Home>Highlight>Lawsuit seeks to oust Penns Grove councilman charged with official misconduct

Former Penns Grove Councilman Carl Washington, Jr. (Photo: New Jersey Globe file photo).

Lawsuit seeks to oust Penns Grove councilman charged with official misconduct

Carol Mincey, Michael Bercute claim Carl Washington Jr. improperly appointed to fill colleague’s vacant seat

By Nikita Biryukov, July 04 2020 2:43 pm

Two members of Penns Grove’s town council want a judge to remove a councilman they say was improperly appointed.

Penns Grove Council President Carol Mincey and Councilman Michael Bercute on Wednesday sued Councilman Carl Washington Jr., former Mayor John Washington and municipal clerk Sharon Williams, claiming the three violated state election law when they appointed Washington Jr. to fill another councilman’s vacant seat.

Washington Jr. was appointed to fill Councilman Rafael Leon’s seat in a special session held on Nov. 14, 2019. Three days after Washington Jr. resigned from his own council seat after losing re-election.

Mincey and Bercute charge the appointment was illegal because it happened more than 30 days after Leon’s Oct. 4, 2019 resignation.

State law requires the municipal committee of the resigning elected official’s party submit a list of three nominees to fill a vacant local seat within 15 days of the vacancy. If they do not do so, the council can fill the seat on its own, but they must do so within 30 days of the vacancy’s start.

Mincey and Bercute are asking that Washington Jr. be removed from the council and forced to return earnings from his council salary made after Nov. 11, 2019.

In December, Washington Jr. with stealing $8,200 from the Clean Communities Program, a state-funded program that cleans parks and other areas.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal claimed Washington Jr., who coordinated the program, created fake checks to organizations controlled by his allies.

He faces charges of official misconduct, conspiracy and misapplication of entrusted property and property of government.

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