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UPDATE: Embattled Morristown Zoning Officer to Resign

John Fugger's resignation due to eligibility for pension, not because of charges he's facing, attorney says.

Morristown Zoning Board Officer John Fugger, accused in October of harassing a female employee, has announced his resignation from his $83,469 a year job with the town effective March 9, his attorney said Tuesday.

Peter Gilbreth, Fugger's attorney, said his client planned to retire regardless of the pending criminal complaints levied against him by a female town employee, as his 25th anniversary with the town is March 1, qualifying Fugger for his pension. He also is entitled to compensation for unused sick days and vacation time, of which "he has accumulated many," Gilbreth said.

Fugger was suspended without pay from his job as the town's zoning officer in October after a female employee filed a complaint stating he had made unwanted calls to her after hours, despite being told to stop.

"He gave the letter effective March 9 that he would be resigning," Gibreth said. "We worked out a final settlement because he's been there 25 years."

Gilbreth said the resignation has nothing to do with the pending criminal charge of harassment, which the attorney said carries only a maximum fine of $500 were Fugger found guilty.

"They are apples and oranges," Gilbreth said, comparing Fugger's "petty disorderly persons offense" to other violations like jaywalking.

"It's the least serious kind of violation of law you can have short of a town ordinance like not returning a library book or turning your dog loose," he said.

Fugger has not been named in any civil lawsuits related to the incident, Gilbreth said. 

The case was scheduled to be heard last week in Long Hill Township (because Fugger is a town employee it could not be held in Morristown), but that "discovery" evidence had not been fully compiled and the case had to be adjourned, Gilbreth said. A case management conference was scheduled for Feb. 7.

When asked if the case had been intentionally dragged out long enough so Fugger's pension would not be put in jeopardy, Gilbreth said, "it sounds like it has gone long but it really hasn't."

Gilbreth said he did not believe his client's pension would be affected even if he were found guilty but referred the question to Vij Pawar, the town attorney, who could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Lisa Manshel, the employee's attorney, declined comment on Tuesday. 

Manshel, of the law firm of Francis and Manshel, of Millburn, submitted a tort claim to the Town of Morristown on Dec. 18 on behalf of her client for damages. It stated Fugger had subjected Manshel's client "to a pattern of stalking, sexual harassment and retaliation for rejection of his advances" since 2009. Despite Manshel's client filing a police report and Fugger being instructed not to contact her, the suit claims on Nov. 17, 2012, he again left the female co-worker a harassing voicemail message.

The town released a statement Wednesday regarding Fugger's resignation, noting the town would not be able to comment further as it is a continuing legal matter.

"The Town always strives to create a healthy, productive work environment for all of its employees," the statement begins. "This is reflected in the Town's strict and thorough personnel procedure for reporting harassment allegations. As soon as a harassment complaint was filed against Mr. Fugger, he was immediately suspended and removed from the work place. The Town took this administrative step the same day the harassment complaint was filed to send a message that such allegations are taken seriously, and to ensure that all employees are free from any kind of harassment that is disruptive to the work environment."

The statement goes on to note that an "outside independent investigator" was hired to interview witnesses and "engage in an impartial fact finding investigation.

"However, the Town will not take any further administrative action because Mr. Fugger had already submitted a letter of resignation, and will not be returning to Town Hall," the statement reads.

This story was updated to include the Town of Morristown response.

K.W. January 30, 2013 at 08:10 PM
Word on the street is this lady is going to get 5 million when she sues Morristown. She has complained multiple times about Fugger and he just kept harassing her. Mr. Fugger must have some serious dirt on Dougherty if Morristown is really going to give this guy his pension after all this. We can't let Fugger cost the town $5 Million AND grant him his pension, can we????
I plead the 2nd tchk tchk January 30, 2013 at 08:16 PM
As I said, not on my watch will he get his pension. The corruption is intertwined in this town hall, you are correct in Fugger's dirt on everyone else. It is time for a cleansing and fumigation. I said earlier on one of my other statements that was erased, that I smelled the corruption when i walked in that building for the first time 10 years ago. I have a lot of experience with government corruption and bad ethics and can recognize it easily. It is one of my few useless talents.
Cameron Wallace January 30, 2013 at 11:25 PM
'dairy aires' is Hee-LAR-ious LMFAO (laughing my French ass off) but seriously did anyone think the delay was for litigious reasons it's a shame Morristown has to pay the victim punitive damages should come from the pension and sick day fund in order to be truely punitive
SockPuppet January 30, 2013 at 11:28 PM
"Dairy aires"? Whoa, dude!
Cameron Wallace January 30, 2013 at 11:50 PM
<<He was a no nonsense Professional. . >> Obviously, we haven't worked with the same man. What would you say about someone was illinformed and unresponsive about helping to make an inaccessible Dr.s office accessible to wheelchair users no nonsense? professional? ....ummmm as soon as Fritz Ruess (head of constuction) was notified-engineers plans are done, presentation is being prepared..... coincidence? I think not
Bonnie Arnold Haynes January 31, 2013 at 12:02 AM
If the town pays money, it is not about 1 victim and 1 white man. Its about what The town as a, and I don't know what kind of entity it is, but its he whole shebang. One guy wouldn't make it to small claims court, much less 5 million dollars. Where are the yearly employee reviews? Who gave them, reviewed them and ultimately Signed off on them? Because if all the boys forgot to mention a woman or anyone else, Was being harrassed that is so much bigger. Wish I were a lawyer because that Is a different crime and punishment. Mr. Pawar, or any of the othet lawyers crawling Around could explain that.... has anyone heard from the towns legal counsel? Or The other guy who was getting 4500 A WEEK, that Christie got rid of. He wanted an extra Month. Is there a citizens review board?
Liz Moore January 31, 2013 at 12:09 AM
When it says Morristown and Fugger worked out the final settlements, who exactly is Morristown? I never saw anything on the agenda. Who made this decision? If it was the mayor behind closed doors AGAIN, I am finished with that man! I intend to ask about this at the next council meeting. If the women on that council went along with this, I am finished with them too. This is a disgrace to women everywhere.
Bonnie Arnold Haynes January 31, 2013 at 12:10 AM
John ... how do u prove it. Corruption is its own club and can be very nasty. Give us the links for the chain. It is not corrupt to be lazy, rude, ill mannered or Unprofessional altho it is a sign of lousy management. In NYC, Bloomberg told DMV To cut the attitude and get to work. If u have to go to Mtown govt a lot, how Bout tshirts that say, HEY I PAY YOU. AND ICAN FIRE YOU.
Bonnie Arnold Haynes January 31, 2013 at 12:27 AM
Cameron .. if I had had that experience, I would be appalled, and say a lot more that u said. My best friend has als. My husband was in a wheelchair for years and my Dad was A Doc. Malls, airports, hotels...we don't do shit for these people. If we could fine Anyone who is delinquent on this, from AMERICAN AIRLINES on down, with really big Fines, we could help people and make money. Screwing the handicapped is disgusting. What do some of these people, like Ron Williams, the former CEO of Aetna see when They look in the mirror.
I plead the 2nd tchk tchk January 31, 2013 at 12:28 AM
Psychopaths, they are all around us. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMG1qjpzNPg
I plead the 2nd tchk tchk January 31, 2013 at 02:16 AM
Cameron. you left skipped some words in your sentences. i couldn't make out what you are trying to say. you must have been typing to fast.
Samantha January 31, 2013 at 04:27 AM
does anyone honestly think that the WHOLE story will ever come out? regardless if he is found guilty or not, he will always try to make himself sound better and she will always try to make it sound worse. thats not an opinion thats just how it is. If Fugger was such a "illinformed" and "unresponsive" employee of the town then how is it that 25 years later he was still there working. And as stated in previous posts, there hasn't been proof made public yet. And apparently she's getting money, anyone so its not like she's just being ignored.. And again, whether he is guilty or not, I'm sure he has a family, who are innocent bystanders are a little bit relieved that there is going to be some kind of money. I know that this is a serious situation but explain to me this...how is sitting at your computer behind a screen name going to do anything. Don't you all have something else you could be doing (myself included so don't come back at me saying "don't you?"). I'm in no way trying to defend him or anything, I'm simply saying that your opinions are your opinions. they are not going to change no matter what happens, so we can all sit here like immature high schoolers and bicker back and forth or we could all just move on and go about our own business.
I plead the 2nd tchk tchk January 31, 2013 at 06:34 PM
I was actually going to try and bring down Fugger and the contruction engineers myself. I was going to document and record everything i had to go thru to build a small structure on my property. I was searching for a journalist to help me with the sting and do accurate documentation and then fry all these guys and embarrass them right out of their jobs and exposing them. I got side tracked with a personal side issue, and then decided it wasn't worth the effort, since the economy is going to crash here anyway. Why bother. Turns out, these guys will hang themselves. Fugger went down and others will follow, it appears.
friend of parsppany January 31, 2013 at 06:53 PM
He is the second guy in the administration recently to go down.Dougherty only has something to say when there is no controversy. He likes to B.S. and smile for the cameras but is he the kind of leader that hols people accountable?
Bonnie Arnold Haynes January 31, 2013 at 07:27 PM
Who was the first? Agreed. No leader, leadership type.
Cameron Wallace January 31, 2013 at 07:41 PM
Sam obviously, there is a penchant in socierty for people to offer opinions. Hence, a comment section. If done correctly and without hateful, disparaging or JUDGEMENTAL <<wink-wink>> snipes it can inform and teach -for instance how else would Bonnie know of my experiances with that office? The truth of this law suit (as per usual) is somewhere in the middle of thier stories Maybe a person lasts 25 years by chooseing to not help/hinder/discount those who don't have recource or doesn't know the people who would reprimand the offender. Maybe, to last 25 years, you learn whose ass to kiss Maybe, to last 25 years, when you disagree with someone you smile a Machiavellian smile and act like nothing is wrong but habour ill will that shows in unexplainedand unwarrented ways lastly, my name IS my screenname...OK? -Cameron
Bonnie Arnold Haynes February 01, 2013 at 01:50 AM
FICTION
Bonnie Arnold Haynes February 01, 2013 at 02:14 AM
The PS is that whichever Judas you pick checks into drug or alcohol counseling as A result of PTSD. Storm Sandy injuries. We don't talk pensions here because by now We are into the political appointees, Of course, you already have an Hispanic or African American advisory groups that Anyone employed by the town may go to privately so as not to endure the Pain and embarassment of trying to tell something to a white redneck when there Is no way in hell they will get. Then of course, you lose the next elections because by now the dull whitle republicans Are looking downright cuddly.
Bonnie Arnold Haynes February 01, 2013 at 02:24 AM
Mr. Dougherty .... as you know, humor, parody, hyberpole for emphasis is all covered by The 1st ammendent and Congress re agreed to this during press credential hearings In the 90s. Comedy Central want Reporting Credentials and there were some good Arguments about why they shouldn't get them ......until their lawyer, who used a wheechair and could find no handicapped access started. They we credentialed. Why am I telling you this. I want to preempt any retaliatory tactics by the town Such as but not limited to; phones calls to friends and relatives, especially the relatives, Cease and decists, any misinformation, omission of information or anything Else that takes u out of …political types and would be perceived by me or anyone Around me as the actions of malicious creeps. Oops sorry I mispelled white in a couple of places. It is in no way an indication of prejudice.
Bonnie Arnold Haynes February 01, 2013 at 03:07 AM
Cameron .. I sense that you really do understand the for lack of a better word, gestalt Of these situations. The. evolution. We all do. When is it ok to look the other way? If I have to feed my family and I am the breadwinner, how can I speak up...it may be wrong but I need to protect my family. Maybe I worked with someone, or everyone, Who was racist, sexist, anti-semitic ...but if I didn't work with them, I. Wouldn't have Been working at all. There are no legal technicalities to get u around the bills, The people ........in real life there are no lawyers.
SockPuppet February 01, 2013 at 05:56 AM
^From someone very close to the subject!
Sam February 01, 2013 at 11:01 PM
WTF? Don't you have anything better to do? Stop flexing your muscles, threatening all kinds of garbage. You all complain, complain , complain! You really think you're getting anywhere by commenting on The Patch website?!? Take action or SHUT UP!
Bonnie Arnold Haynes February 01, 2013 at 11:09 PM
Commenting is action. And I think that Patch is great forum for democracy. For instance, you can just hit delete. Or have an attitude adjustment. Another Word for comlain is protest, protest, protest. Voice of the people, in my case Person.
Cameron Wallace February 01, 2013 at 11:43 PM
Sam You're right on point, kinda' blunt, but on point
Cameron Wallace February 01, 2013 at 11:46 PM
Bonnie , this is a good place to vent, true, but if you really have a legitimate ,thought-out concern the town council meets Tuesday 7:30 at 200 South St. (I believe-but check) the floor is open at the start of every meeting-5 min. per person limit. This council is the best we've had in decades for being open to ideas. Yes, each seems to have pet projects, but are listening. If its money/pensions you care about, try and contact a Republican council member or a Freeholder, who are ALL republican. Too much commenting here makes you seem wierd
Bonnie Arnold Haynes February 01, 2013 at 11:58 PM
Hit delete or start going back over misassumptions. I really do think that protesting On Patch's site is part of change. And aren't u overstepping the bounds of reality By assumong that comment and actions are either/or? Since u know nothing about Me and have skipped right to your own opinion section, this must be how you all Perceive your own participation here So why don't u stay on ur own "point" and figure out how u will change things? If u have any kind of plan for action, u have a lot of support.
I plead the 2nd tchk tchk February 02, 2013 at 12:15 AM
Town officials, look what can happen when you get too corrupt. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5ut6yPrObw
I plead the 2nd tchk tchk February 02, 2013 at 12:17 AM
Here is the full detailed story http://www.americanheritage.com/content/battle-athens?page=2
Bonnie Arnold Haynes February 02, 2013 at 01:12 AM
Cameron Point well taken.
I plead the 2nd tchk tchk February 03, 2013 at 11:26 PM
I don't know. Me, I am a pissed off citizen, tired of the town telling me what i can and can't do and charging extra for the privilege. With this story I kind of know why I could not get anything done in a timely, affordable fashion. Now I am out for peaceable revenge against the departments that have cost me huge amounts of lost time and money.

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