To The Editor:
On May 4th Readington Township received a blistering trial court decision invalidating its condemnation action against Solberg Airport in its entirety based on a finding that the action was brought in “bad faith” and constituted a “manifest abuse of the power of eminent domain.”
Just as significant as the loss itself ($10M will be spent with nothing to show for it) are the factual findings made by the Court as to the truthfulness of our Township Committee members who filed the suit. All of them – Allen, Gatti, Auriemma, Muir and Shamey – were, after more than 40 days of trial testimony and a thorough evidentiary review, found by Judge Armstrong “as a whole, to be un-forthright, evasive, untrustworthy, argumentative, lacking in credibility and therefore unworthy of belief.”
The trial court opinion further identified Julia Allen as the “laboring oar on behalf of Readington Township”, and found her testimony “dispositively lacking in credibility.”
On January 4th, after Allen and Gatti lost by popular vote not one, but two elections, current Township Committee members Duffy, Fort and Auriemma saw fit to appoint Allen to the Planning Board, Sewer Advisory Board (in yet another recent decision adverse to Readington the NJ Supreme Court on May 5, 2015 struck down its stated policy on recapturing sewer allocation), Open Space Committee, and as Readington’s liaison to the Hunterdon County Agricultural Development Board. Committee members Broten and Tropello voted against the appointments.
Moreover, Mayor Fort recently appointed Allen to serve on a subcommittee formed to address affordable housing obligations in view of the March, 2015 NJ Supreme Court decision on the matter (an issue certain to involve future litigation). Such an appointment is inappropriate in light of the court’s decision. These collective boards constitute important planning and policy making boards that have significant financial and legal implications for our township.
Given the undeniable court findings that Allen has not been credible or trustworthy in dealings with the public or with the Court in the $10M Solberg litigation, I find it offensive that she continues to serve on key policy and decision making bodies in our township.
We will be formally requesting at the next Township Committee meeting that Duffy, Fort and Auriemma rescind their earlier decision, and remove Allen from her appointed positions on the various township boards and committees, as common sense would dictate. Committee members have been advised that this request is coming.
If Duffy, Fort and Auriemma refuse to do so, residents and taxpayers must assume that they condone having an individual with a court proven record of deception in a case that has cost us millions of dollars, maintain key positions within our township’s government.
Readington residents, if you believe as we do that following the recent Court decision finding Julia Allen to have been untrustworthy, she should be removed from serving on these boards and committees, please join us in this effort so that we can remove her once and for all and restore honesty and integrity to our local government. Further, please join us in voting against Allen’s chosen successors, and join the concerned citizens of Readington in VOTING for LELAH & LYONS in the upcoming primary election on June 2nd.