Lisa Tilton Amends Tort Claim With County Board of Elections
The county, the Galloway Township Republican League and the township republican league's municipal leaders, as well as additional charges have been added.
Additional charges are part of an amended tort claim filed by township Clerk Lisa Tilton, and three more entities were added to the document previously filed with the Atlantic County Board of Elections.
Atlantic County, the Galloway Township Republican League and the Galloway Township Republican League Municipal Leader have been added to a notice of intent to sue, previously filed by Tilton.
The amended charges include: Aiding and abetting the violation of the CEPA (Conscientious Employee Protection Act) statute, a direct violation of CEPA statute, aiding and abetting violations of state and federal constitutional violations of Tilton’s First Amendment, 14th Amendment Rights, and other constitutional rights.
Tilton's amended tort notice indicates she intends to file a whistleblower's lawsuit. New Jersey's Conscientious Employee Protection Act, also known as the Whistleblower's Act, prohibits employers from retaliating against workers who report instances of alleged wrongdoing.
The $3 million in damages Tilton said in the tort notice she would seek against the county now applies to all three entities.
Anyone who intends to sue a government agency in New Jersey must first file notice with the agency within 90 days of an occurrence.
Galloway Township Republican League President Jenn Heller confirmed that the league had received notice of Tilton’s intent to sue, but had no comment. Tilton confirmed she was moving forward with charges against the municipal leader.
Galloway Township Republican League Municipal Leader Terry Lucarelli had yet to receive a tort notice, and had no comment.
Tilton stated that information came to light through discovery that led her to amend the tort claim, and forwarded all other comments through her attorney, David Castellani, who could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.
“I have no idea what our involvement in this would be,” said Atlantic County Executive Dennis Levinson, who also said he was unaware that the county had been added to the previous tort claim. “The Board of Elections is a separate entity. But people sue. And people sue government entities.
“If we are a part of this, we’ll have to respond accordingly. We’ll have to go to our legal counsel and do what we can do.”
The tort claim Tilton had filed against the Atlantic County Board of Elections alleged “damage to personal and business reputation, shock, humiliation, emotional distress, loss of past and future income, attorneys’ fees and punitive damages.
“The Board of Elections and the individual members and agents authored and published a false and misleading letters to claimant’s employer with malice and an intent to torturously interfere with claimant’s prospective and economic advantage and contract with her employer Galloway Township,” reads the tort, which was filed July 14.
“False light, invasion of privacy, libel, slander, trade libel, defamation per se, negligent and/or intentional misrepresentation,” as well as violation of federal and state statutes political retaliation, the first amendment of the New Jersey constitution right of political association, violation of election law and authority of the municipal clerk, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and conspiracy to commit the above mentioned common law torts and constitutional violations are also among the charges in the claim.
The claim has to do with election maps posted by Tilton in her capacity as municipal clerk for Galloway Township, a position she has since resigned from, effective Oct. 3.
Previously, Castellani had stated that the county board of elections contacted the township in reference to the posting of the maps it says she had no authority to post, and that that action resulted in her final discipline.
The map was unofficial, and was released to several media outlets, including Galloway Patch. Shortly after its posting, Tilton contacted Galloway Patch to clarify the map as unofficial, a disclaimer that was promptly posted to the website.
Tilton was suspended on June 10 of this year, and at a special hearing on July 18, she resigned from her post as township clerk and registrar of vital statistics following a deal struck between her attorney and attorneys representing Galloway Township.
As part of the deal, Tilton resigned in exchange for the township dropping all disciplinary charges against her. Also as part of that agreement, any and all claims involving Tilton, the township, members of council, Bonanni, other agents, servants and employees of the township and counsel of the township through July 18 were released.