Township intimidated by threats

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Listening to the Administrator’s Report of March 20 by Jim Doherty of Wantage Township it appears Mr. Doherty and I have something in common. Neither one of us is “impressed or intimidated by threats." Mr. Doherty offered his opinion of the chain of events leading to some of the decisions made by township governing bodies going back 7 years concerning FOLN & their privately owned dam.

Perhaps Mr. Doherty is not impressed or intimidated by threats, but Wantage Township is. In Township meetings going back as far as 2007, there is indication of private meetings between Wantage and FOLN. At these meetings was one township official because, due to Sunshine laws, more than one elected official present constitutes a meeting that would need to be made public. Mr. Doherty was present at these meetings and I believe there were at least 5-6 of them, perhaps more. These meetings were where this “scheme” was hatched.

Included in the highlights of Doherty’s report is the statement he would be right there with the governing body and do exactly as they have done. He was all along. Doherty stated how all three gentlemen promised they would do what is right for Wantage and were sworn to uphold the laws of the State of New Jersey.

I hardly believe use of N.J. State Statutes to assess people for repairs to private property are a part of any N.J. law much less United States laws and democracy. Everything I’ve learned from the 12 attorneys I’ve consulted over this situation shows this is unconstitutional. It is neither legal nor right and the choice should have been easy for all those sworn to office, they had every right to say “no” and they should not have felt intimidated or threatened.

Talking about negotiations, one statement by Mr. Doherty is correct; the judge would side with FOLN. That was the first hearing of May 2010. Wantage always and conveniently leaves out the Reconsideration of July 23, 2010, when Judge Bozonelis amended his ruling. Jim, remember the OLS letter Michael Garofalo finally presented to the court showing Wantage was not obligated to sign the loan? Remember the Boy Scout loan situation? Judge Bozonelis stated only “cooperation” was needed and said FOLN could be assessed up to 90 percent of the loan. The issue is Wantage knew FOLN would walk away and Wantage would then have to take ownership of the lake which was exactly what Wantage did not want. Instead of the legal appeal the R-2 Zone deserved, a carefully crafted Consent Order & co-borrower agreement was written and the R-2 Zone became the scapegoat for Wantage’s woes and mistakes. Signing the loan is not the law and Wantage knows this.

Doherty asked the question, “what would you do if you were sitting up there?” I would immediately terminate Township Attorney Michael Garofalo, sue Laddey, Clark & Ryan and hire a young, ambitious, and hungry attorney that wants to win. Then I would start recall petitions and let that democracy you mentioned decide who should stay and who should go from the Wantage Committee, replacing them with people not affiliated with the Sussex County political “machine”.

You asked a question, now you have an answer.

Kathleen Gorman

Wantage Township

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