MILLVILLE — City Commission has voted to settle one of three lawsuits filed against the municipality by members of the local Police Department.
The city will pay Patrolman Edmund Ansara $9,257.27 for overtime he lost while suspended for providing information about an alleged ticket-fixing incident three years ago.
The resolution approved 5-0 by the commission Tuesday also pays Ansara an additional $35,000. That money will come from the city’s joint insurance fund.
City Commission approved the resolution without comment.
The city several months ago agreed to pay Ansara $65,000 in legal fees. City Commission found Ansara was disciplined under departmental charges that were ultimately found to be unsustainable.
Ansara and Lt. Edward Zadroga both sued the city, alleging they were unfairly disciplined and harassed for providing information about an alleged ticket-fixing incident involving one of their captains.
Ansara said he followed orders to void a traffic ticket he wrote Nov. 7, 2011. Zadroga claims to have told the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office about the incident two weeks later. Ansara eventually gave testimony about the alleged ticket fix to the Prosecutor’s Office.
The person who received the ticket for allegedly running the red light at Main and Buck streets is not identified by name in either lawsuit. Zadroga’s lawsuit identifies the person as the daughter of a retired police officer and a family friend of the Police Department captain who ordered the ticket voided.
Ansara stated in his lawsuit that he wound up being suspended from Feb. 27, 2012, through March 17, 2013. He further charged that he was “humiliated by being pegged as the individual making up an alleged ticket-fixing scheme” and that he had “inappropriate comments continually directed at him by supervisors.”
In his lawsuit, Zadroga states he has endured “a steady barrage of retaliation” because he reported the alleged ticket-fixing to the Prosecutor’s Office. The retaliation, he said, included having a stuffed rat placed in front of his office door and “being targeted for unwarranted discipline.”
Another lawsuit still pending against the city was filed by Detective Jeremy Miller. Miller charges that some Police Department detectives are closing burglary, robbery, sexual assault, shooting and aggravated assault cases before investigations into those crimes are complete.
Miller further claims in his lawsuit that he was treated unfairly after refusing to take sides in ongoing disputes involving Zadroga and Police Chief Thomas Haas. Part of that dispute involved an alleged effort by Zadroga to remove Haas as chief, Miller’s lawsuit states.
Miller, a 10-year-veteran of the Police Department, alleges his decision to stay neutral prompted Zadroga to unfairly give him more cases to investigate than other detectives, the lawsuit continues.
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