Watchdog Group Sues County For Records Of Investigation Of Freeholder’s Son

UNION COUNTY- The Union County Watchdog Association (UCWA) has filed a lawsuit in Union County Superior Court seeking access to investigatory records involving a former county employee, Patrick Scanlon, Jr., who is the son of Freeholder Deborah Scanlon.

On March 30, UCWA President Tina Renna requested copies of “all investigations, including Union County Police, Sheriff and Prosecutor into the matter involving regarding former County employee Patrick Scanlon, Jr.” under the Open Public Records Act (OPRA.)

Renna’s complaint charges that the investigation of Scanlon, Jr. concerned allegations that he allegedly sold county property for personal gain.

On April 10, the county responded to the request, stating in part: “Please be advised that these documents are on file with the County Police; however, they are criminal investigatory records that are not subject to disclosure under the OPRA.”

Renna believes that the county’s investigation against Scanlon, Jr. has been closed without formal charges being filed.

The lawsuit contends that the public has a strong interest in learning the details of the county’s investigation to determine whether nepotism or favoritism played any role, and that the public’s interest in acquiring the documents outweighs any interest in continued secrecy that the county may have.

The UCWA is demanding the disclosure of the investigatory files maintained by the County Police on Patrick Scanlon, Jr., and award of costs of the lawsuit and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

A spokesperson for Union County, Sebastian D’Elia, said that he could not comment on the lawsuit.

Earlier this year, Freeholder Deborah Scanlon announced that she would not run for re-election because she wanted to make more time for her family.

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