Brophy Represents Incumbents in Asbury Park Ballot Challenge



A second hearing in the Asbury Park ballot challenge case turned into an all-day closed-door work session for those named in the suit and their lawyers.

Daniel Harris III, an unsuccessful candidate on the A-Team slate, filed a challenge last month to the results of the May 14 city council election.

His petition seeks to count 332 vote-by-mail and 32 provisional ballots that were disallowed by the Monmouth County Board of Elections. Harris and his A-Team running mates — Duanne Small, Jim Keady, Nora Hyland and Remond Palmer — were in attendance at yesterday’s hearing.

Keady and Small are 178 votes away from potentially unseating Mayor Myra Campbell and Deputy Mayor Sue Henderson, the lowest vote-getters who won seats on the city council.

Lawyers for the Monmouth County Clerk, Monmouth County Board of Elections and the Monmouth County Superintendent of Elections reviewed each individual ballot in question with Harris’s attorney, Kristie M. Howard of Montclair.

During the review process, Howard agreed that 32 of the 364 ballots in question were properly rejected, which leaves 332 unopened ballots still contested.

Also present in the closed-door session were Councilmembers Amy Quinn and John Moor [who were named in the petition], the unsuccessful A-Team candidates and Eric D. Brophy of Wall, an attorney representing Councilmembers Sue Henderson and John Loffredo. Loffredo and Henderson were not in attendance.

“We went over all mail-in ballots and provisional ballots to clarify issues,” said Deputy Attorney General George N. Cohen, who represents the Monmouth County Board of Elections and the Monmouth County Superintendent of Elections. “We did reach an agreement on some ballots.”

“It was an opportunity for us to look at what the commission decided on each and every ballot, and to gain a better understanding of why [they made those decisions]” said Howard.

“It was an opportunity to show the rules of the game and what the board looks for in a valid ballot,” said Monmouth County Clerk Claire French.

While the facts were being reviewed behind closed doors, about 20 city residents who came by bus hired by the A-Team waited outside the court room all day. Of the residents, 12 had their ballots rejected and they were ready to give testimony should the need arise, according to Nicole Harris, Daniel Harris’s daughter.

Harris attended to support her father, she said.

The case resumes this morning at 9:30 a.m. in front of Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Dennis O’Brien.

Jill Bartlett, Asbury Sun, July 17, 2013

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Diegnan Successfully Recoups over $500,000 for Elderly Client

Elder’s Rights Prevail — What do you call it when a daughter who failed to have her aged mother declared mentally incapacitated appeals and seeks a stay after being ordered to return about $900,000 in cash and bonds she took?

Donald Coburn, a retired appeals judge on recall who tried the competency case, had a word for it: chutzpah. He denied the stay, saying the appeal had no merit and the 88-year-old mother might die before she got her money back.

Ada Vocino was living in an apartment attached to the Kinnelon home of her daughter Patricia Femia when a fall sent her to the hospital. Subsequently, Femia had Vocino placed in Ramapo Ridge Psychiatric Hospital in Wyckoff and then in the Alzheimer’s ward at Paragon Village in Hackettstown. But Vocino was found to be so functional, she was moved to assisted living and then independent living, where she remains.

On April 5, Coburn ordered Femia to return $560,000 removed from a joint account with Vocino and 25 savings bonds worth $10,000 each and to turn over $66,514 from the sale of 10 other bonds.

Vocino had a court-appointed lawyer, Richard Diegnan Jr. of Diegnan & Brophy in Berkeley Heights, and one she retained herself, Robert Scirocco of Budd Lake. Femia’s attorney, Adrienne Burke of McHugh & Macri in East Hanover, did not return a call.

New Jersey Law Journal, April 26, 2013 — By Charles Toutant, Michael Booth, David Gialanella and Mary Pat Gallagher

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Diegnan negotiates asset purchase from distressed sellers

  May 2011.  Diegnan & Brophy successfully represented a California company in the purchase of assets from two New Jersey companies undergoing an Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors action.   Mr. Diegnan worked closely with the client to negotiate and purchase only the assets that would be beneficial to the company’s newly formed New York and New Jersey operations.  Diegnan & Brophy negotiated a management agreement that allowed our client to operate the troubled company through the ABC process to protect the goodwill and assets and ensure a successful launch of the new operations.   The sale was approved by the Middlesex County Chancery court on May 6, 2011.

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Diegnan & Brophy obtain favorable settlement

On April 15, 2011, Diegnan & Brophy were able to settle a $3.6 million bank claim against their client for less than 3.00% of the demanded amount.  In doing so, D & B saved their client from not only a devastating personal judgment, but from bankruptcy. 

Richard Diegnan, speaking for the firm said, “Our settlement of this case, is proof positive that even when the chips are stacked against you, hard work and smart, efficient legal research can often tip the scales in your favor.  Our client was able to avoid a personally devastating judgment and can now move on with his life.”

Diegnan and Brophy continue their commitment to fighting for the “little guy” when corporations come calling.  We will pursue every avenue until we feel our client is getting the best deal possible.  “Litigation should never be the first answer, but is always the last response in the business world.  We guide our clients on this principle and when litigation is instituted we fight until there is no more fight left” said partner Eric Brophy.

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March 2011: Law and Issues Updates

Beginning in March 2011, Diegnan & Brophy will begin a series of blog reports about current New Jersey law and other important societal issues.  Please stay tuned.


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