The Rockaway Township Council voted Tuesday night to investigate their township attorney and business administrator for insubordination and possible theft of services after they became involved in private litigation even though the council told them not to.
The issue at hand is a suit against Mayor Michael Dachisen and Councilman John Quinn for taking taxpayer-funded health insurance without authorization. The council says that township attorney John Iaciofano and business administrator Adam Brewer were not authorized to take a position on the matter.
Iaciofano did not respond to a call seeking comment.
Iaciofano’s law partner, Carl Perrone, appeared in Superior Court last week in support of his amicus brief.
The governing body says they’re concerned that if Iaciofano & Perrone, Dachisen and Brewer are found to have “conspired to spend taxpayer monies on the personal legal defense of Mayor Dachisen and Councilman Quinn, that a crime, including but not limited to theft of services.”
The Republican majority on the council has created a bi-partisan committee to investigate and has brought in a Democratic lawyer to serve as special counsel. Vijayant Pawer was the Democratic candidate for Congress against Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-Harding) in 2002 and is the town attorney in Morristown.
Council President Jeremy Jedynak is arguing that since Dachisen has a personal interest in the case, he is conflicted out of authorizing Iaciofano to support him. Judge Ernest Caposela had denied a previous motion to intervene.
“It is a waste of taxpayer money for the Township Attorney to be paid to file briefs and appear in court to argue in this case, to which the Township is not a party,” Jedynak said. “The Township Attorney should be seeking ways to avoid litigation, rather than attempting to enter the Township into litigation. Once again, the Township Attorney appears to be acting in the personal interest of Mayor Dachisen rather than in the interest of the Township.”
“The Town attorney is there for the town’s interest, since the Town provided the insurance. They know this, they were told this several times and was how the Town attorney represented it in the court room,” the mayor wrote in a Facebook post.
Jedynak says that “the council has a responsibility to investigate any potential corruption that would rot the integrity of our local government and cannot permit anyone to abuse power for personal benefit.”Rockaway R-18-97_Investigation_of_Township_Attorney_and_Business_Administrator (002)