• ATLANTIC CITY – An activist for open government will be heard in court Monday after the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office denied his request for information about the alleged theft of funds from the Margate Firefighters Benevolent Association Inc. The case is scheduled to be heard 9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 15 by Superior Court Judge Nelson C. Johnson.

    According to a complaint filed Nov. 10 in Superior Court, John Paff of Somerset, chairman of the New Jersey Libertarian Party Open Government Advocacy Project, the Prosecutor’s Office refused to provide any information about the case. He is asking for the immediate release of all incident and investigative reports related to the case.

  • LONGPORT – The Board of Commissioners is considering a request from the city engineer to be more assertive in its support of the pending Absecon Island Beach Protection project – which its neighbor to the north is trying to stop.

    “We went to great lengths to try and get this money and to protect our infrastructure and properties through the dune system. I really think we ought to look at what proactive activities we can do because of the court case out there,” borough engineer Richard Carter told the commission at its Wednesday, Dec. 11 workshop meeting.

    “If you want this, might have to fight for it.”

  • Board of Commissioners appropriates $50,000 more for legal work

    MARGATE – U.S. District Court Judge Renee M. Bumb issued an order Tuesday, Dec. 9 adjourning a court hearing on the dunes project from Dec. 17 to 10 a.m. Jan. 15 to allow the parties to come up with an “amicable resolution.”

    The order was issued in response to a joint request for adjournment from Margate’s special counsel, Jordan M. Rand of Dilworth Paxson LLP, and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

  • CAMDEN – Margate won the second round Thursday in its legal battle to negotiate an alternative to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to build sand dunes on the beach.

    On Dec. 4, U.S. District Court Judge Renee Marie Bumb extended the temporary restraining order she imposed Nov. 24 that barred the DEP from awarding a contract to build the dunes.

Commission considers settlement with Hiltner

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

MARGATE – The Board of Commissioners met in a closed-door meeting Thursday, May 29 to review its options to settle a whistleblower lawsuit brought by City Clerk and Tax Collector Tom Hiltner.

Hiltner sued the city, Mayor Michael Becker and Commissioner Brenda Taube in April 2012 to expose what he claimed were violations of the state’s pay to play laws regarding the commission’s appointment of a new auditor, and harassment by Taube, who said there was a “pattern of misbehavior” in Hiltner’s handling of city business, including the loss of more than 3,000 beach badges that was found by the new auditor.

According to Solicitor Scott Abbott, who reported what happened following the hour-long meeting, the commission discussed settling the case, which is scheduled to go to trial in July.

“We discussed the upcoming trial and the possibility of settling the case. We were just updating public officials at this meeting,” Abbott said after the executive session.

Abbott said that although the city is being defended by David Rapuano of the firm of Archer and Greiner in Haddonfield, he was acting as a conduit to relay discussions about the possible settlement.

The terms of the potential settlement were not revealed.

Although the board took no action to settle the case, it did agree to ask its insurance carrier, the Atlantic County Municipal Joint Insurance and Municipal Excess Liability Fund, to review the case.

“The JIF has acknowledged some responsibility, but not full responsibility,” Abbott said, although he and Taube and Becker believe the city has good standing in the case.

Under the terms of the policy, the JIF could pay up to 50 percent of the cost of the city’s legal expenses up to $100,000.

The court and city would prefer to see the issue resolved rather than incur the expense of a full trial, he said.

Becker and Hiltner each declined comment for the story.

In an email Taube said she feels the case is highly defendable, but would consider a settlement if it were in the financial best interest of the city and if Hiltner retires.

The city has spent nearly $125,000 so far to defend the lawsuit, and costs would climb considerably if it goes to court.

Hiltner, 55, currently earns more than $150,000 a year as the city’s keeper of records and as tax collector. He is also enrolled in the State Health Benefits program.

He has more than 20 years of service and is eligible for retirement.

 

 

 

 

 


blog comments powered by Disqus