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Thursday, December 12, 2019


Why pay a yearly subscription fee when you can get the local rag for free online.  To read this week’s edition of the Westfield Leader newspaper, go to:
 https://www.goleader.com/19dec12/19dec12.pdf

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Demotion to Promotion......Author of Fictional Police Reports Seeks Promotion

     The Westfield Police Department recently held a promotional exam in anticipation of promotions being made to fill vacancies in the rank of lieutenant. 

    The lieutenant exam is open to anyone holding the rank of sergeant for at least one year.
     
     Last year, Lieutenant Leonard Lugo was demoted from Lieutenant to Sergeant for his role in the hit & run accident involving disgraced former police chief David Wayman who was forced to resign in the wake of a Union County Prosecutors Office investigation into the accident cover up and other alleged criminal activity. 

     Lugo was the author of both the accident report and investigation report that covered up Chief Wayman’s hit & run accident while Wayman was operating a town owned vehicle in the secured impound/storage lot located at the Westfield Conservation Center on Lambertsmill Rd.  Wayman allegedly struck a parked vehicle owned by the Union County Prosecutors Office that was being stored at the lot. 

     Leonard Lugo was demoted from lieutenant to sergeant as part of the disciplinary action against him stemming from his role in actions investigated by the UCPO. 

     Should Lugo be eligible to seek a promotion?  As the author of two reports covering up Wayman’s accident, how can he possibly be in line for a promotion to a supervisory level higher than the one he currently occupies?  How is Lugo in charge of anyone at his point?  Why is Lugo still employed as a police officer?  How can he possibly ever take the witness stand and testify under oath?

     These, and many more questions remain regarding Lugo’s continued employment as a Westfield police officer sworn to uphold the law. 

     To promote Leonard Lugo would be to reward corruption, misconduct, and a stained integrity.  What kind of message would Lugo’s promotion send to the rank and file of the WPD?

Sergeant Leonard Lugo

Monday, December 09, 2019

Just Because There Were No Criminal Charges...........




Mayor Shelley Brindle
At a town council meeting last month, Westfield Mayor Shelley Brindle provided the following update/remarks regarding the Union County Prosecutors Office investigation into theft of time by employees of the Westfield Department of Public Works.

DPW OVERTIME INVESTIGATION

“On a separate note, I want to take this opportunity to follow up on an issue that was presented to the Town Council by a resident over the last few months concerning allegations of overtime fraud at the DPW. As I had said publicly at the time, the matter was investigated by an independent employment law firm earlier this year, which found no evidence of fraud. The issue was then referred to the Union County Prosecutor's Office by a resident claiming to have additional information. The UCPO conducted a subsequent investigation, with which the Town offered its full cooperation.

Westfield DPW worker
Frank Watkins 
clocks out multiple
employees not present
I am pleased to report that the UCPO recently advised that, after a full review of the facts and circumstances surrounding these allegations and conducting a thorough investigation, they found no evidence to warrant criminal charges or further pursuit of this matter, and they have closed their investigation. While they made some helpful suggestions regarding ways to improve some administrative processes, ultimately these findings reinforce those of the previous independent investigation, and the Town now considers the issue fully investigated and closed.”

Mayor Brindle does not identify the "resident' that referred the issue to the UCPO nor does she disclose the "helpful suggestions regarding ways to improve some administrative processes."

Just because the UCPO “found no evidence to warrant criminal charges” doesn’t mean the theft of time didn’t occur.

UCPO Subpoena
In the early 1990’s, then Westfield Detective Lieutenant Barney Tracy assaulted a handcuffed suspect at Clark, NJ police department while he was there to interview the suspect possibly responsible for crimes committed in Westfield and apprehended in Clark.  As Clark police pushed for an investigation and perhaps criminal charges, neither ever materialized.

Just because there were no criminal charges, doesn’t  mean the crime of assault didn’t occur.

Barney Tracy would again be investigated, this time by the Readington Police Department after he assaulted a local resident, allegedly breaking the resident’s nose when the resident objected to Tracy’s son exiting their vehicle, while stopped in traffic on the way to the annual balloon fest, and allegedly urinating on the homeowner’s front lawn.

Just because there were no criminal charges, doesn’t mean the crime of assault didn’t occur.


In 2004, Westfield Police Chief Bernard Tracy engaged in a search of B.R.A.K.E.S. Co-chair Sarah Strohecker Clarkson’s name using police computers to dig up “dirt” on the Westfield resident after she wrote a critical letter to the Westfield Leader newspaper.  Tracy had also made claims to the Westfield Leader, and to others, that he maintained files on Westfield residents affiliated with the WECARE group formed to oppose the construction of parking decks.  Among those names were residents, newspaper employees, and a sitting Westfield Councilman at the time.  The New Jersey State Police investigated and found that names had been searched using Westfield police computers.



Police Chief John Parizeau

Just because there were no criminal charges, doesn’t mean the crime of illegally accessing police computers didn’t occur.


In 2007, then Westfield Police Chief John Parizeau issued a confidential memo to all police supervisors detailing the stealing of time.
The UCPO (Sgt. Tansey & Det. Koenig) investigated and appeared to be more concerned about how this blog site (TFoTM) obtained the confidential memo detailing the crime and exposing it to the public.

Parizeau would retire after he received a vote of "no confidence" by Westfield PBA 90.

Just because there were no criminal charges, doesn’t mean the crime of theft didn’t occur.



Confidential Memo
exposing theft by
Westfield police supervisor
In 2018, The Fact of The Matter exposed a hit and run accident filed by Lt. Leonard Lugo (since demoted to Sergeant for his role in the cover up) involving then Westfield Police Chief David Wayman that took place inside the secured Westfield Police Department impound/storage lot located at the Westfield conservation center on Lambertsmill Rd.  The accident was documented as a “leaving the scene” with no suspects.

A Town of Westfield owned and insured vehicle was involved and struck a parked Union County Prosecutors Office vehicle.  During the investigation, other alleged crimes were exposed involving alleged thefts by Wayman, from the Westfield Police Department property/evidence room.  Lugo was demoted to sergeant and Wayman resigned.


Just because there were no criminal charges, doesn’t mean the crimes of official misconduct and theft didn’t occur.



"Hit & Run" accident report

The theft of time by Westfield Department of Public Works employees was investigated by a law firm selected by the Town of Westfield and cost Westfield taxpayers in excess of $5000.00.

Chief David Wayman
Westfield town attorney Tom Jardim likened the alleged crime to an “HR” Human Resources issue while calling the alleged thefts an "impropriety" and "Improper conduct." Westfield DPW Supt. Greg O’Neil allegedly called it a “union issue.”

When town officials are so willing to dismiss criminal acts as departmental or labor union infractions, hiring a selected law firm to investigate, and not a law enforcement agency, one has to question their motive.

Lt. Leonard Lugo
Eventually, after public pressure to involve the UCPO, a law enforcement investigation took place. What followed was an attempt to investigate the origin of the complaint, the source of the complaint, the whistleblower.  Any attempt to investigate the actual crime was influenced by the previous determination, by a private attorney, that there was no "wrongdoing."

Just like the UCPO investigation that took place when Chief Parizeau had evidence of theft of time by a supervisor, it was deja vu.  The only difference was the names of the investigators. UCPO Det. Colin McNamara and Assistant Prosecutor Melissa Spagnoli were more interested in outing the source of the information obtained and exposed by TFoTM than the actual crime of theft of time.
The Fact of The Matter would not confirm or deny any source of information pursuant to New Jersey's Shield Law.

Just because there were no criminal charges, doesn’t mean the crimes didn’t occur. 

"Hit & Run"
Investigation
Report




Monday, November 25, 2019

Westfield DPW Workers Shut Down Bilking of Overtime after DPW Director Learned of TFoTM Story Coming Out

     The Fact of The Matter has obtained Westfield DPW supervisor Rob Kosciolek’s overtime records from January 1, 2019 thru October 9, 2019......in addition to previously posted timecard records from 2018. 

     Kosciolek is not required to clock in and out for his daily shift of 7am. to 3pm., he only has to use the time clock when working overtime, especially when starting at 3pm, Monday thru Friday.  

     If you compare Kosciolek’s OT time card from 2018 (in a previous TFoTM post) to his 2019 time card, there is a significant difference in the number of times he worked past 6pm in 2018 before the theft ring was exposed, than he worked in 2019. NOTE: The 2019 OT time card is only thru 10/9/19.

     In 2018, Kosciolek had 41 entries starting at 3pm. and ending between 6:30pm. or later. . 
     In 2019, Kosciolek has 4 entries starting at 3pm. and ending between 6:30pm. or later. 

     Westfield DPW workers Charles Elliot and Keith Mueller provided testimony to an investigator that all workers clocked out by 6pm. 

     On March 27, 2019, Westfield DPW Superintendent/Director Greg O’Neil stated to an investigator that “he had heard an article was going to come out on the blog “The Fact of The Matter” alleging overtime fraud.”  TFoTM had leaked information pertaining to the DPW overtime thefts in the beginning of October 2018 in anticipation of publishing a blog story exposing the alleged overtime thefts. 

     Ironically, supervisor Kosciolek, and other DPW workers alleged to have stolen overtime, ceased having another employee sign them out past 6pm. when working overtime between 3pm. and 6pm., after Director O’Neil learned of the TFoTM story coming out on this blog.  No longer were some DPW employees routinely signed out past 6pm.  It appeared that the “bilking” of overtime had effectively come to a halt once the theft ring was exposed. 

     Multiple sources have confirmed that DPW workers were collecting between 1 and 5 hours of stolen overtime each time they had someone else sign them out in their absence, most noticeably in August of 2018. 

     A source has also confirmed that overtime opportunities were significantly curtailed leading up to and after the TFoTM story was published once “the town” heard about TFoTM’s impending story. 

     The time cards of DPW employees involved in the “impropriety” and “improper conduct” as described by Town Attorney Tom Jardim, show a significant change in the clocking out habits of the alleged corrupt employees once the theft of overtime was exposed in the Fall of 2018. 

More to come...........

Tap on each time card photo for a clearer picture. 




Thursday, November 21, 2019

DPW Overtime Records Tell the Truth

     The Union County Prosecutors Office assigned to the Westfield Department of Public Works theft of time investigation to Detective Colin McNamara.
     Under the supervision of Assistant Prosecutor Melissa Spagnoli, Det. McNamara conducted interviews with current and former DPW employees.
     When contacted by Detective McNamara for an interview, I met with him to answer what I thought would be questions regarding the theft of DPW time that I had exposed on this blog site.
Instead, Det. McNamara seemed more intent in trying to bait me into exposing my sources of information.  He was repeatedly told that I would not confirm or deny a source of information.  He would not be deterred.
     Det. McNamara refused to answer many of my questions, reminding me that he was conducting a criminal investigation and could not divulge investigative material he had in his possession.
When asked for evidence I had obtained, I provided him with payroll records including the payroll records of Westfield DPW supervisor Rob Kosciolek.
     Rob Kosciolek, as a supervisor, is required to clock in and clock out when working overtime only.  He is not required to clock in or out for his working shift of 7am. to 3pm.
     Posted below are Rob Kosciolek’s overtime records for 2018.  TFoTM received information from a source in late August, early September 2018 of DPW employees stealing overtime.
     Also included below are two statements from DPW employees interviewed by Attorney Stephanie Gironda from the Wilentz law firm hired by Westfield to conduct an independent investigation before ever calling the Union County Prosecutors Office.
     Note in both statements how each employee states the time of 6pm.  In fact, one stated it “emphatically” that all employees left at 6pm.  Then look at Rob Kosciolek’s overtime records.
It has been alleged that Rob Kosciolek was stealing overtime by having other employees, including subordinates, clock him out even though he had left, in some cases, hours earlier.  In some instances, an employee that lives locally, is alleged to have returned to work later in the evening to clock out a number of employees even though they left hours earlier.
Investigator Stephanie Gironda not only gets the name of a witness wrong (Elliot) but also states that Head mechanic Rich Eubanks ended his employment.  DPW records show that R. Eubanks is still employed.
The highlighted dates shown on Kosciolek’s timecard are dates and times where multiple employees all had the same time but had allegedly left work early including Frank Watkins, the employee seen in a previously posted photo holding a list of employees names and ID timecard numbers.
More to come........









Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Westfield DPW Overtime Theft Investigation

Westfield Department of Public Works employee Frank Watkins engages in what Westfield Town Attorney Tom Jardim stated at a June 18th Westfield Town Council meeting to be an “impropriety” and “improper conduct.”
Watkins entered employee ID numbers into the time clock enabling employees who were not present to earn overtime not worked.
In the photo below, Watkins is seen holding a piece of paper with DPW employee names and ID numbers while he enters numbers into the time clock at the DPW building.
An investigation by the Union County Prosecutors Office found no evidence to warrant criminal charges.
More to come.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Westfield Leader Newspaper’s Biased Editorial Staff

     In an email obtained by The Fact of The Matter, allegedly sent by Westfield Leader newspaper owner Horace Corbin to his assignment editor Paul Peyton, Corbin reminds Peyton what should be done with Letters to the Editor submitted by “haters and nutcases.”
     This reminder from Corbin was in response to a Letter to the Editor submitted by Olivia Gonzales during this past municipal election season.  (Tap on email picture for clarity.)
     See related story by tapping on the link below.

http://07090.blogspot.com/2019/09/westfield-leader-newspaper-rejects.html


Assignment Editor Paul Peyton

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Westfield Councilwoman Neylan Causes Stir at Polling Location

The Fact of The Matter has learned that Westfield Councilwoman JoAnn Neylan was told to leave Wilson school earlier today when she tried to take pictures inside the polling location during today’s elections.  Witnesses confirmed that Neylan held her phone up and went through the typical motion that someone would go through to snap a photo.  She did this at multiple balloting locations within the gymnasium of Wilson school.
Councilwoman Neylan was accompanied by Jacqueline Neely who is 3rd Ward Councilman Mark LoGrippo’s campaign manager.
Neylan attempted to take pictures at the polling station as described by sources.
Not only is it illegal to take “ballot selfies,” it’s also illegal to take pictures inside a balloting location.
Councilwoman Neylan, the chairwoman of Westfield’s Republican Committee, has been reported to ELEC, (Election Law Enforcement Commission)
TFoTM has reached out to the Westfield Republican Committee for comment.





Friday, November 01, 2019

Who Found Bodmer: The Search Continues

People have been asking for months about how Rich Bodmer was chosen to run for town council.

The Republican leadership committee often seeks out a candidate to endorse and place on the committee line ballot.

Rob Benacchio is the Vice Chair of the leadership committee of the Westfield Town Republican committee. Rob Benacchio also works for Joe Nitti.

Some of you may recall the name Joe Nitti.  Joe Nitti and Rich Bodmer have been past business partners, all the way back to the Plainfield Clubhouse days and most recently in 2015 with the opening of a semi-revival of the Clubhouse located at the Rio Restaurant on Rt. 22 in Union.

We may never know how the 2nd ward was chosen but these are interesting details.

Some of you may recall the name Joe Nitti from his text that went viral.

Disclaimer: the racial epithet used by the name Joe Nitti has been partially redacted for the purpose of this post.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

It Happened There, It Happened Here?

Stolen scrap metal?  Hmm, perhaps if this employee worked for Westfield DPW, all would be swept under the rug.
Public works boss indicted on charges he groped worker, stole from N.J. town
https://www.nj.com/gloucester-county/2019/10/public-works-boss-indicted-on-charges-he-groped-worker-stole-from-nj-town.html

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Westfield Leader Owner Claims “Hit Squad List” While Candidate Bodmer Alleges Payouts to Smear Campaign Participants

In a Letter to the Editor appearing in today’s Westfield Leader newspaper, Westfield Town Council candidate Rich Bodmer makes accusations of payments made to Democratic supporters that he alleges have smeared his campaign.
Bodmer claims that social capital leader boards like this one, https://support.nationbuilder.com/en/articles/2362765-understanding-virtual-currency  are to blame and believes names appearing on such leader boards is proof of such payoffs.

Westfield Leader owner/editor Horace Corbin’s loyal followers of his publication received emails earlier this year identifying a “hit squad list” of democrat supporters.

See Corbin’s emails and Bodmer’s Letter to the Editor below.






Saturday, October 19, 2019

Westfield DPW Equipment Remains Untouched While Playing Fields Suffer

Westfield Department of Public Works aeration attachment sits unused on a pallet at the DPW building while Westfield’s playing fields have become the center of complaints by residents, athletic teams, and town officials.  This piece of equipment was allegedly purchased more than 3 years ago. 
The Westfield DPW needs to explain why it hasn’t been used on athletic fields in an attempt to revitalize, rehabilitate, restore, and repair the towns fields at Tamaques Park and other municipal owned land.   

With all the overtime worked, and stolen, by Westfield DPW employees, why aren’t Westfield’s playing fields in better shape?  Why have years passed without aerating, seeding, and fertilizing playing fields?

Aeration involves perforating the soil with small holes to allow air, water and nutrients to penetrate the grass roots. This helps the roots grow deeply and produce a stronger, more vigorous lawn. The main reason for aerating is to alleviate soil compaction.




Friday, October 18, 2019

Westfield Leader Newspaper Sponsors Candidate Forum: Changes Rules to Accommodate a "No-Show" Candidate










 

As Chair of the Westfield Democratic Committee, I have been engaged in negotiations with the Westfield Republican Committee and the Westfield Leader over the upcoming candidate forum on Monday, October 21 at 7:30pm. The Westfield Leader printed the “Debate Rules” in this week’s paper. Since then I have received numerous emails, calls and text messages with Westfield constituents asking why I would be okay with a changed format that seems to benefit a missing candidate and incumbents and a proxy statement allowance that flies in the face of impartiality and fairness. In the broader interest of addressing these concerns, I have outlined the process that brought us here.
 
On September 19 the designated moderator sent an email informing everyone of the mutually agreed upon date. That email also informed me that one of the Republican candidates could not make the forum and that the accomodation of a written statement being read would be made. I was not told who the missing candidate was nor was I consulted about a proxy statement.
When, on September 25, I was informed that Rich Bodmer, the Ward 2 Republican candidate, was the one who could not make it, I offered 8 alternate dates to have a satellite forum between the Ward 2 candidates. It defies credulity, but Rich Bodmer could not make any of those 8 dates including October 11 when he was available to present himself in Cranford alongside Garwood candidates. When I pushed further, a date was finally offered only to then have The Westfield Leader say it would not be a party to it.
 
Considering that I had done all I could to accommodate Rich Bodmer, I strongly objected to a proxy statement being permitted. It is highly unusual in such a setting and as recently as 2015, The Westfield Leader had denied such a request from councilman Frank Arena. The forum’s goal is to have residents hear directly from the candidates, and if it was not a priority for Rich Bodmer and the Republican Committee to have Ward 2 residents hear directly from their candidate, I didn’t think a proxy statement was fair. My objection was not recognized or addressed, and my request for an explanation of shifting standards was not either. As a matter of fact, all of my subsequent and numerous objections went unanswered. As of today, they have not told me who will read this proxy statement.
 
On October 10, The Westfield Leader outlined a change in format from years past where candidates for each ward were given a chance to answer and rebut, giving constituents a chance to compare answers on key issues. The new format simply requires that all candidates answer all questions. I objected to this change on the grounds that it limits the range of topics that can be covered and has the potential for a lot of redundancy as we get to the fourth or fifth candidate answering the same question. Pam Wiaczek, the representative from the Republican Committee in these discussions, voiced her agreement with me. Even though both parties to the debate asked for the format to revert to what it has always been, the Westfield Leader insisted on the new format.
 
Furthermore, the Republican representative repeatedly insisted not only to have rules of behavior for residents who attend the forum but to have a camera trained on the audience “for the benefit of decorum” because “we should plan for the worst of behavior.” Since the forum is a vehicle to foster public discourse and civic engagement, I yet again stated my objections to this tactic and made clear that I was not agreeing to any confabulated rules. My concerns were ignored, and while this outlandish request was not incorporated into the rules that were printed in The Leader this week, it remains to be seen what will happen on October 21.
 
Did we consider backing out? Briefly, yes. But despite a changed format that dilutes the dialogue and a proxy statement whose author cannot be verified, we thought it more important that our Westfield Together candidates present themselves to constituents on Monday, October 21 at 7:30 pm in Town Hall and do their best to engage around the issues that are important to Westfield residents. I encourage you all to make every effort to attend and show your support.
Thank you.

Rupa Motwani
Chair, Westfield Democrat

Local Elections Matter!
Remember to Vote Tuesday, November 5th.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Illegal Placement of Campaign Signs

Westfield Armory

Westfield Armory
Rt. 22 Mountainside


With election campaign season upon us, candidate signs are appearing everywhere.

Residents proudly display their choice of candidate on their private property while some signs magically appear on municipal, county, state, and federal property.
Campaign signs displayed anywhere other than private property are subject to removal and a fine imposed. 

If a candidate is willing to violate campaign law while seeking elected office, can we expect the same behavior if elected?













Westfield Playing Fields Killed Off by Chemical

WHY WESTFIELD PLAYING FIELDS ARE A DISASTER.

At last night’s town council meeting the topic of poor natural grass fields came up when the discussion about Tamaques Park renovation was touched.

What most of the public does not know is that during the Skibitsky administration, the maintenance of our public playing fields came to a halt except for cutting the grass.

No more fertilizing, no more aerating, nothing.  Perhaps this was part of his “Doing more with less” slogan he often touted.

During the last administration, the chemical Roundup was used when someone complained about too much paint being used on the fields to line them every week after cutting the grass.  Cutting the grass would eliminate the painted lines as the grass grew.

By mixing Roundup in the paint used to spray the lines, the Roundup would kill the grass from growing and the white paint would remain reducing the amount of paint used each week and the man-hours needed to line the fields.

Roundup kills the soil not just under the application but around it.  That’s why large areas of grass at Tamaques, and other municipal fields, died.

Roundup Kills Everything
Homeowners use Roundup to kill existing grass and weeds on a lawn before reseeding or laying new sod. Roundup kills annual and perennial lawn grasses.

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Westfield Municipal Court Prosecutor In Violation of NJ Title 39 Motor Vehicle Law

Westfield, New Jersey Municipal Court Prosecutor Yvette Gibbons prosecutes motor vehicle infractions while continuing to drive a motor vehicle that bears an inspection sticker that expired in December of 2017.  This is a violation of NJ Title 39:8-1 "Failure to have inspections."
 
How can an appointed official of the court continue to adjudicate any motor vehicle case while operating a motor vehicle in violation of a state statute?
 
See related stories of ticket issued to driver in Westfield and prosecuted by Westfield Municipal Court Prosecutor Yvette Gibbons for over 8 months with no end in sight. 
 


Even cops want speeding ticket tossed after driver shows his dash cam video, but judge declines to let it go:

Driver says his cameras show cops pulled over the wrong car, and he’ll spend thousands to fight the $220 ticket:
 

Motor Vehicle driven by Yvette Gibbons



Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Assemblyman Jon Bramnick's Campaign Alters Opponents Photos?

Assemblyman Jon Bramnick’s campaign released what appear to be doctored photos of his and Nancy Munoz’ opponents for the upcoming election.