The Union County Board of Freeholders is run by a team that has demonstrated willingness to abuse legal process to silence critics. Their overstep recently cost the taxpayers $39,945.65 in legal expenses. Replace that team with the team of Rene Dierkes, Richard Fortunato and Joseph A. Bonilla.

The story begins with Tina Renna, a frequent critic of the Board. Renna hosted a public access TV show that displayed the Union County Seal with a spotlight shining on it.  The Seal is a public symbol and cannot be trademarked.

But, in the words of the U.S. District Court: “[The] County … sent … cease and desist letters with respect to Renna’s use of the seal. Renna’s counsel replied, stating … that the Seal was not registrable … . Counsel for the County replied with a second letter that very misleadingly implied that the trademark was now registered (in fact it had been rejected). That letter also falsely implied that Renna might face criminal prosecution … . The County’s threats seemingly intimidated the television station, which demanded an agreement of indemnity as a condition to continuing Renna’s program.”

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Whether one likes Renna is not relevant. Litigation is excepted from the Sunshine Law. Behind closed doors there needed to be a watchdog among the Freeholders to stop this overreach - and there wasn’t. The current Democrat Freeholder candidates belong to the all-Democrat team that allowed the threats. The voters of Union County can replace three of them on November 3rd.

Jim Bennett

Summit