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Wife of Judge who signed nominating petition loses

Rockaway petition challenge triggered Grossi legal woes

By David Wildstein, June 06 2018 1:17 pm

Two incumbents on the Rockaway Township Republican County Committee who were allowed to remain on the ballot even though a Superior Court Judge ruled that their nominating petitions did not comply with state election law were lost their seats anyway on Tuesday.

Ingrid Sceusi lost her seat to Gretchen Tramontin-Clegg by just one vote, 75 to 74, and challenger Damiano Servido unseated incumbent Joseph Jackson by 12 votes, 56 to 44.

Sceusi is the wife of Superior Court Judge Louis Sceusi, a former Rockaway Township mayor.  An ethics complaint has been filed against Judge Sceusi after signing his wife’s petitions.  The complaint alleges that judges are not permitted to endorse candidates and signing a petition – even for a family member – constitutes an endorsement.

Council President Jeremy Jedynak was re-elected to his county committee seat by a 78 to 72 vote against Sean Conolly.  Connolly’s petition had also been the subject of a legal challenge.

Vincent La Iacona III, who had brought the suit alleging that some candidates did not have enough valid signatures on their petition, lost his bid for a county committee seat.  Ray Tahan, the president of the Rockaway Township Republican Club, defeated him, 55 to 34.

In April, Superior Court Judge Ernest Caposela ruled that Morris County Clerk Ann Grossi did not understand state election law when he improperly informed municipal clerks that all Republican county committee candidates required five signatures on their petitions.  Caposela called Grossi’s instructions “illegal” and banned the practice going forward.  But Caposela ruled that the candidates had relied on the clerk’s instructions in good faith and allowed them to remain on the ballot.

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