County Doesn’t Press Charges Against Grant, But to Investigate East Greenwich Finances

east greenwich webby Robert Holt

MICKLETON — During the East Greenwich Township Committee meeting of Jan. 28, Mayor Dale Archer announced that Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton has found insufficient evidence to file criminal charges against former Township Mayor Fred Grant. The Prosecutor’s Office had been investigating Grant for alleged misallocation of funds.

Archer stated that Grant allegedly used his office, power, and influence over professionals, contractors, and township employees in the misallocation of funds for construction of the Public Works garage and Well-Pump House Number 4.

But according to Archer, Dalton did find enough evidence to ask the Department of Community Affairs and Division of Local Government Services to investigate East Greenwich Township’s current financial integrity and practices to ensure future compliance with New Jersey’s laws.

The mayor said the Committee would cooperate fully with the investigation, and the members would conduct their own due diligence to review the current policies and procedures. “We have proven so far that we are transparent,” commented Archer.

East Greenwich’s financial picture didn’t get any brighter when Committeeman Stephen Bottiglieri summarized two budget meetings held in January. “It was nice to hear some of the issues that were raised by the departments at the meetings,” Bottiglieri related. “It was also scary how these talks were handled in the past,

departments were told what to do instead of being asked.”

“There’s not a dime available in this township,” the Committeeman continued. “We don’t have the money to pay our debts. We are so far off target it is not acceptable.”

“This Committee has made a commitment to make this budget work, not only for our residents, but for our employees,” Bottiglieri insisted. “Any idea is a good idea.”

Bottiglieri voiced the opinion that the town was now paying the price for the previous Committee. Committeeman Sam Giordano, a member of the previous Committee along with Archer, disagreed, but said Bottiglieri had a right to his opinion.

In resolutions, the Committee authorized a contract with Edward Molinari for a local piece of property. “It’s 7.1 acres on the corner of County House Road and Cohawkin Road,” explained Archer. “We were originally scheduled to build a firehouse there, but those plans were cancelled. After the property is sold, we can see about getting the revenue back in the township.”

The Committee also approved a contract with Gattuso’s Auto Service for trash pickup, and authorized the sale of surplus property through propertyroom.com.

Committeeman Tom Decker said there had been questions as to whether Property Room had been the best option for the town.

“They’ve been vetted in,” assured Solicitor Mark Shoemaker. “They’ve been approved through the state.”

In the public portion of the meeting, Meg Cossaboon of the Gatherings at East Greenwich questioned some of the municipal codes of the township. Cossaboon claims that builder Beazer Homes has failed to put numbers on Gatherings buildings for a year. Home Owners Association Board representative Frank Cossaboon added, “We don’t want Beazer to get out without having all the municipal codes fulfilled.”

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