He should be fired. How much money have they been stealing from the taxpayers? And just recently they were talking about dividing the DPW?
This looks really bad for Dean Dafis and the rest of the TC.
Former Township Administrator is claiming he was forced out in part for bringing the fake bids to the attention of the Mayor and the TC.
The litigation revolves around what happened when Giaimis raised the possible – and now alleged – bid-rigging with the town’s elected officials. Also in the mix was an issue with the 2022 municipal budget, which was compiled very late.
The suit says that when the matter was discussed by the township committee on July 5 of last year. officials were skeptical.
The suit, in fact, quotes the mayor, Dean Dafis, as saying, “O my goodness” and “I can’t believe this.” (The answer to the suit filed on behalf of the township denies this allegation).
More meetings were held among officials in subsequent weeks with the suit contending that Giaimis wanted to terminate Riccardi. That didn’t happen.
The 2022 budget was also a topic of discussion with Giaimis asserting that the budget was late because of the failures of the township’s chief financial officer.
This internal skirmishing apparently came to a head in early September when Giaimis was told by the mayor that he was being replaced as administrator, which is something the township in its filing confirms. The original plan was for Giaimis to remain through the end of last year, but he ended up departing in October at the township’s request.
MAPLEWOOD, NJ __ The former Maplewood Township Administrator has filed a whistleblower lawsuit against Mayor Dean Dafis and the Township Committee, alleging he was forced to resign after uncovering fraudulent bids by contractors connected to the Supervisor of the Department of Public Works.
Gerald “Jerry” Giamis sued Dafis both personally and in his capacity as mayor, along with the entire Township Committee. The suit seeking a jury trial was filed in Essex County Court in November and came to light recently with the arrest on March 13 of Cesare Riccardi, Superintendent of the Department of Public Works. Riccardi was charged with second-degree official misconduct offense and released. He is expected to appear on Thursday in Essex County Court.
According to the lawsuit filed by Giamis, he was forced to submit his resignation on Sept. 26, 2022, after being told that he would be terminated if he did not leave on his own.
Has there been a completed investigation to verify all of this or are the above conclusions based solely on the former administrator’s allegations?
joan_crystal said:Has there been a completed investigation to verify all of this or are the above conclusions based solely on the former administrator’s allegations?
Solely on the allegations contained in the former administrator's complaint as you so clearly got to the main point. What isn't clear is whether there will be an investigation at all. This is a CIVIL complaint which involves a complaint, an answer, discovery, etc.
From the patch link I posted above….
The Essex County Prosecutor's Office arrested Cesare Riccardi last Monday, March 13 and charged him with official misconduct, then released him, they said.
A complaint and affadavit from a detective at the Prosecutor's Office allege a scheme in which fictitious bids were submitted for town projects, so that one contractor could be the lowest bidder and thus win the contract.
According to a complaint, Riccardi was charged with four counts of official misconduct last week and a count of tampering with public records.
The complaint says that on Sept. 26 of last year, Riccardi "Did commit the offense of official misconduct, by falsifying or knowingly accepting falsified bids for work within the township of Maplewood and awarded work within the township of Maplewood based upon falsified bids and directly and unjustifiably benefited favored contractors to the detriment of the township."
Another count charges that Riccardi committed a "pattern of official misconduct" by submitting fictitious bid proposals to the township on more than two occasions.
The complaint says that Riccardi "is responsible for gathering bids for projects that cost less than $44,000. Part of that process requires he procure bids from three separate companies and subsequently present them to the director [and town engineer], Mr. Paul Kittner, who would then select the lowest bid."
According to an affadavit submitted by a detective with the Prosecutor's Office, in June 2022, Kittner received three bids for a bathroom project in town, with the lowest being $21,000. Kittner found the amounts fairly high for the work to be done, so he asked a company already doing work for the town to give an estimate, which turned out to be $5,000.
The discrepancy prompted the administration to investigate the bid proposals that Riccardi said he'd received, the complaint says.Former Business Administrator Jerry Giaimis pulled emails from the town’s server and discovered that Mr. Riccardi had received one email bid ... This email contained three separate bid attachments for the bathroom project," the complaint says. "The three attachments resembled each other and were close in price but Fredco’s estimate contained the lowest bid.
More investigating turned up similar scenarios for past projects, with one email usually containing all three bids, the complaint alleges.
"It should be noted that the 'bid' documents received contained inconsistencies, spelling errors and in some cases, they mirrored one another," says the complaint.
Meanwhile, Giaimis filed a whistleblower lawsuit in Essex Superior Court last November saying he was pressured to resign as administrator after bringing the matter to the attention of officials. The suit names Mayor Dean Dafis and the Maplewood Township Committee.
The lawsuit details the pattern of misconduct uncovered by Giaimis. It then says that the Township Committee had been considering promoting Riccardi last summer, dividing public works into two departments to be headed by Riccardi and Kittner.
Giaimis says that at a July 2022 meeting at which the Township Committee discussed promoting Riccardi, Giaimis detailed, in closed session, some of what he'd uncovered. Giaimis says a committeeman who's friends with Riccardi "displayed visible irritation" toward him.
The suit also notes that other supposed bidders for past town projects couldn't be reached when he tried to contact them, or said they hadn't bid.
The arrest of Cesare Riccardi and charges from the Essex County Prosecutor's Office lend some credibility to at least part of Giaimis's complaint against the Mayor and TC of Maplewood.
A lot of the claims and details should be easily verifiable via text messages, emails, meetings, etc. It will be interesting to see how it shakes out.
This is just an odd tangent - https://www.nj.com/hunterdon/2016/08/nj_town_fires_township_administrator_in_heated_mee.html
jamie said:This is just an odd tangent - https://www.nj.com/hunterdon/2016/08/nj_town_fires_township_administrator_in_heated_mee.html
Interesting. The Mayor of Raritan Township was quoted in the article saying that Giaimis was terminated "without cause." Reading between the lines, it sounds like a personality conflict.
Almost every town has corruption at some level. Either you fit in or you don’t. Mittermeier was tough but he was good. Nothing like this ever came to light when he was in charge. This is scandalous.
yahooyahoo said: Interesting. The Mayor of Raritan Township was quoted in the article saying that Giaimis was terminated "without cause." Reading between the lines, it sounds like a personality conflict.
That is not what "without cause" means but I don't feel like wasting any more time here on this thread filled with assumptions reached with pretty high jumping to bother explaining that.
wendy said: yahooyahoo said: Interesting. The Mayor of Raritan Township was quoted in the article saying that Giaimis was terminated "without cause." Reading between the lines, it sounds like a personality conflict. That is not what "without cause" means but I don't feel like wasting any more time here on this thread filled with assumptions reached with pretty high jumping to bother explaining that.
Enlighten us, Wendy. What is the definition of termination without cause?
Based on most legal definitions, it means there was a lack of any type of employee misconduct.
You didn't even say please. You seem enlightened enough for the both us. Enjoy your assumptions. Unpinning this page now as it really is a time suck and baseball is going on.
"Without cause" termination refers to a situation where an employer terminates an employee's employment without any specific reason or justification. In other words, the employer is not terminating the employee for any particular fault or performance issue on the part of the employee.
In this type of termination, the employer is not required to provide any specific reason for the termination, but may need to provide the employee with notice or pay in lieu of notice, as well as any other benefits or compensation that the employee is entitled to upon termination.
It's important to note that employment laws and regulations vary by jurisdiction, so the specific requirements for "without cause" terminations may differ depending on where the employee is located.
yahooyahoo said: Enlighten us, Wendy. What is the definition of termination without cause?Based on most legal definitions, it means there was a lack of any type of employee misconduct.
It could mean that the employee agreed to leave without contesting the action provided the termination was made without cause. I am not jumping to conclusions as to what the actual situation was, simply providing an alternative explanation.
There's not a singular answer to what termination "without cause" means and it doesn't necessarily mean there's no reason or justification. Contracts, employment or otherwise, will sometimes itemize specific "causes" that justify termination. Some contracts only allow termination "for cause" in which case your stuck unless you have an identified ground for termination. Others allow both kinds but usually with different procedures, advance notice requirements and consequences (for example, a party terminated without cause might be entitled to some kind of pay off).
Some activity this week with the lawsuit against the Mayor and TC:
MAPLEWOOD, NJ - Maplewood Mayor Dean Dafis and the Township Committee have filed a motion to quash a subpoena calling for the Assistant Township Administrator to be deposed in a civil suit alleging retaliation for uncovering fraud.
The motion filed on Monday will be decided upon on April 14, according to records from the Essex County Courts.
Dafis and the Township Committee want the subpoena calling for Bailey Barnett's deposition to be quashed, and they also want a protective order requiring that Barnett's deposition be conducted only after the two sides in the lawsuit have completed written discovery and plaintiff Gerald Giaimis is deposed. The discovery end date is April 27, 2024.
Here is a statement issued by the Mayor and the TC:https://www.tapinto.net/towns/soma/sections/government/articles/statement-from-mayor-dafis-regarding-giaimis-lawsuit
The Assistant Township Administrator resigned on Tuesday.
"Tuesday’s Township Committee meeting was the last one for Assistant Township Administrator Bailey Barnett, after it was announced that she would be resigning."
"Earlier on Tuesday, a filing by representatives of former Maplewood Township Administrator Jerry Giaimis included an affidavit in which Barnett backed Giaimis’s claims regarding Superintendent of Public Works Cesare Riccardi, who was arrested and charged on March 13 on allegations of bid rigging."
It’s a shame. She was good for maplewood.
With regard to the public works guy; I am relieved that if we have criminals in local government, they're inept.
yahooyahoo said:Here is a statement issued by the Mayor and the TC:https://www.tapinto.net/towns/soma/sections/government/articles/statement-from-mayor-dafis-regarding-giaimis-lawsuit
Thank you for posting this. I am glad this statement was made.
A bold statement.
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