2011;

Carl earned his BA from The George Washington University with distinction and a member of Phi Beta Kappa and his J.D. from George Washington University’s National Law Center.

Carl is active in numerous industry organizations, including the American Bar Association, New Jersey State Bar Association, and the Bergen County Bar Association (Land Use Section). Additionally, Carl was recently appointed by The Christian Health Care Center Foundation Board of Trustees to serve as member of its Board commencing in 2018.



The George Washington University Law School, J.D., 1987The George Washington University, B.A., Phi Beta Kappa, 1984

Bar & Court Admissions

New Jersey, 1987U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey, 1987U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, 1999



Uncertainty Remains Surrounding the Nonprofit Hospital Tax Exemption

Real Estate & Construction Law Monitor January 21, 2016

Carl A. Rizzo
Why "Card Check" Has Not Completely Checked Out

Hotel Business Review September, 2011

Financing for Hotels: Do Lenders Have Any Room for the Inns?

Hotel Business Review November 1, 2010

Two Ways to Identify True Property Value

Hotel Business Review August 20, 2010

Ax Your Taxes February 9, 2010

Timing May Be Right for Property Tax Appeal

The Record December 16, 2008

The Annual Real Property Tax Appeal Countdown Has Begun

Real Estate & Construction Law Monitor


For Important Legal Updates and Resources on the Coronavirus Click Here.