Ethics Board Dismisses Dean's Complaint Against Marder; Cites Lack of Evidence
The board determined there was not enough evidence to continue investigating the complaint.
The complaint reached the board in late October, but Wednesday night's meeting yielded a dismissal on the grounds that there simply was not enough evidence to prove Marder's husband's business with the township was unethical.
Dean alleged that Marlboro Township's use of a Manalapan printing company is unethical because the firm, Inkwell Global, is owned by the Marder's husband. Dean supplied township records, including invoices from the company, as evidence.
The largest amount on the invoices is around $360. By law, a business is subject to a Township Council vote and public bid process if the business receives more than $17,500 from the township. Marder said the bills have never exceeded the legal limit.
The ethics complaint also called into question Mayor Jon Hornik and Councilman Frank LaRocca, however Dean was informed by the Ethics Board that if he wished to make complaints against the two, it would need to be separate from a complaint against Marder.
Hornik said the township has never had a contract with Inkwell Global, and the amount of services do not require a contract. According to Hornik, Inkwell supplies marketing tools for programs such as the Shop Marlboro initiative, at cost.
Throughout the seven-month process, Dean questioned the ability of the Ethics Board to make the decision, asking it the complaint could be moved to a state level where perceived conflicts of interested would be avoided.
"Some of you even go out to eat with the mayor," Dean said to the board at a March meeting.
Although the board received the complaint late last year, it only took jurisdiction in March of this year. Throughout those months, the board was coming up to speed on the state and township codes as well as letting their new board attorney, Kenneth Biedzynski, come up to speed. The board's volunteer attorney stepped down shortly after the board received Dean's complaint.
Because it no longer has a volunteer attorney, the board has exceeded its annual budget allotted by the township, and in May requested more funds.
At Wednesday's meeting, the board said now that it has exceeded its $2,500 limit for attorney fees, it will approach the town for a budget of $750 to $1,000 per month, as agreed upon by Biedzynski.