New Jersey Libertarian Party Open Government Advocacy Project: Jilted Officer got $75K and attoney seeks $400K more
Dear Ms. Bileci:
Please accept this e-mail as my request for government records in accordance with the Open Public Records Act (OPRA) and the common law right of access. Please respond and send all responsive documents to me via e-mail at email@example.com. If e-mail is not possible, please fax responses and responsive records to me at 908-325-0129. Also, I would appreciate it if you would acknowledge your receipt of this e-mail.
On February 16, 2011, Washington Township (Gloucester County), through its attorney, A. Michael Barker, offered Ernest M. D'Orazio, III $75,000 in exchange for D'Orazio dismissing his federal lawsuit against the Township and various police officials. Further research revealed that D'Orazio accepted the $75,000 but that it was stipulated that his attorney could still request that the Court order Washington to pay the legal fees and costs--in addition to the $75,000--that D'Orazio incurred during his lawsuit and the police disciplinary matter that precipitated the lawsuit (i.e. briefly--please see the filed court documents for more detail--D'Orazio was a Special Officer who was internally charged by police with revealing an upcoming drug bust to a target of the drug bust. In 2007, a judge who heard the disciplinary cases didn't sustain the charge and recommended that D'Orazio get his back wages, etc. On March 11, 2009, the Washington Township Council rejected the judge's recommendation, thus leading to D'Orazio's civil suit.)
I have recently reviewed D'Orazio's attorney's fee claim and learned that D'Orazio's lawyer--Jacqueline M. Vigilante of Mullica Hill--is seeking an order requiring Washington Township taxpayers (or their insurer) to pay her $398,621 in fees and costs for having represented D'Orazio. The hearing on the attorney fee issue should be held soon.
Note: Relevant documents regarding this case are on-line at:
1. Resolution or other written decision by the Township Council that authorized the offer of $75,000 to D'Orazio.
2. The resolution that authorized all Township Council nonpublic (executive or closed) meetings held on or after January 26, 2011.
3. The minutes, redacted as narrowly as possible, for all Township Council nonpublic (executive or closed) meetings held on or after January 26, 2011.
4. Minutes of all Township Council meetings, public or nonpublic, held on March 11, 2009.
John Paff, Chairman
New Jersey Libertarian Party's
Open Government Advocacy Project.
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