Monday, June 22, 2009

DeCotiis - NJ's Darling Law Firm is reporting that Encap's lawyers, DeCotiis, FitzPatrick, Cole & Wisler ("DeCotiis"), have secured a contract for the new rail tunnel to be built, despite a scathing report by the NJ Inspector General which "found that DeCotiis lawyers working on the now bankrupt landfill-to-links project misled officials, 'inappropriately sought to pressure' state regulators, misrepresented EnCap's finances and, in general, helped create an atmosphere where at least some state officials believed EnCap's representatives were 'engaging in intentional misrepresentation and/or acting in bad faith." has reported extensively on the EnCap mess.

See article about rail tunnel lawyer award here:

DeCotiis is also the darling law firm of the UCIA. The UCIA is led by the Union County Dem. Chair, Charlotte DeFillipo. It's been reported that a legal defense fund has been established for DeFillipo. DeFillipo has received subpoenas relating to documents of the Union County Improvement Authority and a client list for Camelot Title Agency, in which DeFilippo and State Dem. Chair/Undersheriff/Assemblyman Joe Cryan held minority stakes. While deceased ex-Senator Joe Suliga's name hasn't been publicly tied to Camelot, his widow, during the wrongful death suit she brought, claimed that her deceased husband was the founder of a title company. I'll have to assume Suliga's widow meant Camelot.

DeCotiis is legal counsel on most of the UCIA projects. The Gluck Walrath law firm appears to be another favorite. In reviewing legal bills (available only since 2004 and solely due to the efforts of the Union County Watchers) on the failed South Wood Avenue project which was dreamed up in the year 2000, those two firms have billed an incredible $700,000. There are also other significant costs such as engineering, environmental, appraisal and demolition costs, not to mention the bond payments. Those properties that were demolished and/or bought by the UCIA have been off the taxrolls as well. After all this time and expense, Linden taxpayers have nothing to show for it, except a few empty lots with some grass seed thrown on them.

The DeCotiis law firm also receives a handsome amount of money each month from the UCIA labled "general". Since DeCotiis is paid on each project, what other kind of work it is doing each month for the UCIA is beyond my knowledge. In February of '08 for instance, it was paid $64,000 under "general". Whatever it is DeCotiis does, they get paid well for it.

Verge Properties (Valvano) was the former developer on the South Wood Avenue project who sued the UCIA to be let out of its contract, claiming the UCIA did not live up to its part of the bargain. Whatever the truth is, Verge was able to terminate its contract. UCIA authorized the termination of Verge back in September of 2008. Understandably, additional work would be necessary to tie up the settlement and each month since then, DeCotiis has been paid moneys on that matter. A couple of noteworthy payments to DeCotiis. In April of 2008, DeCotiis was paid $55,296.16 . Using an hourly rate of $185, that would mean DeCotiis spent roughly 300 hours alone in April, or said it did anyway. Some of those moneys may have been for expenses rather than hours worked, but even so. It gets better. In March of this year, DeCotiis was paid $210,756.58 on Verge. Mind you, the UCIA authorized the termination of Verge back in September of 2008.

Lawyers not only advise their clients as to the law, but in many instances, counsel their clients. Linden taxpayers are the victims of three failed UCIA projects, i.e., South Wood Avenue, Morning Star and the ISP/GAF projects, all of which were shepherded by the DeCotiis law firm. Since the State Inspector General isn't thrilled with the work or behavior of the DeCotiis law firm, why continue the love affair and the burdensome legal fees hoisted upon Linden taxpayers? State Dem. Chair/Undersheriff/Assemblyman Joe Cryan even returned campaign contributions to them.


just ed said...

I believe robert sebia started camelot and then took them all down with him

NFS said...

All I can say is that is what Suliga's widow claimed during the trial. Suliga also had a boat named "Camelot". I guess it could be the three NJ "public servants" were all silent partners for some good reason. LLC's are a good vehicle to maintain secrecy.