Following in the footsteps of the reward offered for the capture of the Smithville CVS robber, former Galloway Township Clerk Lisa Tilton is offering $2,500 to anyone who has information that can lead to the arrest and conviction of the person or people behind threats issued to former mayor Keith Hartman in 2011.
In fact, according to Tilton, that’s exactly where she got the idea.
“This is along the same lines,” said Tilton, who said the idea first came to her while appearing on the “Open Mic” with Mike Assad radio show Saturday morning, Jan. 26. “People shouldn’t look at the amount. They should just come forward, but if it helps someone come forward, then I want to do it.”
During the 2011 municipal elections, then-mayor Hartman claimed he received threats from Roy Foster, which forced him to limit his public appearances. At one point, Galloway Township Police received an anonymous tip that Hartman had been found dead in his home. That tip turned out to be false.
As Hartman limited his public appearances, he fell victim to statute and was removed from office. He subsequently lost his bid for re-election.
According to Hartman, the threats ceased once he was removed from office. Although the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office was notified and opened an official investigation, Hartman stated he hadn’t been in touch with law enforcement officials about the investigation since leaving office.
“I assumed that once I was out of office they probably let the investigation go,” Hartman stated by email Monday afternoon. “I don't know if it is still an active investigation or not.”
The Prosecutor’s Office didn’t respond to request for comment Monday afternoon. It is the Prosecutor’s Office’s policy not to comment on an ongoing investigation, and the office has made no mention of the investigation since the file was opened last year.
Tilton was recently awarded $250,000 in a lawsuit settlement with the township. She indicated she wouldn’t be able to offer this reward “without that financial backing.”
Tilton’s lawsuit centered on the actions of former Manager Steve Bonanni and former councilman Dennis Kleiner.
Following the council meeting of Oct. 25, 2011, Kleiner commented on a rumored extramarital affair between Hartman and Tilton while council was still in session and opened to the public. Hartman and Tilton have denied those allegations.
“ I don't comment on rumors,” Hartman said on Monday. “ I reiterate my previous statement that I look forward to finding out who did this so that it clears my name and the person is brought to justice and made an example of.”
According to Hartman, he didn't know Tilton was going to offer the reward prior to the announcement on the radio.
Tilton stated she would like to see justice done, no matter the victim.
“People will think what they want to think,” Tilton said. “Those allegations are completely false. It was political propaganda used against him. This was done to somebody, and whoever did this should be brought to justice.”
Tilton is directing anyone who has information to contact the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800.
She is offering the reward through March 27, 2013.