Other NJ News

TAPinto Sues Flem-Rar Schools for Legal Bills in Ethics Complaints

58ce3abb99c6f7244b80_comegno_sample_bill.jpg
This heavily redacted bill was chosen at random, and is typical of Flemington-Raritan School District's response to TAPinto's request for copies of its legal bills. Credits: Stephanie Voorhees / Flemington-Raritan School District
4aba8497cf326a01edbf_stephanie_voorhees.JPG
Flemington-Raritan School District Business Administrator Stephanie Voorhees Credits: Curtis Leeds / TAPinto Flemington-Raritan file photo
58ce3abb99c6f7244b80_comegno_sample_bill.jpg

Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series about the Flemington-Raritan School District’s legal bills.

FLEMINGTON, NJ – As the outcome of an ethics complaint against one of its board members awaits resolution, TAPinto Flemington has sued the Flemington-Raritan School District to discover how much it has spent defending her.

The suit was filed in Superior Court this week.

Sign Up for E-News

The ethics complaint against Anna Fallon was filed with the state School Ethics Commission by resident Mitchelle Drulis in June last year. It alleges that Fallon failed to disclose that her husband, Thomas G. Fallon, has a “business interest in Asset and Wealth Management Group, LLC, of which he is co-managing partner.”

The failure to disclose “creates a justifiable impression that the public trust is being violated,” the complaint states. “Mr. Fallon’s business is investment banking and Ms. Fallon has continued to vote on issues involving the school budget, and bonds.”

The suit, filed on behalf of TAPinto Flemington by CJ Griffin of the Hackensack-based law firm Pashman Stein, also seeks to discover how much the school board spent on an ethics complaint eight of its members filed against then-board member Alan Brewer.

While the board is representing Fallon in the ethics complaint against her, the school board refused to pay for Brewer’s defense. That led Brewer to sue for reimbursement of the $10,000 in legal fees he spent defending himself against the eight board members. The board members eventually withdrew their unproven complaint against Brewer, and the district reimbursed Brewer last month, as TAPinto reported yesterday.

Prior to filing the suit, TAPinto Flemington filed under the state’s Open Public Records Act for copies of all the district’s legal bills through November of last year.

In response to the request, school district Business Administrator Stephanie Voorhees provided copies of bills from Comegno Law Group of Moorestown totaling more than $122,000. Voorhees is also the district’s Custodian of Records and is named in the suit.

But, according to the suit, the bills “were heavily redacted so that every time entry contained redactions to the names of every person the attorneys spoke to, wrote to, or e-mailed, and redactions to every type of document that the attorneys reviewed, drafted, or revised ... For example, every single time there is a communication with someone, the name is redacted.”

As a result, it is not possible to “determine what matters the firm was working on, or whether the time billed for each entry was reasonable,” the suit states, and is in violation of state records rules.

The suit asks that the court compel the school district to provide it with un-redacted copies of the bills for review, and to require the district to explain “why each redaction is lawful.”

Sign Up for E-News to get top stories delivered daily to your inbox. 

Download the FREE TAPinto App!  Click here for Android - Click here for iOS to get news as it is happening.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Franklin Township

Franklin Township: Tips for a Stress-Free Tax Season

February 22, 2018

Earlier is better when it comes to working on your taxes but many people find preparing their tax return to be stressful and frustrating. Fortunately, it doesn't have to be. Here are six tips for a stress-free tax season.

Don't Procrastinate. Resist the temptation to put off your taxes until the very last minute. Your haste to meet the filing deadline may cause you to overlook ...

Following Florida Massacre, EB Schools Add Armed Officers to Security

February 17, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - At a meeting Thursday night, the East Brunswick board of Education unanimously approved a resolution to engage the East Brunswick Police department to place armed police officers at each school building in the district throughout the entire school day.  

In a report released by superintendent Victor Valeski yesterday, township officials asserted that the move ...

Bernards Police Locate Body of Township Teen in Wooded Area

BERNARDS TWP., NJ -  Bernards Township Police announced late Thursday afternoon that the body of a 19-year-old township resident, Lydia Comtois, had been located in a wooded area of Liberty Corner following a search by personnel and volunteers from numerous public safety organizations. 

A preliminary investigation indicated the young woman's death was not deemed to ...

Filthy, dangerous conditions, theft and assault alleged at recently-opened Newark shelter

Newark, NJ—Antoinette Jackson, Sonya Webb and Andrea Eaddy sit in a McDonald’s on a cold winter morning, not far from the homeless shelter they currently call home.

During the day, they count on places like McDonald's to stay warm. They must leave the shelter at 7 a.m. and can only return after 4 p.m., even when temperatures drop below freezing.

When the ...

Following Florida Massacre, EB Schools Add Armed Officers to Security

February 17, 2018

EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - At a meeting Thursday night, the East Brunswick board of Education unanimously approved a resolution to engage the East Brunswick Police department to place armed police officers at each school building in the district throughout the entire school day.  

In a report released by superintendent Victor Valeski yesterday, township officials asserted that the move ...

Bernards Police Locate Body of Township Teen in Wooded Area

BERNARDS TWP., NJ -  Bernards Township Police announced late Thursday afternoon that the body of a 19-year-old township resident, Lydia Comtois, had been located in a wooded area of Liberty Corner following a search by personnel and volunteers from numerous public safety organizations. 

A preliminary investigation indicated the young woman's death was not deemed to ...

Filthy, dangerous conditions, theft and assault alleged at recently-opened Newark shelter

Newark, NJ—Antoinette Jackson, Sonya Webb and Andrea Eaddy sit in a McDonald’s on a cold winter morning, not far from the homeless shelter they currently call home.

During the day, they count on places like McDonald's to stay warm. They must leave the shelter at 7 a.m. and can only return after 4 p.m., even when temperatures drop below freezing.

When the ...

Somerville Merchants Endorse Plan to Reduce Parking Lot Fees

February 21, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Borough’s controversial parking fees are set to undergo another revision, with hourly parking reduced from 75 to 50 cents in municipal lots 1,2,4 and 6, according to a merchant-driven plan endorsed by Mayor Ellen Brain.

The $1 hourly rate for parking on Main Street will remain the same, according to the mayor.

The hours of enforcement will also be changed to ...

Whole Foods in Bridgewater to Officially Open Doors March 21

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Whole Foods Market Bridgewater, the first Somerset County location for the retailer, will officially open its doors on Chimney Rock Road March 21.

According to a release from the company, the 49,000-square-foot store will open at 9 a.m., and there will be prize giveaways, special sales and product demonstrations and samples.

"We can't wait to serve Bridgewater and ...

Somerville Grieves Over Death of Jerome Gonzalez, a Modern-Day Renaissance Man

 

SOMERVILLE, NJ - Jerome Luiz Gonzalez, a devoted father, artist, author and the heart and soul of the burgeoning downtown arts community, died early Saturday morning, Feb. 17 pursuing another one of his passions, competing in an endurance race in North Carolina.

A 1992 graduate of Somerville High School and a resident of Bridgewater, he was 44.

The obituary provided by Cusick ...

Somerville Merchants Endorse Plan to Reduce Parking Lot Fees

February 21, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Borough’s controversial parking fees are set to undergo another revision, with hourly parking reduced from 75 to 50 cents in municipal lots 1,2,4 and 6, according to a merchant-driven plan endorsed by Mayor Ellen Brain.

The $1 hourly rate for parking on Main Street will remain the same, according to the mayor.

The hours of enforcement will also be changed to ...

Whole Foods in Bridgewater to Officially Open Doors March 21

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Whole Foods Market Bridgewater, the first Somerset County location for the retailer, will officially open its doors on Chimney Rock Road March 21.

According to a release from the company, the 49,000-square-foot store will open at 9 a.m., and there will be prize giveaways, special sales and product demonstrations and samples.

"We can't wait to serve Bridgewater and ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

AtlantiCast Medical Minute: Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center

On this episode of the AtlantiCast Medical Minute, we’ll take you inside the Atlantic Orthopedic Institute’s Scoliosis and Spinal Deformity Center, with the center’s director, Jason Lowenstein, MD.

Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1M7euCp86-c

AtlantiCast Episode 011

Breaking Atlantic Health System news on this week’s AtlantiCast! Plus, find out why Morristown Medical Center is one of the best hospitals in the nation when it comes to recovering from joint surgery, see the newest center for fighting brain cancer and an Atlantic Health System red-carpet premiere!