Public Records Violation Prompts Donation to New Jersey Fire Department

A New Jersey fire department has become the unexpected beneficiary of court awarded attorney fees in a digital age public records case.

Last January developer 297 Palisade Avenue Urban Renewal Company LLC filed suit against the Borough of Bogata seeking copies of emails sent by Borough Council President Jorge Nunez. The emails pertained to an ongoing dispute between the borough and the developer over a planned apartment complex. Last month, Superior Court Judge Peter Doyne agreed with the developer, finding the borough wrongful withheld the requested emails.

Judge Doyne concluded that Nunez did not realize he was violating the law and waived the $1,000 fine. However, he ordered the borough to produce the requested emails and awarded the developer $3,000 in attorneys fees for having to bring the suit. The developer took the $3,000, and donated it to the Bogata Fire Department for the purchase of a multi-gas meter. The gas meter was presented to the fire department at a council meeting last Thursday evening.

How about a nice THANK YOU to 297 Palisade Avenue Urban Renewal Company LLC!!!

More on the story.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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