Paterson Top Stories

City To Hire Forensic Accountant To Review Legal Bills


PATERSON, NJ – City officials are in the process of hiring a forensic accountant to audit some of the legal bills submitted by an attorney who represented Paterson police officers in civil and criminal cases.

At issue are requests by attorney Patrick Caserta for a total of more than $50,000 in payments submitted on Jan., 26 2012 and March 14, 2012.

“Those bills have been sent to the Administration for an audit,’’ City Corporation Counsel Paul Forsman said in a July 11 letter to Superior Court Judge Philip Mizzone. “Without that audit, it is impossible to tell if any payments have been made at any time against those bills. It appears that these assignments may date back to the period of 2008 to 2010.’’

Sign Up for E-News obtained the letter through a New Jersey Open Public Records Act request. In a subsequent interview, Forsman said the city was looking to hire a forensic account to do the audit and had received permission from the state Department of Community Affairs to do so.

Mizzone is the judge handling a civil lawsuit between Caserta and his former law firm, Hunziker, Jones & Sweeney, a firm that also includes Forsman’s predecessor as Paterson’s law director, Susan Champion. As part of the settlement of that lawsuit, Caserta is paying the Hunziker firm $75,000 through fees he says are owed to him by the City of Paterson.

In his letter to Mizzone, Forsman raises concerns about the bills submitted by Caserta. In one, instance, Forsman writes, Caserta has billed Paterson for $11,731 on a case for which $7,500 was authorized.

“We have not been presented with a Council resolution approving these expenditures or for permission to exceed authorized limits, if any,’’ Forsman wrote.

But Caserta, who has been representing Paterson police officers for 20 years, said it was common for legal costs to sometimes exceed the amounts originally authorized.

“Paterson can do whatever they need to do,’’ Caserta said. “I don’t quite understand why they need a forensic accountant. But it’s up to them.  They can look at all of my bills with a fine-tooth comb if they want.’’

The review of Caserta’s bills comes as part of another issue that Forsman wants investigated. In a June report to City Council members, Forsman has raised questions about whether Champion was benefiting from legal work her one-time law partner, Caserta, was doing for the city.

Champion has said that there was only a brief period of several months when she was Paterson’s Corporation Counsel between 2002 and 2010 that she and Caserta were members of the same law firm. Moreover, she has pointed out that it was the individual police officers who picked Caserta to represent them, not her.

But Forsman’s report says it was Champion’s responsibility to review the bills submitted by Caserta before they were paid.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Mon, May 28, 1:00 PM

Roberto Clemente Park, Paterson

Memorial Day Celebration

Arts & Entertainment


Sat, June 2, 8:30 AM

LaNeves Restaurant, Haledon

2018 Parent Conference & Breakfast


Free Archery Classes

May 24, 2018

Archery is one of the world's oldest sports, and you can enjoy free classes hosted by the Passaic County Board of Chosen Freeholders and Rutgers 4-H Cooperative Extension of Passaic County. From 2pm-4pm on June 2nd, June 16th, July 7th, and July 21st, people of all ages are welcome to take free archery classes at the Great Meadow in Garret Mountain Reservation, located at 8 Mountain Ave ...

Free Yoga and Fitness Classes

You don't need a gym membership to get fit and exercise. Passaic County is making an effort to make our citizens healthier and happier by sponsoring free fitness training and yoga classes on our park system.

Goffle Brook Park features an outdoor fitness circuit available to anyone. Get classes from trained professionals on how to use our equipment, and use those lessons all year ...

TAPinto Featured Franchisee: Steve Lenox of TAPinto Paterson

This week's feature will focus on TAPinto Paterson's franchisee, Steve Lenox. Find out how the current owner of a public affairs firm went from a former State Director for Senator Frank Lautenberg to a proud TAPinto franchisee for New Jersey's third largest city.


Q. When did you join

I joined in September, ...

Who Let the Dogs Out? Passaic County K-9 Unit Wows Children and Seniors

May 24, 2018

TOTOWA, NJ- With schoolchildren, senior citizens, and law enforcement all in one room any politician would have been thrilled to take part in Thursday’s cross generational event in Totowa that featured a reading of children’s book “Roscoe the K-9 Cop,” authored by Kristen Sondej, and several members of the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department’s K-9 ...

Vehicular Homicide Charges for Driver of Paramus School Bus

May 24, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - The driver of a school bus involved in a crash on Route 80 last week that killed two people faces two counts of second-degree vehicular homicide/death by auto, it was announced today.

The driver, Hudy Muldrow, 77, of Woodland Park, attempted to make an illegal U-Turn on the highway in an attempt to find his way to Waterloo Village, the planned destination of the bus that was ...

Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver Testimony on Proposal to Divert Affordable Housing Funds

PATERSON, NJ- TAPinto Paterson earlier reported on the response of local community leaders and activists on a proposal by Governor Phil Murphy to divert $46 million from the Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) which they wrote in a letter signed by representatives of over 100 groups statewide is “legally dedicated to the creation of affordable homes for lower income ...

The Elections are Over, Now it's Time to Collaborate!

May 21, 2018

For much of the past six months Paterson’s focus has been on the races for mayor and council, and rightly so. The elected officials that serve the nearly 150,000 residents of our city have an enormous responsibility, their actions dictating not just success of our community, but the way our City is perceived.

The election is now behind us, and we congratulate all who took part in the ...