PolitickerNJ Wire Feed

By Thom | October 28th, 2010 - 5:08pm
| More

 

 

Paterson, NJ -- A sergeant in the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department filed suit Tuesday against the Acting Sheriff Charles Meyer alleging that he interfered with  an internal investigation to determine if Meyer had committed voter fraud by attempting to falsify his address in order to register and vote for Democratic Sheriff candidate Richard Berdnick in the upcoming November 2 election.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Federal Court by Sgt. Daryl Walton, alleges that Meyer, a Morris County resident and a Berdnik supporter, attempted to register to vote in Passaic County in this year’s sheriff’s election in violation of the state’s election laws.  Only Passaic County residents may vote in Passaic County elections.

Walton, a member of the Special Investigation Division to the Internal Affairs Unit of the sheriff’s department, alleges that on September 22, 2010, while an investigation into Meyer’s alleged voter fraud was ongoing, Meyer transferred Walton out of the Internal Affairs Unit and into the Criminal Investigations Unit. Meyer, according to the complaint, also transferred the commanding officer of the Internal Affairs Unit, Capt. Fred Ernst out of the unit. The complaint maintains that Walton was transferred to a unit and a position that does not exist since it was abolished by former Sheriff Gerard Speziale in 2008. Walton was not issued an office or a vehicle to allow him to perform his duties. He was working from the jail cafeteria.

 Walton’s attorney Ethan Jesse Sheffet of the South Plainfield firm of  Sheffet & Dvorin, asserts that Sgt. Walton suffered humiliation and a loss in salary at the hand of Meyers. 

"My client was doing his job and because of political  considerations found himself banished to Siberia,” said Sheffet. “Acting Sheriff Meyer punished him for simply doing his job. Daryl Walton had a good career with the department and now it is ruined.”

Sheffet said Walton had several other internal investigation cases he was working at the time of the dismissal. The disposition of those cases is not known. The attorney said the investigation in Meyer’s alleged voter fraud was triggered by a citizen’s complaint.

Walton is suing Meyers and the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department for civil rights violations under the U.S. Constitution and for violations under the provisions of New Jersey's Conscientious Employee Protection Act, otherwise known as the “whistle-blower” law.

The compliant says that Meyer’s actions and those of several unnamed defendants were in retaliation for Walton’s failure to support Berdnick due the fact that Walton’s father-in-law is a known supporter of Felix Garcia, the candidate running against Berdnik for Sheriff.

The complaint alleges Meyers repeatedly and flagrantly violated his own August 19, 2010 order against politicking on department property and using Department resources by inviting Berdnik throughout the internal workings of the jail and personally giving him a tour of the entire facility. The complaint further alleges that Meyers, in violation of his own order, allowed candidate Berdnik to meet and greet with several Passaic County Sheriffs Department employees  for the sole purpose of garnering their political support in the upcoming election. Meyers  allowed Berdnik to make a political campaign pitch with  members of the Sheriff’s Department Search Unit at the department’s official offices in Wayne.   The complaint also notes that Meyers has attended several Berdnik fundraisers in full uniform, again in violation of Meyers’ August 2010 order. 

Meyer’s also violated county ethics rules by allowing Berdnik to campaign on county property.

The complaint notes that Meyer’s action harkens back to Berdnik’s own history of having retaliated against a subordinate officer in the Clifton Police Department. As a Clifton lieutenant, it was alleged that Berdnik participated with other superior officers in a pattern of abusive actions in the workplace, against a subordinate officer. That officer brought allegations of wrongdoing in the department to the attention of his supervising officer, Berdnik. Clifton police officer, Joseph Napoleone filed his own lawsuit asserting strikingly similar allegations of violations of his federal civil rights and rights afforded to whistle blowers. In 2008 he was awarded nearly $1 million  by a Passaic County jury.

 

Contact Info: 

Ethan Jesse Sheffet

908-755-8919

 

Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: September 2nd

Campaign season now under way in Bergen County Politics is practiced year-round in Bergen County, and street-level campaigning has been going on quietly all summer. But both Republicans and Democrats say the Rutherford Street Fair on Labor Day signals a more intense phase of electioneering. (Ensslin/The Bergen Record) http://www.northjersey.com/news/campaign-season-now-under-way-in-bergen-county-1.1079080  ...

Op-Ed

White House’s Tuition Challenge Being Met in NJ

By MICHAEL W. KLEIN In his weekly radio address on August 16, President Obama challenged colleges “to do their part to bring down costs” and lighten the tuition burden on students.  The state colleges and universities in New Jersey have... Read More >

Contributors

My Republican Hillary Clinton Experience    There is a veritable plethora of reportage in print, internet, television and radio media speculating as to whether Hillary Clinton will seek the Democratic... more »
(8-27-14) All Americans Should Support Gov. Perry - Political prosecutions have no place in American life. Those who use the justice system as they are using it in Texas... more »
(Asbury Park, NJ) -- There's a word for someone who says one thing and does another: hypocrite.  There's no shortage of 'em in Trenton -- from ... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Governor Christie ripped President Obama this summer for failing to carve out some time during a Texas fundraising swing to visit the Mexican border, where the unprecedented flood of immigrant children from Central America had reached a crisis point. ...Yet Christie is not squeezing in a tour of the troubled border during his own three-day trade and diplomatic mission to Mexico, which is set to begin on Wednesday. The governor is planning a series of meetings with Mexican officials, including President Enrique Peña Nieto and the finance and energy ministers." - columnist Charles Stile

- The Bergen Record

Poll

Governor Chris Christie's trip to Mexico...:

Blogroll

Visit the PolitickerNJ.com/resources page for links to the best collection of information on New Jersey state government.

 

  • Polls
  • The best blogs
  • Columnists
  • State election results
  • Assembly election results
  • Local party websites
  • And more.

PolitickerNJ.com/resources