Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hunterdon municipal prosecutor charged in ethics case.



The prosecutor for two Hunterdon County municipalities is fighting charges that she improperly allowed the dismissal of a speeding ticket received by an employee of a business owned by the prosecutor and her husband.  According to Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE) filings, the vehicle the employee was driving at the time he was issued the summons was owned by the prosecutor's and her husband's business.

According to the OAE's October 10, 2013 complaint (on-line here), Mary Rose Mott of Kingwood Township owns, along with her husband, Kocsis Farms, LLC on Route 519 in that Township.  Mott also maintains her law office there.  Mott served, and still serves (click here) as Municipal Court Prosecutor for the Borough of Frenchtown and, according to Mott's October 15, 2012 statement, as prosecutor for Kingwood and assistant prosecutor for Flemington Borough.

According to the complaint, a Kocsis Farms employee, Thomas Spork, received a speeding ticket on January 20, 2012 from Frenchtown Police Officer Harold Johnson.  (Johnson, according to a Independent Press article, was fired on August 1, 2012).

The ethics complaint charges that Mott, authorized dismissal of the summons by falsely advising Judge Joseph Novak, who presided over the Joint Municipal Court to which Frenchtown belongs, that there was a "problem with discovery" even though discovery was not an issue in the case.  She is also charged with failing to inform Judge Novak that Spork worked for Kocsis Farms and that he was driving a Kocsis Farms vehicle when the summons was issued.  The complaint further charges Mott with lying to OAE investigators during an October 15, 2012 interview and interfering with both the ethics investigation and a parallel investigation involving the Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office.

Also mentioned in the complaint is Frenchtown Officer David Voll's May 12, 2011 traffic stop of Daniel Rosenthal, who Mott refers to as her "good friend" who is "of the New York Times Rosenthals."  During the stop, Voll asked Rosenthal who he was calling on his cell phone to which Rosenthal allegedly responded "I'm talking to my good friend Mary Mott."  Rosenthal was later able to downgrade his charge from a "38 in a 15" to a "29 in a 15" in the Court where Mott was prosecutor thus reducing the number of points assessed against his license.  According to the complaint, "the same courtesies and favorable treatment would not be accorded in the Joint Municipal Court for a similarly-situated driver, who, having been issued a speeding ticket for having done 38 in a 15 MPH zone . . . did not have [Mott's] phone number to call her from the side of the road during a traffic stop."

Mott, during her October 15, 2012 interview with OAE Investigator Isabel McGinty said that she suspected that her ethics charge was a "setup" orchestrated by Frenchtown Police Chief Allan Kurylka.  Mott claimed that Kurylka was "pissed off" at her for transferring something known as the "Figler case" from the Joint Municipal Court to which Frenchtown belong because Kurylka wanted "to keep control of this case."  Elsewhere in the interview, she referred to the Chief as a "lying son of a bitch."

The documents in this case, which are voluminous, are on-line at the following links:

October 15, 2012 Interview transcript Segment 1 and Segment 2.

Complaint exhibits Segments, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8.