Monday, November 29, 2010

Let the Sunshine In

Anyone got $10 million they can send me?  Sheriff Deborah Trout, Under Sheriff Michael Russo, Former Sheriff’s investigator John Falat Jr., former Democrat Councilman in Lebanon Borough, former Flemington police officer and former candidate for freeholder Christopher Foley, New York City dentist Douglas King, and a New York City resident Serena Dean, a stem cell research scientist, are all suing me Freeholders Holt, Melick, Mennen and Sworen, Assemblyman Erik Peterson, former Prosecutor J. Patrick Barnes, Administrator Cindy Yard, County Counsel Gaetano De Sapio, and other yet to be named John and Jane Does for $10,000,000.

They claim an “ongoing pattern and practice of violation of State and Federal laws.”  They allege that there was if not a conspiracy a concurrent effort to besmirch them and their associates.  Trout, Russo and Fallat were indicted by Barnes’ office in April.  Those indictments were later tossed unceremoniously and Trout claimed that action vindicated her and her friends.

Not so fast says William McGovern.  Reported in the Hunterdon County Democrat, “McGovern claims that representatives of the Attorney General’s Office and the criminal justice division, “formulated a plan to dismiss the indictments, and force the removal… of certain individuals associated with the investigation and/or prosecution,” of the case.  He basically claims this is part of a grand cover up foreshadowed by Undersheriff Russo’s claim that this would all go away.

In short all of these individuals filing tort claims want the same thing.  They want to know as Ray Donavan stated "Which office do I go to get my reputation back?"  Ray Donovan, secretary of labor under President Reagan, was indicted but subsequently acquitted of charges that he defrauded the New York City Transit Authority of millions.  Mr. Donovan is part owner of Fiddler’s Elbow so I am sure he is doing fine now and given the fame of his quote, I hope his reputation has been restored. 

My answer is to all of this is to make all of the documents related to this open to anyone who wants to see them.  Allow the Hunterdon County Democrat, Lambertville Beacon, the Express-Times, Courier News, Trenton Times, Hunterdon Review, Star Ledger, or better still the New York Times, Wall Street Journal,  for that matter any paper to come and review the documents, emails, anything from the County’s emails, the Sheriff’s emails, the Prosecutors emails, all evidence, court filings, personnel documents, campaign ledgers, anything.

We can put it all in the Historic Courthouse for the public to read them.  Post all of it online for people to access.  We need to close this chapter in Hunterdon history so we can move forward on the larger issues facing us, recession, property taxes, school administration costs, sharing services.

Allow the cleansing light of sunshine to straighten this whole thing out.