Former Township Manager to be Represented by Haddonfield Attorney in Tilton Lawsuit
Bonanni will be represented by Mike Madden, of Haddonfield.
Former Galloway Township Manager Steve Bonanni will not be represented by the same attorney who is representing the township in the lawsuit filed by former Township Clerk Lisa Tilton, Township Solicitor Michael Fitzgerald confirmed via email Friday afternoon, Oct. 5.
Bonanni will instead be represented by Mike Madden of Madden and Madden Law Firm in Haddonfield, Fitzgerald said. According to Fitzgerald, the Atlantic County Municipal Joint Insurance Fund (JIF), which insures the township, determined that "a separate attorney is appropriate," for Bonanni in this case.
He didn't elaborate further. Madden didn't immediately return a phone message seeking comment on Friday.
The complaint charges Bonanni with sexual harassment and alleges a conspiracy between Bonanni and former Councilman Dennis Kleiner, citing a "vendetta" to remove Tilton from her position with the township.
Bonanni was an employee of the township for 33 years. He served as the Director of Public Works, and was the Acting Township Manager from February, 2011-January, 2012. He resigned effective Jan. 31, 2012, and hasn't worked for the township in any capacity since.
It was Bonanni who suspended Tilton in June of 2011, which led to an eventual agreement between Tilton and the township for Tilton’s resignation. Tilton claims the township violated that agreement, and has since filed the lawsuit.
In the suit, Tilton alleges Bonanni subjected her to numerous and substantial sexually explicit comments, including comments about her body, her clothes and requests to engage in an extramarital affair. She also claims he issued three reprimands for "pre-textual reasons," as punishment relating to a complaint she previously filed against Kleiner, and asked her to violate the law by tailoring an advertisement for the position of Chief Financial Officer so that Marilyn Dolcy could meet the requirements.
The full list of defendants named in the suit is as follows: the Township of Galloway; Bonanni, in his individual and official capacity; Mayor Don Purdy, in his individual and official capacity; Deputy Mayor Tony Coppola, in his individual and official capacity; Kleiner; current council members Tom Bassford, Jim Gorman, Brian Tyrrell and Whitney Ullman, each in their individual and official capacities; Blee in both his capacity with the township and the Law Office of Michael Blee; Township Clerk Thalia Kay, in her official capacity; Registrar of Vital Statistics Carol Hackney, in her official capacity; and former Acting Township Clerk Karen Bacon, in her official capacity.