Saturday, November 22, 2014

Change of venue sought in Edison mayor's ethics case. Still, Edison Ethics Board to meet on December 2nd.

In a November 3, 2014 letter (on-line here), a local lawyer urged the New Jersey Local Finance Board to take jurisdiction over an ethics complaint filed against Edison Mayor Thomas Lankey.  In his complaint (on-line here), Somerset resident John Paff, who chairs the New Jersey Libertarian Party's Open Government Advocacy Project, claimed that the mayor may have acted unethically by using the Township lawyer's free legal services to represent him on a traffic violation.

In his letter, attorney Christian R. Mastondrea of the Edison law firm of Eichen, Crutchlow, Zaslow & McElroy LLP, does not explicitly say that he is representing Mayor Lankey.  He states, however, that Mayor Lankey "has relationships with a number of the individuals who are on [Edison's local ethics] board and played a role in appointing some of them."  Accordingly, Mastondrea argued, "there would be a conflict of interest by having him appear before a board whose decision could be question based upon their partiality."

In a November 21, 2014 e-mail to Paff (on-line here), Edison Ethics Board Secretary Michelle Kasperski referred to Mastondrea as "the Mayor’s attorney" and said that the "Edison Ethics Board does not believe that [the complaint] should be moved as we are an established Commission."  According to Kasperski's e-mail, the Board will meet on the 3rd Floor of the Edison Municipal Complex at 7 p.m.on Tuesday, December 2, 2014 "to discuss whether the Board will pursue the matter further or not."