Fired UEZ director plans $2M suit

Attention: open in a new window. PrintE-mail

Notice alleges Ferrara canned because ‘he couldn’t keep secrets’

WILDWOOD- Wildwood, North Wildwood, Wildwood Crest, and West Wildwood, as well as officials within each municipality, are facing a $2 million lawsuit from the former Urban Enterprise Zone director.

Louis Ferrara, who was fired in May from his position as director of the Urban Enterprise Zone, issued a claim that alleges Wildwood City Commissioner Pete Byron altered feasibility studies about a potential ice rink project on Pacific Avenue and engaged in “improper procedure” concerning the beach revenue project in Wildwood.

Byron did not return phone calls seeking comment. Wildwood’s city clerk said that Byron is unable to comment on the claims.

According to the tort claim notice released by the city of Wildwood in response to a public records request, after Ferrara went to Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr.’s son, Ryan, about Byron’s actions, Byron fired Ferrara on May 22 “because he couldn’t keep secrets.”

In February, the claim states, Byron showed Ferrara “elaborate” plans to build an ice rink on Pacific Avenue and was instructed by Byron not to tell Mayor Troiano. Byron then went to various boards for approval of the ice rink and commissioned a feasibility study from Triad Associates in Vineland, the claim alleges.

According to minutes from the Jan. 25 commissioner’s meeting, Triad Associates was awarded a $40,000 contract for “general consultant services.”

The claim states the Ferrara learned the initial feasibility study from Triad was unfavorable. It alleges that Byron then directed Triad to alter the report to make it favorable for the rink project. According to the claim, Ferrara then contacted Triad and advised that they were using an incorrect formula and methodology to conduct the new study.

A representative from Triad Associates did not respond to phone calls for comment.

According to the claim, Ferrara believes “Byron was asking Triad to assist Byron in committing a fraud by altering the documents” and Byron “intended to continue his fraudulent conduct regarding the ice rink project” and he intended to retaliate against Ferrara for his actions.

The claim also states that Byron engaged in “improper procedure” in projects involving developing businesses on the beach in Wildwood, but does not elaborate.

When Ferrara was fired, Byron and Chris Wood, Wildwood’s city clerk, were the only two present, according to the claim. Ferrara was told he was being fired because “he couldn’t keep secrets” from William Morey, president of Morey’s Piers, and Patrick Rosenello, North Wildwood council president and director of the business improvement district, the claim states. According to the claim, Ferrara was confused by this reasoning because he had not gone to Morey or Rosenello, but rather others about Byron’s actions.

Ferrara alleges that Byron did not have the authority to fire him because he was employed by the city of Wildwood and the Enterprise Zone Development Corporation of the Wildwoods; therefore he was in a contract with all the island’s municipalities.

According to the claim, Ferrara had begun working in 2002, and still had two years on his contract when he was fired in May. His contract entitled him to a $108,000 salary per year with benefits, the claim states.

Christie Rotondo can be emailed at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or you can comment on this story at www.shorenewstoday.com. 

 


blog comments powered by Disqus