Jackson Township to pay for legal services for ex-officials subpoenaed by feds

JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ – Federal authorities have subpoenaed personal emails, phone records, and documents of former elected officials involved in the federal civil rights case filed against the township. Now, the township will vote on Tuesday whether or not the taxpayer should pay for those legal fees.

We broke this story last month: Jackson Township officials subpoenaed by Department of Justice agents.

Last month, federal authorities issued subpoenas for personal emails, texts, and other documents related to the U.S. Department of Justice’s ongoing federal civil rights lawsuit against the township. The lawsuit names several former and past elected officials and township employees with Mayor Michael Reina being the center of the investigation.

Reina, along with former Councilmen Rob Nixon and Barry Calogero, who have since resigned their positions were issued subpoenas by the federal government along with Ken Bressi, who did not run for re-election in 2020.

The Jackson Township Council will vote on a measure that could provide those former employees with potentially millions of dollars in legal representation.

“Any former Township employee or official who requests legal representation as a result of discovery requests or Subpoenas issued in any matter in which the Township of Jackson is currently a litigant shall be provided appropriate counsel, to be determined by the Township, solely with respect to said discovery matters. Such representation shall be limited to the representation of said individual with respect to Subpoenas or other discovery requests received for such litigation currently pending,” an ordinance drafted by township Attorney Gregory P. McGuckin read.

“It is in the best interest of Jackson Township to ensure that its former officials are provided appropriate legal representation since they have been Subpoenaed based upon their prior role as officials of the Township and therefore the Township’s interests should be protected to the greatest extent possible,” McGuckin said.

McGuckin’s law firm will most likely be the firm paid out through this agreement for legal services.

The probe against Reina and the council is a civil matter, but FBI agents have also been interviewing some township residents with close ties to Reina since September regarding a possible developing criminal probe against certain township officials. FBI investigators have asked several residents, including staff members at Shore News Network about the actions and activities of Reina and other members of the council regarding commercial and residential developments in town. Agents have inquired about Reina’s relationships with builders and other professional building service contractors that do business in Jackson.

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