Posted by: Patricia Salkin | December 12, 2018

NJ Appeals Court Finds Mayor’s Personal Financial Interest Too Speculative to Require Recusal

This post was authored by Touro Law student Thomas Brown ’20

New catering business Exquisite Caterers sought use of parking spaces for valet parking in lot outside of the Freehold Center Core (FCC), a zone created by the Borough of Freehold Redevelopment Plan. Exquisite was inside the FCC along with several plaintiff businesses. When Exquisite sought the Freehold Borough Council’s approval for the use of the parking spaces, there was a tie vote which the mayor broke, approving the application. Plaintiffs alleged that the mayor had a conflict of interest because he owned a funeral home within the FCC and that he should have recused himself. Plaintiffs argue that having a catering hall in that location will preclude a competing funeral home from being there, and that it benefits they mayor’s funeral home since food cannot be served in the funeral home.

The court noted that a conflict of interest exists when “the public official has an interest not shared in common with the other members of the public,” but also that “local governments would be at a severe disadvantage if every possible conflict, ‘no matter how remote and speculative, would serve as a disqualification of an official.’” The court concludes that the plaintiffs’ allegation was speculative, since there was no evidence that a competing funeral home ever sought the location, or that his business will benefit from the existence of the banquet hall.

Kash v. Mayor of Freehold, 2017 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 1103 (Super. Ct. App. Div. 5/5/2017)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: