NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The city council approved the latest legal bills during their December 20 meeting, for three separate lawsuits involving the police department.

In total, $5,889 in legal expenses were approved that evening, spanning three separate cases; one that had been tossed by a judge, one that had been settled just as it was going to trial and another ​that is still ongoing.

One of the cases, filed by now-former police lieutenant Steve Middleton, was settled in late November for $172,000, to the ​vocal ​disapproval of city officials.

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The December 20 resolution authorized $1,700 to be paid towards the legal defense of Mayor James Cahill in the case, represented by Timothy Donohue of the Arleo & Donohue law firm.

Donohue has been representing Cahill for “punitive damages claims” only, and so far, his legal bill ha​s​ been $244,050, according to the resolution.

The $1,700 covers services that Donohue rendered between October 4 and 26, according to the resolution.

Middleton, who filed the suit in 2012, alleged that he was subjected to years of racial harassment by his superiors, and that he was often passed over for promotions as a result of being African American.

That suit was filed against New Brunswick Police Director Anthony Caputo, Cahill, former Police Director Peter Mangarella and the city itself. By the time the suit was settled, the city was left as the sole defendant.

Cahill argued that the city was continually hounded by economic woes during the time period that Middleton was pushing for his promotion, saying that 71 full-time staff were laid off between 2007 and 2010.

“A claim that someone was not promoted fast enough as we managed finances during the biggest national economic decline since the Great Depression is simply wrong and without any basis in fact,” Cahill said, in response to a claim by Middleton that he was not promoted to lieutenant in time to sit for the captain’s test.

The second legal bill approved at the meeting was $3,475 in an ongoing case filed by three police officers, Arthur Anderson, Maurice Finney and Tony Ingram, in 2012.

The latest legal bill covers services rendered by Adams between November 3 and 30, 2017.

Those three officers, all African American, alleged that they were being punished for not supporting a so-called “political machine” by Cahill, who has been listed in the suit along with Caputo and Thomas Loughlin III, the city’s business administrator.

The December 20 resolution approved the legal bill for Christopher D. Adams of the Adams Buchan & Palo law firm, who has been representing Loughlin in the case.

Adams has been representing Loughin for “punitive damages claims” only, and so far, his legal bill has been $39,883.47, according to the resolution.

Loughlin, along with the city's legal defense in the Middleton case, have maintained that the Anderson case dealt with employment issues, while the Middleton case dealt with racial discrimination.

This was in response to Middleton, who during the trial, repeatedly bringing up allegations of racial slurs used against the three officers. 

Yet a first amendment to Anderson's suit alleges that on or about November 4, 2012, then-sergeant John Langan called Anderson the n-word, during the city's Superstorm Sandy recovery effort. 

The legal bill for a third suit was approved at the city council meeting, ​totaling ​$714 for the defense of city police officer Henry Gliottone, in “punitive damage claims only.” 

Glittone, along with officers Kevin Conway and Vincent Monaghan, were listed as the defendants in a wrongful arrest case filed by area resident Willie Jarvis.

Jarvis alleged that he was subject to false arrest, false imprisonment, wrongful detention, violation of his Fourth Amendment rights and failure to be brought before a neutral magistrate for a probable cause determination.

But the allegations, which had been brought before the US District Court of New Jersey, were tossed by a judge on November 14, 2017.

Jarvis has been held at Northern State Prison in Newark since November 14, 2014, according to NJ Department of Corrections records, and could spend up to 16 years for an array of offenses.

Wednesday's resolution approved the final legal bill for Glittonne’s representation by lawyer Lawrence Bitterman, for a total of $4,207.50, for services rendered between January 4 2016 and November 22, 2017.

Editor Daniel J. Munoz,