Outgoing Township Clerk Lisa Tilton Files Tort Claim Against Galloway

All members of council are named with the exception of Mayor Keith Hartman.

Outgoing Clerk Lisa Tilton intends to sue Galloway Township, based on various counts of invasion of privacy, slander, libel and violation of a separation agreement she reached with the township on , among other claims, according to a tort notice obtained by Galloway Patch on Friday, Sept. 9.

Tilton will seek $3 million in damages, for past and future lost wages, emotional distress, mental anguish, damaged personal and business reputation, as well as attorney’s fees and costs, according to the notice. 

The claim also alleges violations of procedural due process and Rice Notice rights involving discussions about the position of the township clerk without notifying Tilton, and various violations of the state's Open Public Records Act.

The claim accuses the township of negligent and/or intentional violation of OPRA in releasing Tilton’s personnel records on Aug. 9 and 11.

False accusations against Tilton of threatening an appointee, malicious use of process and malicious abuse of process, and other charges are also addressed.

Tilton’s attorney, David Castellani, could not be reached for comment on Friday, Sept. 9. Township Solicitor Michael Blee did not return a call seeking comment on Friday, Sept. 9.

Tilton was suspended from her position as township clerk on , and reached settlement with the township on July 18 at the time of a scheduled special hearing to discuss her position. Tilton resigned as clerk, effective Oct. 3.

At the time, council agreed to indemnify Tilton in the event of any claims made in connection with her duties as registrar from June 13 to July 19, 2011.

The sides also agreed to mutual general releases, which would release the township, township council, Bonanni, township employees, counsel of the township and Tilton from any and all claims up to and including July 18.

Tilton also resigned as registrar of vital statistics, as well as from the planning board, a resignation that she has since rescinded.

, the current human resources director for the City of Wildwood, has been named the new township clerk, effective Oct. 4, at the same $64,429 salary Tilton earned in that position.

Earlier this summer, Tilton filed a separate tort claim against the , Atlantic County, the Galloway Township Republican League, and Galloway Township Republican League Municipal Leader Terry Lucarelli.

Those named in Tilton’s claim against the township include:

  • Deputy Township Clerk Carol Hackney;
  • Karen Bacon, who performs the duty of the clerk on a part-time basis;
  • Township Executive Secretary Diane Grams;
  • Township Manager Steve Bonanni;
  • Deputy Mayor Don Purdy;
  • Councilman Tony Coppola;
  • Councilman Tom Bassford;
  • Councilman Dennis Kleiner;
  • Councilman Jim Gorman; and
  • Councilwoman Whitney Ullman.

Deputy mayor 'not worried' about claims

Mayor Keith Hartman was the only member of council not included in the claim. Hartman recused himself from the July 18 hearing, at the request of Blee, Hartman said on Friday.

Hartman would not elaborate as to why he recused himself, only stating that he was asked to do so by Blee, and that he disagreed with the need for him to do so at the time.

“I could’ve rendered an impartial decision,” Hartman said. “I made several attempts to settle things amicably (between the township and the clerk). … I made attempts to reach an agreement without anyone being sued or hurt, but I’m just one person and I can’t do everything. I don’t control the decisions.

“I’m the only one who hasn’t done anything wrong.”

Tilton said Hartman "didn’t do anything improper that would warrant him being included with the members of the entity in which the claim was filed." She referred all other questions to her attorney.

Purdy said the exclusion of Hartman in the claim is curious.

“Isn’t it unusual that everyone on council is listed in the claim except the mayor?” Purdy said. “ … This shows a pattern of everybody getting sued. The list of people not (being sued) is shorter than the list of people that are.”

Purdy stated that while he was not “blown away” by the fact that Tilton was filing a suit, he was surprised. He added that he is “not worried about it.”

“It’s not on the top of my list,” Purdy said. “Of course we’re going to have to meet with our legal counsel to discuss it. It is what it is, and I’m going to move on in life.”

Neither Hartman nor Purdy were willing to discuss the specifics of the case, due to pending litigation.

Other members of council and Bonanni did not respond to messages seeking comment, or directed all comments to Blee.

Linda Titon September 11, 2011 at 01:12 PM
OMG! The taxpayer should be worried about about an employee being on vacation?? In reading the article, it states that Ms. Tilton resigned the position. In the statement Try This wrote, it states she is on vacation? So which is it? And does the vacation, if it is a vacation, end October 3rd?
GWAYTRUTH September 11, 2011 at 03:03 PM
Clearly one or two of the council members have a personal relationship with this individual that they wish to hide..... Why did the former clerk resign if her record is "clean"?
Paul Taylor September 11, 2011 at 03:41 PM
This all sounds like the ramblings of a desperate, washed-up public employee trying to have one last day in the son. Stop wasting our time and tax payers money and just GO AWAY! - Try that!
Lauren Burgoon September 11, 2011 at 04:03 PM
Shelley, Can you email me at lauren.burgoon@patch.com with around the approximate time that you left your comment? Our system doesn't show a comment registered from you -- it may be a bug in Patch and I'll pass it on to our tech help desk.
Shelley September 11, 2011 at 04:09 PM
Excuse me, but my comment was deleted and I would like to know why? It didn't have foul language, no harassment or one bit of a threat. So my comment was removed for another reason. And I know I didn't delete my comment. Is it because I mentioned that because of corruption in Galloway, all the elected positions need to be replaced?
Shelley September 11, 2011 at 04:28 PM
It's not just this article that comments have been deleted. I just checked the Variance Tounhouse article and quite a few comments were deleted there as well, my original comment included. Curiouser and curiouser.
finn September 11, 2011 at 07:47 PM
There are only 2 people to blame for this MESS. Ms Tilton and the Mayor. Or shall I say the Puppet and Puppeteer. It seems they have formed an unholy aliance. Maybe someone should find out where the Mayor lives now....is he still a Galloway resident
finn September 12, 2011 at 12:47 PM
Seems to me you know more than you are letting on Try THis! Let's see you must be one of Ms Tilton's supporters or maybe Ms. TIlton's alter ego or maybe her boyfriends alter ego. When the rest of the story is revealed I hope some of you will understand more fully how the law works when it comes to close session meetings.
say_you September 12, 2011 at 02:19 PM
“I’m the only one who hasn’t done anything wrong" per Mayor Hartman. lol. That is as big a lie as Bill Clinton's one liner (you know the one). Mr Hartman. Maybe you should have used the words "nothing illegal" instead of "nothing wrong".
say_you September 12, 2011 at 02:26 PM
Can we just leave it as to voting out any of the baffoons and not make this a political issue? When we do it brings us down to their level. OK The Mayor is republican. Ok what he is doing is a bit shady. I don't back him, many people in town don't back him, hell, even his own party does not back him. So lets get the issues out there where everyone can see and get him out so we can get this town on the right path again. Be that Republican or Democrat.
say_you September 12, 2011 at 02:28 PM
Mr Hartman and Mr Purdy were attached attached at the hip. Mr Purdy is only now trying to put as much distance as he can. This is all for political window dressing.
say_you September 12, 2011 at 02:32 PM
Try this. She is not coming back. She is using built up vacation time. This was the agreement reached. Would you have the town just leave the Clerk office unattended until Oct 3? C'mon man.
say_you September 12, 2011 at 02:35 PM
This is a case of everyone knows what went on but no one is willing to say. I wish someone in that room would just say Enough is Enough. This is what happened and if it comes down on the mayor and damages his "reputation" So be it.
say_you September 12, 2011 at 02:37 PM
I for one WANT the real story out there. Why don't you be the first to tell it? Please. But Keith & Lisa would not like you then.
Mary Gribbin September 12, 2011 at 06:39 PM
say_you September 12, 2011 at 07:26 PM
Let's not leave out the Zoning Board. After the back room deal that was worked out with them and Mr Risley (and a prod from the Mayor) they should all go to.
Mary Gribbin September 12, 2011 at 07:32 PM
John Doe September 12, 2011 at 08:06 PM
This sounds allot like the ramblings of a poster by the alias "Den Klein" who no longer writes in after being called out as being Lisa Tilton. I bet this is her too. After all there are only three people who like Hartman, Lisa Tilton , Carl Crowley ,Chris Eaton at least the two men post as themselves so that leaves Tilton, case closed!
say_you September 12, 2011 at 08:13 PM
Please. I wish everyone would not make this political. Yea there a couple shady republicans in there right now. We had a couple bad Dems before also, and we got them out. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Let’s get ALL the bad out, regardless of the party. Call the bad ones out "D" or "R". We know who they are and what they have done. We can't post what they did in public for fear of being sued (well unless you have a "relationship" with the one suing. But we can let our friends and neighbors know (in private) in order that they can make an informed decision as to their vote.
Joe B September 12, 2011 at 08:56 PM
Ms. Gribbin, you may want to check your facts: the Mayor does not take a salary. The salary for the council members, which allocated in the annual Township budget, is less than $8,000 per year. That's less than what most students make working a part time job.
GWAYTRUTH September 12, 2011 at 09:53 PM
Try This aka Den Klein aka "Vacationing" Twp. Clerk?
Mary Gribbin September 12, 2011 at 09:58 PM
So sorry! I did not know the mayor doesn't get paid. I am very impressed.
say_you September 13, 2011 at 12:49 AM
Hey Green. You lose all credibility when you just pound on one party. I agree with most of what you say. Hartman is a huge problem. So is another republican member on council. And another just likes the publicity. But dishonesty does not belong to any one particular party. Lets go after the particular PEOPLE not any party. If you don't you look like nothing more than the "D" campaign manager. BTW Good point about if Hartman would cheat his employees why would the taxpayers be safe.
Keep Galloway Green September 13, 2011 at 01:55 AM
Say You....Who's running in next election?.....3 Republicans & 3 Democrats....The Democrats favor developing the White Horse Pike (makes more sense) than what the Republicans favor ( Tearing down the Municipal Complex & selling the Soccer Fields). Just on that fact...I favor the Democrats...Now factor in all these Republican approved separation agreeements & wasting money to fight the DEP...& I'm more convinced everyone should vote for Democrats. But hey...If you don't like the Republicans nor the Democrats....Vote for me...The Green Giant!....(Does that give me more credability?)....lol
say_you September 13, 2011 at 02:34 AM
Na. You do have some good points though. I think Ill split my ticket and vote the person not the party. If our entire country did this we could rid ourselves of the quagmire we are in locally all the way up to nationally.
Damon Taylor September 13, 2011 at 03:56 AM
say you - Are you willing to take another 7 years with the same old / same old ? If so then vote for the R's. In my mind , the D's look unified / full of new ideas - and having a plan...... elections have consequences. Galloway can't afford any more consequences.
Keep Galloway Green September 13, 2011 at 01:45 PM
How's this for credability....Vote For The Green Giant!.....Free Green Beans for everybody...& maybe I'll throw in a stick of butter!....lol......Somehow I find it hard to take this council seriously.
ccj September 14, 2011 at 10:52 PM
Can anyone explain this story? I read the above and still don't quite understand. Ms Tilton, the town clerk, seems to have done something she shouldn't have (maybe distribute voting district maps or something). As a result the town manager suspended her. After being on possibly forced vacation for most of the summer she resigned. She then sued the town for $3 Million. It seems like she had earlier sued the county's election board for the same amount months before. Is she just looking for some shut up and go away money or was she really harmed? If she was harmed was it the town or the county election board that harmed her? Lastly, how exactly does the mayor play into it? It seems that there are implications of an improper relationship, which I'm assuming is what's behind the mayor not continuing to run to take care of family. This might be the craziest town in the craziest state in the country. How does a nice little south Jersey town get so nutty?
Michael Guenther September 15, 2011 at 01:33 AM
Beats me. It all seems incredibly convoluted and toxic doesn't it. You need a scorecard and flow charts to keep track of everything somebody is hopping mad about. When did the politics in my home town get crazier than AC anyway? Maybe it will be for the best in the long run
Linda Titon October 15, 2011 at 04:02 PM
Does anyone know WHY Ms. Tilton resigned?


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