A partial audio recording obtained by the I-Group seems to present the mayor of Irvington, New Jersey, and his township legal professional providing a job promotion and wage enhance to a municipal worker — in alternate for the employee’s spouse dropping her 2014 declare of sexual harassment in opposition to the mayor and the city.
Within the recording, which paperwork a pre-trial dialogue about settling the lawsuit, Mayor Tony Vauss and Irvington Township Legal professional Ramon Rivera provide job advantages price “a lot of money” to Carl Brown, the husband of Tamara Smith, a former township code enforcement officer who accused Vauss of sexually violating her contained in the Irvington municipal constructing.
“What we’re willing to talk about is an increase for Carl which, you know, would be a salary increase, an annual increase in his base which he would receive every year for a period of time which would amount to a lot of money over a long period,” stated Rivera. “That’s something we could do as soon as Monday and resolve the case.”
Within the dialog, secretly recorded by Smith, Vauss acknowledged that he was not keen to talk about a money settlement to his accuser, however he would agree for compensation to be paid to her husband.
“The reason we’re talking about compensating you is because we have a different opinion of what happened here – as far as who is the victim and who’s not the victim,” Vauss advised Brown. “So compensating you is something I’m willing to do because you may be the victim in this scenario.”
The settlement negotiations finally broke down and Mayor Vauss was victorious in a jury trial. His legal professionals efficiently argued the mayor was being focused by an worker with ulterior motives and credibility issues.
Nonetheless, some Irvington taxpayers had been disillusioned to hear a municipal job was used as a bargaining chip in settlement negotiations over a sexual misconduct declare.
“I don’t agree with it,” stated Golden Robinson, a longtime Irvington resident. “You get a job on your merits.”
Singer Irie, one other taxpayer who’s known as Irvington residence for many years, stated the recording raises questions on how the Township has dealt with different authorized settlements.
“How do we know how much more of this is going on?” Irie stated. “People must get their jobs because of their skill.”
Quite a lot of federal and state corruption legal guidelines forbid providing taxpayer sources in return for private profit, however former prosecutors say the legality of the mayor’s conduct relies on his intent.
“If the public official’s intent was to benefit himself it could be a crime but if he was trying to benefit the municipality the conduct may be permitted,” stated Chuck Rosenberg, a former federal prosecutor. “There’s a big difference between something that’s awful and something that’s unlawful.”
Mayor Vauss didn’t reply to questions from the I-Group. Up to now he has flatly denied Tamara Smith’s sexual harassment declare, calling it “outrageous” and “far-fetched.”
Township Legal professional Ramon Rivera, who did a lot of the speaking on the audio recording, emailed a press release defending the settlement negotiations.
“The meeting which you are referring to was a routine settlement discussion with the Plaintiffs,” Rivera wrote. “Importantly, the meeting, which was surreptitiously recorded, took place in Plaintiff’s attorney’s office 8 years ago. Plaintiffs rejected all attempts to settle and the Mayor and Township were ultimately successful at trial where Plaintiff was also found to have defamed the Mayor and ordered to pay damages. It is also noteworthy that the Judge barred the Plaintiff from using the subject recording at the trial.”
Although the jury ordered Tamara Smith to pay $7,000 in damages for defaming Mayor Vauss, she says won’t ever pay it and stands by her sexual assault allegation. After the jury sided with Vauss, Smith was fired from her code enforcement officer job after allegedly issuing a poor summons to the mayor’s ex-wife. She unsuccessfully appealed to get her job again and now works within the personal sector.
Her husband, Carl, now works as Irvington’s Superintendent of Sanitation. Had he accepted the 2014 job provide in return for dropping the sexual harassment swimsuit, Smith says the extra employment advantages would have amounted to a authorized settlement disguised as common municipal payroll.
“If any money was coming out of the Township of Irvington, I think the residents – if they had to pay for it – they have a right to know where their money is being spent,” Smith stated.