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Attorney Matthew O'Donnell, the state's cooperating witness in a public corruption sting operation.

West Caldwell sidesteps O’Donnell reappointment

Tempesta holds tax appeal attorney, public defender jobs occupied by O’Donnell at reorganization meeting

By David Wildstein, January 01 2020 1:22 pm

West Caldwell pulled the reappointment of Matthew O’Donnell from their reorganization agenda today, moving forward on all legal posts except the two that O’Donnell held: tax appeal counsel and municipal public defender.

Mayor Joseph Tempesta, a Republican, has received thousands in campaign contributions from straw donors directly connected to O’Donnell, a Morristown attorney who has been identified as the cooperating witness in a sting operation that has led to bribery charges against five former elected officials and candidates.

No charges have been filed against O’Donnell.

Since the posts remain unfilled, West Caldwell officials still have the option of hiring O’Donnell at a future meeting.

In East Hanover, where Tempesta is the township administrator, an agenda for this week’s reorganization meeting includes the reappointment of O’Donnell as municipal attorney. 

O’Donnell-connected straw donors have also contributed thousands to Democratic candidates who control the governing body in East Hanover.

Officials in six other municipalities and in Monmouth County have indicated that they are removing O’Donnell’s firm, O’Donnell McCord, as the tax appeals counsel.

Mount Arlington Mayor Michael Stanzilis told the New Jersey Globe that he has not decided if O’Donnell will be reappointed as municipal attorney

Among those charged by state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal was John Windish, a former Mount Arlington councilman,

In a criminal complaint against Windish, Grewal alleges that the state has a tape of O’Donnell offering a $7,000 cash bribe in exchange for the councilman’s support of his reappointment as municipal attorney.

West Caldwell Minutes 2020

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