Government

New Brunswick City Council Approves Some Increased Legal Fees

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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - The New Brunswick City Council was met with a busy night Wednesday as it had 33 resolutions to approve, including increasing the amounts of some contracts.

Thirty-two resolutions were unanimously approved. You can see the video of the meeting by clicking here.

The lone failure was resolution R-111617, which was to pay additional legal fees in the amount of $3,740 to Benedict & Altman, a local attorney firm.

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According to the resolution, that would have increased legal fees for Police Director Anthony Caputo in the case of Steven Middleton vs. the City of New Brunswick.

Vice President, Glenn Fleming chose to abstain from that resolution.

“Those (fees) are related to an ongoing case,” said Jennifer Bradshaw,  New Brunswick public information officer. “It is regarding one of our police officers, who filed a suit against the city. That is a continued payment of the bill because the case is still going. It has been for a while, so that is just the payment of the legal fees that we have so far. We don’t comment on pending litigations, so I can’t provide more details of the case.”

In regards to items 23 and 28 on the agenda, which approved an increase of payments regarding legal fees for the Marvec Construction Corporation litigation, were met with some questioning from the public over the large amounts certain legal fees.

The first resolution increased fees to the DePalma Law Firm, LLC from $155,239.91 to $194,978.71, an increase of $39,738.80, according to the resolution.

The second item paid an additional $13,917.63 to Warren Pro, LLC for professional engineering services as an expert witness in the litigation, increasing the total contract from $42,358.84 to $56,276.47, according to the resolution.

“Five or six years ago, Marvec (Marvec Construction Corp.) worked a little bit on the Rumson Avenue project,” City Administrator Thomas A. Loughlin III said. “The full extent of their work was mobilizing and setting up a construction office. We got into disputes about the amount of shale that had to be removed, and some disputes about engineering discussions about changing the configuration of the storm sewer. Marvec performed nothing on the job and was asked to leave after repeated attempts to get them to perform under their contract.”

He said they were removed in writing.

Five years later, Marvec submitted a demand for lost profit, and lost opportunities over the job, he said.

“Essentially that’s the suffering of it. It’s critical for us to defend that position,” he said. “Why should they get $1.7 million because they were asked to leave the job for a number of weeks?” he said.

Bradshaw said that case is related to a sanitary sewer project.

“Marvec had filed a suit against the city with regard to the work that they did or did not do," she said. "They are seeking damages, and the city is currently defending against that.”

The next New Brunswick City Council meeting will be held two weeks from tonight on Nov. 16, at City Hall.

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