Government

Parking Authority Attorney Gets $200 Ethics Fine

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Leonard Bier at his ethics board hearing in July Credits: Jack Murtha
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NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — The attorney for the city parking authority was fined for state ethics violations after failing to disclose multiple sources of income.

Leonard Bier, the attorney for the New Brunswick Parking Authority, will be fined $200, according to a video recording by the activist community paper New Brunswick Today, which raised the allegations over a year ago.

The fine was handed down by the New Brunswick Ethics Board in a 5-0 vote at its Sept 18 meeting.

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Bier failed to disclose multiple sources of income on his financial disclosure form, according to New Brunswick Today Editor Charlie Kratovil, who filed the complaint.

“Financial disclosure statements are an important resource for reporters and other citizens to be able to discern if their public officials are susceptible to conflicts of interest,” Kratovil wrote in a July statement. “Failing to file these forms, or omitting items from these forms, can make it much harder to hold officials accountable.”

As per state law, public officials are required to file a form with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission, listing any job titles, sources of income, real estate and public offices currently held.

Bier’s LinkedIn profile lists an array of parking-related positions he held over the past several decades, and several of them held simultaneously.

He is executive director and general counsel for the Rahway Parking Authority, legal counsel for the New Brunswick Parking Authority and a development and parking consultant for the Miami Parking Authority in Florida.

Kratovil also alleged that Bier failed to disclose a $106,611 pension from the state.

In a July 2017 letter responding to Kratovil’s formal complaint, Biers’ attorney, James Burns of the firm Genova Burns, wrote that Biers “did not think that pensions or retirement were a reportable source of income to be listed in the FDS.”

In addition, Bier did not disclose office rental income for a property at 144 Livingston Ave., New Brunswick and condominium rental income for a property in North Bay Village, Florida, the latter of which Bier allegedly did not disclose until 2016, despite purchasing the property in 2006.

Bier also received undisclosed interest income from two businesses, Cheap Eats in Rahway and Yellowbook Properties, a real estate company in Red Bank, Kratovil reported.

Kratovil also filed a complaint against city employee Andrea Eato-White, alleging that she did not file a 2015 financial disclosure form. The board found that she violated state ethics law, but it gave her 30 days to amend her form before issuing a fine.

Another complaint is pending against Anthony Vignuolo, attorney for the Middlesex County and New Brunswick ethics boards, for failing to file any financial disclosure for 2016.

The ethics board retained special counsel Peter Jost to represent all three matters. Earlier this month, the New Brunswick City Council agreed to raise his pay from $7,500 to $8,275.

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