DeMarzo files malicious prosecution suit

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Photo by Jen Marra/ Former Mayor Gary DeMarzo Photo by Jen Marra/ Former Mayor Gary DeMarzo Prosecutor Taylor, county, Wildwood among defendants 

WILDWOOD- Former Mayor Gary DeMarzo and his attorney have filed a civil suit against Prosecutor Robert Taylor, the county, and Wildwood.

DeMarzo and attorney Samuel Lashman are claiming that DeMarzo’s previous indictment for official misconduct was malicious prosecution, as well as a violation of their civil rights, according to the suit.

County Detectives Paul J. Worrell and Daniel Holt, as well as Chris Wood, city clerk, are also named in the suit.

In 2011, an indictment was first filed against DeMarzo for allegedly using city funds to pay Lashman legal fees for a lawsuit that he had filed against Mayor Ernie Troiano, former commissioner Bill Davenport and city attorney Marcus Karavan in 2010. 

Louis Barbone, DeMarzo’s defense attorney, argued in January that the city commission had authorized a $20,000 addition to the city’s department of revenue and finance for Lashman’s services, which DeMarzo headed. Rob Johnson, first assistant prosecutor, said that the $20,000 addition was for a personal aide, not an attorney to represent him in personal matters.

The total bill was $346.
That indictment was first dismissed in April 2012. Then, DeMarzo was again indicted on charges of official misconduct, as well as contempt of court, in June 2012. Judge Albert Garofolo dismissed those charges for a second time in January.

Now, DeMarzo and Lashman argue that these charges were politically motivated. The suit states that the indictments were filed to “attack plaintiffs for their political affiliations and gain the ability to install new city officials who have valuable business relationships with defendants and their subordinates.”

For the charges, DeMarzo and Lashman are seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorney and legal fees.

“We respect the American legal system because it is the best in the world,” DeMarzo stated in a prepared release. “What we do not respect are rogue prosecutors like Prosecutor Taylor who conspired to hurt individuals for political purposes. 

“Robert Taylor intentionally abused the high office he swore to uphold, as chief law enforcement officer in Cape May County, in order to achieve his personal malicious political vendettas.”

Prosecutor Robert Taylor said that the indictment against DeMarzo is currently being appealed.

"The suit papers have not been served upon me," Taylor said. "The DeMarzo case is on appeal to the Appellate Division of the Superior Court and has not been finally determined in his favor. The suit is frivolous."

Wildwood Mayor Ernie Troiano Jr. said he wasn't surprised by the suit, but would not comment further.

"My comment would be: oh well, here we go again," he said.


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