Home>Campaigns>McCormick, Devine plead not guilty on harassment, zoning violation charges

Lisa McCormick, left, and Jim Devine.

McCormick, Devine plead not guilty on harassment, zoning violation charges

Judge gives alleged Covid squatters two weeks to tell them if they need a public defender

By David Wildstein, May 12 2021 10:07 am

Shadowy perennial candidate Lisa McCormick and her controversial  life partner, James Devine, entered a not guilty plea today in West Amwell Municipal Court on multiple charges of trespassing and harassment.

At the same, time, the township’s construction code official has issued summons to McCormick and Devine for failure to obtain a certificate of occupancy and failing to comply with violation notices connected to a West Amwell house they purchased in August 2019 for $52,000.

McCormick was most recently a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor, but she was  tossed from the ballot after a judge found that all the signatures on her nominating petition were fraudulent.

Municipal Court Judge Francesco Taddeo is offering time for McCormick and Devine to get an attorney, but said he’d like to know in two weeks if the alleged Covid Squatters need a public defender.

A local woman left the two rent part of her home and is now trying to evict them.

The woman is currently involved in landlord-tenant dispute with McCormick and Devine.  She says they stopped paying her rent in June 2020, saying that Devine claimed Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order prohibited her from evicting the two during the coronavirus pandemic. They owe about $15,000 in back rent, she said.

According to the former landlord, McCormick and Devine moved out in March but continue to enter the premises.

As a result of her efforts to evict the two, the woman said she has been subject to verbal harassment and threatening text messages from Devine.

During a court hearing last month on the legitimacy of McCormick’s nominating petitions, Devine sent an email to Administrative Law Judge Jeffrey Rabin stating that he was locked out of his home by his landlord.

At the time, the former landlord said, McCormick and Devine had not lived in her home for more than a month.

Philip Rosso, the West Amwell construction code official, alleged in municipal court summonses that the 118 Skillman Street home was being used by McCormick and Devine without a certificate of occupancy, in violation to local building codes.

Records show that the 1,248-square foot home was a Fannie Mae Home Equity Conversion Mortgage property that was available following a foreclosure and that the buyer was responsible for obtaining a certificate of occupancy.

By claiming the former landlord’s home as their residence, McCormick and Devine appear to avoid claims that they are living in their own home illegally.

McCormick and Devine’s claim of tenancy contradict nominating petitions that claim their Skillman Street home as their residence.  The two also registered to vote using the Skillman Street address.

Local tax records list the Skillman Street home as their primary residence, not as absentee owners.

Finances for McCormick and Devine are fuzzy.  McCormick failed to file personal financial disclosures when she ran in Democratic primaries for U.S. Senate in 2018 and Congress in 2020.

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