Whoopi Goldberg‘s company is being sued for $50 million in a New Jersey real estate development controversy.

The suit alleges that Whoopi Inc. has worked with officials in West Orange, New Jersey to replace a development company that had been tasked with revamping and revitalizing 21-acres of land on Main Street in Essex County.

Development company Prism Capital Partners’ suit claims that they were unfairly removed from the project in order for the city council to make more money and allow Goldberg’s company to build a movie studio in Essex County.

They had first been given the development agreement in 2006, and promised to develop commercial and residential buildings in the historic town.

In the 15 years since, Prism has completed a small part of what they promised, turning a building that once served as a factory for Thomas Edison into an apartment complex.

The West Orange Town Council said that Prism was “in default” of the original agreement in May, and broke their deal with the company in June. The council members created a new plan for the area if approved.

In their suit, Prism claims that the mayor and council members are taking advantage of skyrocketing property values and reselling the land to new developers, including Whoopi Inc., in an “opportunistic and nefarious scheme to acquire the property for below market value so they can use the land for a sound studio.” Prism is asking for the development contact to be reinstated and for $50 million in damages.

Goldberg has not made a public comment on the suit.

“Residents of West Orange have a right to know the truth about what is happening with the Edison Village redevelopment area. At a recent town council meeting, the mayor and council members falsely framed their intent to purchase redevelopment property back from Prism Capital Partners by saying that Prism, as designated redeveloper, has not delivered on its promises to the township and is financially unable to move forward with Phase 2 of the project,” Prism principal partner Eugene Diaz said in a statement August 10. “Both claims are lies. And the motivation behind them is reprehensible and unethical.”

West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi and town council members denied Prism’s suit’s allegations.

“West Orange categorically denies each and every allegation made by Prism in this lawsuit,” Parisi told Patch.

“While we do not intend to litigate in the press, the township stands firm in its position that Prism Green has defaulted, breached and ended its redevelopment relationship with West Orange,” Parisi said. “They have had almost 15 years to complete Phase II of this project and despite approvals, have failed to live up to their commitments. For Prism Green to attack prominent members of the West Orange community and volunteers in our collective effort to improve the township is atrocious and unacceptable.”

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