Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Douglass Settles Suits With Former Supervisor

A two-and-a-half year legal dispute between the township supervisors and a former supervisor is winding down.

Verdict? Nobody wins.

Except the lawyers. They always get paid.

Monday night, Anthony Sherr, a lawyer for the township's insurance carrier, outlined a settlement of the legal battle between Douglass and former supervisor Fred Thiel.

The supervisors sued Thiel in June of 2014, seeking nearly $37,000 in damages for the debacle of Mountain Mulch and Thiel's alleged granting of permission for the former composting operation to take debris from Superstorm Sandy.

The mulching operation and Thiel are both gone, but the lawsuits lingered.

Not one to take a challenge lying down, Thiel countersued later the same month, seeking $100,000 in damages and revealing that, former township solicitor Paul Bauer had forced him from office and tried to prevent him from ever running again.

Then, as happens with these things, there were depositions, hearings, motions, and before you know it, two years have passed, everyone is sick of it and no one but the lawyers have any money any more.

So what we know so far is that the township's insurance company will pay $18,000 of Thiel's legal fees and the township itself will pay its deductible of $2,500, said Township Manager Peter Hiryak.

Sherr also said that the settlement includes language indicating Thiel's suit was "without merit."

Although the supervisors voted unanimously for the settlement, it is not a public document until the settlement is "executed," said Township Solicitor Robert Brant.

So until that happens, we won't have any further details.

"When a settlement happens, often, not everyone is happy," said Brant. "But the supervisors are cognizant of spending the people's money and they have decided its in the best interests of the township," he said.

And now, here are the Tweets and videos from the rest of the meeting...

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