Crabb, Vohden, Mudrick and the lawyer who got paid big time
That bang you heard yesterday afternoon was the sound of the Crabb-Vohden-Mudrick attack crashing into the woods and burning. The three little pigs launched a media attack aimed at Freeholders Phoebus and Graham; Assemblyman Space; Senator Oroho; Morris County Freeholders Lyon, Krickus, Scapicchio, and Cesaro; as well as dozens of mayors and local elected officials in Sussex and Morris counties.
Crabb, Vohden, and Mudrick got help from a strange place. A lawyer named Michael Stein launched a similarly timed attack through a public relations firm hired for the occasion. What makes it so strange is that Sussex County was battling lawyer Stein in court last September, trying to keep lawyers' hands off $920,000 of taxpayers' money.
In September 2014, attorneys for Sussex County went to court on an effort to stop a payment of $920,000 in legal fees that they said were "inappropriately drawn from monies designated for (the) solar project." The legal bills came from the dispute between SunLight General and its subcontractor, Power Partners MasTec. Somehow Sussex County ended up responsible for paying the legal bills for their dispute.
The lawyers who had billed and were due the money were Stein's firm, Pashman Stein PC, and Cole Schotz Meisel Forman & Leonard PA. They had already been paid $180,000 so the $920,000 brought them up to a cool $1.1 million.
Sussex County made a strong argument: "The money so raised was intended solely to construct certain solar energy projects on publicly-owned buildings and publicly-owned land for the ultimate benefit of the citizen taxpayer," the brief said. "As those projects are far from complete, particularly in Sussex County, preservation of the funds is essential. Depleting the funds to pay for attorneys' fees to be incurred in a contractual dispute between the contractor and its subcontractor would be a misuse of those public funds."
Of course, the judge sided with the lawyers and against the taxpayers. Another $1.1 million flushed away.
And Freeholder Director Phil Crabb still persists in saying that we shouldn't go back and look into how Sussex County screwed up so bad. You know who he sounds like, don't you?