Letter to the editor, by: Joan Zehrer of Lumberton
Allegations of collusion by Lumberton’s Solicitor and the employment of his law firm, Parker McCay, by the MHMUA, are being made by Lumberton Candidates Benson & Hatfield.
According to the MHMUA online minutes from 2011-2015, the MHMUA entered into yearly contractual agreements with Attorney Mushinski at Parker McCay to be their solicitor plus separate agreements for the firm to act as Bond Counsel. In 2016 and 2017 the contracts were for Bond Counsel only. Parker McCay is comprised of over 60 lawyers. Attorney Mushinski is not Lumberton’s Solicitor.
After the MHMUA’s longtime Special Counsel of 38 years retired in January 2013, they employed Special Counsels from other firms as well as a Bond Counsel and Solicitor. According to the MUA minutes for the last 7 years, Parker McCay was never their Special Counsel. Lumberton’s Special Counsel, not the Town Solicitor, handles any issues Lumberton has with the MUA via the MUA’s Special Counsel.
Really, if an “ethical or conflict of interest issue” exists, then why does the MHMUA continue – to this day – retaining Parker McCay under contract for anything? Probably because a Special Counsel, Bond Counsel and Solicitor provide legal expertise for a client in different disciplines.
Benson & Hatfield refer to Lumberton’s Special Counsel as being politically connected. Well this year, the recently formed four attorney firm under contract to the MUA as Special Counsel is Rainone Coughlin Minchello, LLC. Partner Craig Coughlin (D) is currently a NJ State Assemblyman. Is that not a political connection?
As to the candidates’ remarks regarding political campaign contributions, it is [still] legal for an individual to financially support the candidate(s) of their choosing, regardless of who the contributor’s employer has business dealings with.
Joan Zehrer, Lumberton
Editor’s note: The opinions in this letter are the author’s only.
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