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Judge Dismisses West Deptford's Lawsuit Against Fulton Bank

The lawsuit contended that the township shouldn't have to pay $4.1 million of a loan used for construction of the RiverWinds golf course and tennis center.

The township can't get out of paying $4.1 million of a loan used for construction of the golf course and tennis center at RiverWinds, a judge has ruled. 

State Superior Court Judge Anne McDonnell on Friday dismissed West Deptford's lawsuit against Fulton Bank, which contended the lender had not provided documentation fully detailing how that portion of the $10 million loan was spent. 

The township filed the lawsuit in September, seeking a complete accounting from the bank, and asking that loan be reduced by $4.1 million. 

The judge found the township was bound by the original loan guaranty signed in 2001, but she did not rule on the issue of whether the $4.1 million had been properly accounted for. 

Attorney Christopher Gibson, who represented Fulton Bank in the lawsuit, said his client was relieved by the judge's ruling. 

"It’s been an ordeal, and we’re very happy with Judge McDonnell's decision," he said Friday afternoon, following the hearing in Woodbury. "This is over, unless West Deptford continues to waste its taxpayers' time and money."

Fulton Bank was in the process of compiling the documents the township had requested when the the lawsuit was filed, Gibson said. 

McDonnell denied Gibson's motion seeking attorney's fees from the township. The judge also denied a motion by Fulton Bank to sanction Mark Cimino, the township's redevelopment attorney, for filing a frivolous lawsuit. 

Cimino said Friday evening he isn't sure if the township will continue to pursue the case. 

"I respectfully disagree with the judge’s ruling and there are certain avenues for appeal, but I need to discuss that with committee," he said in an interview.

Cimino denied Gibson's assertion that the lawsuit was politically motivated. Township committee is now under Republican control, but was led by Democrats when the township became a guarantor of the loan. 

"This isn’t a political issue," Cimino said. "This is about the committee as a whole taking responsible steps to protect the people of West Deptford.

"We’re talking about public money here. There hasn’t been an accounting as to where the money really went. There aren't any invoices to back that up."

Read more of West Deptford Patch's coverage on the RiverWinds loan:

  • Cimino: $4.5 Million Disappeared in RiverWinds Golf and Tennis Project
  • West Deptford Committee OKs Court Petition on RiverWinds Loan Info
  • West Deptford Files Court Petition on RiverWinds Loan Documents
  • Former Township Official Calls RiverWinds Loan Inquiry 'Politically Motivated'

 

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Jesse Salters@gmail.com November 17, 2012 at 12:04 PM
The township has now wasted over $200,000 on this amateur attorney Mark Cimino for political stunts. How much longer will Sam and Ray continue to dump our money down the drain on this guy. I expected them to be more prudent with our taxpayer money and am very disappointed. How much has Cimino given to the republican party over the last 2 years? This pay to play scheme has got to stop!
noresponsenovote November 17, 2012 at 01:25 PM
The judge's ruling not withstanding, the township docuuments that detail how the funds were spent, and the accounting methods applied to control and track that spending, are a joke. Gerry White should be ashamed of himself. Even if no criminal actions can be sustained, he's either a complete and total incompetent, or he's complicit in funds being stolen and no one has uncovered it - yet.
villanness November 17, 2012 at 03:34 PM
what did the township waste in the past 20 years. a lot more than now,but with the 2% raise that was voted on the other day that's a lot more tham a drop in the bucket of 200,000 at least angelini didn't get any of that. of course west deptford is the sewer of gloucester county seems like a lot of waste and garbage moved here in the past 30 years,not too many orginal families live in west deptford
Occupant November 17, 2012 at 04:15 PM
One wonders if Fulton's attorney is politically connected as is Sen. Sweeney's .. Can you say "Pro Bono"? What does that tell you.
Few & Proud November 17, 2012 at 04:21 PM
The fundamental point is not what any one political party did or did not do but what did the previous administrations including gerry white, dave shields and/or anna docimo, and the rest of the committee members signed off of our the residents' rights to a fair inquiry and control of money that has been placed on the shoulders of the residents, UNCONDITIONALLY,without any accountability either by the bank or by those individuals who represented our community. So if you are happy to give your hard earned wages to anyone who irresponsibly spends the money without any question from you of how it was to be spent, then you deserve everything that comes your way, especially the bad. The township administration 10 years ago gave up our rights to question where that money was going, so they obtained some unscrupulous The Bank officials to go along with the ploy and as Judge McDonnell in her decision that the agreement was non-conditional and irrevocable. She did not comment whether the action of the Bank on how the money was spent was valid.
Another voice November 17, 2012 at 05:57 PM
You keep going Mark Cimino! Everyone conveniently forgets that it was your perseverance that exposed the egregious sunshine law violations of this county that forced the unprecedented appointment of an oversight judge. The "amateur" attorney who was proved correct against the experienced state senator! Your logic is nonexistent on this one Jesse. Those violations are so indicative of the shameful type of "governing" that has been so much a part of this county and previous township administration. Every time someone posts about Cimino or Ogozalek and pay to play, I have to laugh out loud. 20 years of political shenanigans, including the inability to even ESTIMATE what we've paid in legal fees over those years. And you want to blame Cimino?!
Wayne Klotz November 17, 2012 at 07:45 PM
Well, finally a judge who has said that we cannot sue Fulton bank! WHY?! I guess the only one who can answer that is mr.cimino himself since his friends that control this town is paying him a fortune!! Ask yourselves a question: why did this happen and do we need another change? You people wanted change, well u got it!!!
Bob November 18, 2012 at 12:21 PM
I don't live in West deptford,Thank God!, but thanks for the nice place you have built, I enjoy the place.
Occupant November 18, 2012 at 02:19 PM
This has been going on for the last 20+ years, Where was your voice then? When you mention that you expect them to be more prudent with taxpayer money. Sam and Ray voted NO to salary increases, the "Others" voted YES.. Please redirect your disappointment to the proper party.
Samantha McCall November 18, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Wayne, ask yourself this question.....Do you think that is was ok that the previous administration allowed this fight with Sunoco go on for over 20 years? I moved here that long ago and heard about it, I thought it was settled years ago, only to find out it was the same lawsuit. Do you think that is OK? Also, do you think that it was OK for this township to not have a ledger for all of these years, and to document in pencil? I cannot run my household without knowing where my money has gone the previous months, and figure out my budget. Please, Wayne, just answer these questions. It seems that all of your responses are to bash the republicans, well, I am a registered republican, always unaffiliated until last year, and I take offense to some of the things that you say. Unfortunately, I worked with you at the polls, and I found you to be nice, you were very pleasant to people when they came in. And then, you were talking to a man about something that should not have been discussed and you were called on it, and his response was, "must be republican." That was uncalled for, and completely out of line. This entire situation in this township is a complete disgrace, and a waste of taxpayers money. And we have the big democratic machine to blame for it, I am not saying the registered democrats in this town, just the machine. This have nothing to do with parties, and everything to do with right and wrong. And what is wrong, this town was pillaged, and no one ever said a word.
Madeline Fucci November 18, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Trying to talk logic and reason to some people is an exercise in futility. It's like whistling in the wind. If the taxpayers in this town want a return to the policies that have been mired in cronyism and total incompetence, they are past the point of no return relegating this community to be an abysmal failure because of blind party loyalty. The truth does not bear a Democrat or Republican label. it is conformity to fact or actuality.
LOL November 18, 2012 at 08:47 PM
madeline your last comment may be too deep for KLUTZ to comprehend. you should have used more intelligent wording for him such as see spot run,jane pet spot
Occupant November 19, 2012 at 01:32 AM
I don't care who you are .. Dat-Dere-is-Funny

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