SPOTSWOOD, NJ - Newly reinstated Business Administrator Dawn McDonald is at the center of another lawsuit filed against the borough on Monday by Spotswood Police Chief Michael Zarro and Spotswood Police Captain Philip Corbisiero. The lawsuit, which also names the borough and Mayor Ed Seely as defendants, was filed in Middlesex County's Superior Court by Chatham attorney Gina Mendola Longarzo. Longarzo is also representing former Spotswood Emergency Services Director David Nichols in a lawsuit filed against the same parties in December.
Zarro, a South Plainfield resident, began his career with the Spotswood Police Department in 1995 as a patrol officer. He was named chief of police in January of 2014. Corbisiero, who resides in Bayville, first entered the department in 1992. He has been captain since October of 2015.
The lawsuit alleges individual acts of harassment, retaliation and civil rights violations against Zarro and Corbisiero at the hands of the defendants in addition to creating a hostile work environment. Both veteran police officers remain employed by the borough, unlike Nichols who resigned from his position as EMS Director last spring.
According to allegations in the lawsuit Zarro and Corbisiero were subjected to "heightened scrutiny, defamation" and "contractual interference" in addition to harassment and retaliation by McDonald and Seely along with unmentioned borough employees. The lawsuit states that the issues began when the pair refused to "engage in illegal behavior" and their "willingness to report" any alleged illegal behavior to outside authorities.
The 57-page lawsuit includes explicit details including allegations that Seely attempted to force Zarro into dismissing traffic tickets issued to his son and daughter. The lawsuit also alleges that acts of retaliation and harassment by Seely and McDonald increased when Zarro and Corbisiero informed the mayor they intended to file complaints with the Middlesex County Prosecutors Office back in 2018.
The suit is seeking an unspecified amount of monetary damages.