Dispute involving Wildwood worker to go to mediation

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Altercation started with bad-mouthing the mayor

WILDWOOD—An alleged dispute between a city employee and resident is set to go to mediation under Stone Harbor’s jurisdiction, after Wildwood’s municipal court transferred the matter in January, court officials confirmed Tuesday.

But, the details of the dispute in two police reports are conflicting, according to documents obtained this week by the New Jersey Libertarian Party Open Government Advocacy Project. Those documents were sent to the Leader.

According to police reports, Michael Blanda, a senior electrician for the city’s public works department who claimed to be relative of Mayor Ernie Troiano, and John Gallagher, a Wildwood resident, were involved in an altercation July 25, 2013 at Billows Electric.

Gallagher is pursuing simple assault and harassment charges against Blanda.  A report prepared by Patrolman Shawn Toffoli, which is dated 10:15 a.m. July 25, alleges Gallagher was in Billows having a conversation about the city of Wildwood with Mike Marsden, when Blanda overheard the conversation.

According to that report, the two exchanged words, then Blanda “reached out and grabbed the throat of Gallagher and stated ‘I am going to kill you.’” Blanda then pushed him against the wall forcefully and Gallagher couldn’t break Blanda’s grip. A witness then got between the two men, the police report states.

Blanda was also on the clock at the time of the incident, Toffoli’s report states.

Later, Toffoli went to the public works department to speak with Blanda’s supervisor, Mark D’Amico.

“I spoke with Blanda about this incident and he admitted he was wrong and should not have grabbed Gallagher. Blanda also admitted being on city time at the time of the incident,” Toffoli writes in his report,

D’Amico also claimed he would be completing a report about the incident.

Blanda is also pursuing harassment charges against Gallagher. According to a report prepared by Patrolman Matthew Donnelly, Blanda came to the city’s police department around 4:30 p.m. July 26, the day after the incident, to make a complaint.

Blanda claims that he is a relative of Troiano’s, and that Gallagher had threatened Blanda’s family and was “verbally aggressive and used obscenities.” Blanda also claims that he asked Gallagher to stop several times, and he would not, then he “grabbed him by the shirt and pushed him up against the store rack and ordered him to stop talking about his family.”

On Tuesday, Troiano objected to claims that Blanda was his relative. He explained that Blanda is his son’s brother-in-law.

“He’s a relative in the sense his sister married my son,” Troiano said.

He added that Blanda was a “good, hardworking” man, and he and Gallagher had a disagreement.

“There’s some bad blood there,” Troiano said, adding that the dispute stemmed from differences of opinion regarding Troiano and the city’s former mayor, Gary DeMarzo.

“This is old news,” Troiano added.

Tami LoMonaco, deputy court administrator in Wildwood, told the Leader Tuesday that the matter was transferred to Stone Harbor municipal court and the two men planned to go into mediation.

Stone Harbor court officials said the matter is being scheduled.

Email Christie Rotondo at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or comment on this story at thewildwoodleader.com. 


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