Supervisor Gonser does not recuse himself on issue for which he personally benefits

As reported on other posts/ pages on this website, Supervisor Gonser had requested an opinion from the Attorney General on the Blossom Ridge Development.  The Board had originally authorized that request, but later rescinded it.  After being rescinded, Gonser continued to pursue getting an unauthorized opinion, first acting as the Supervisor and then “as an individual”.  

The Township attorney billed the Township for this service.  Trustee Keyes challenged the billing for this service.  At the October 8th Board meeting, Trustee Keyes explained why it was inappropriate for the Township to pay for Gonsers’ personal legal fee.  She made a motion to have him repay the Township.  The Board rejected her motion on a 5 to 2 vote.  

Trustee Keyes and McKay were the only ones who voted to have Gonser repay the Township.  Even though Supervisor Gonser personally benefited from the defeat of this motion, he voted on the motion.  He did not abstain as would have been appropriate.

On April 15th, the author of this post raised questions regarding Gonser’s authority to make the request.  Here is a copy of the ‘logic tree’ I used in my comments at that meeting:

Questions on authority for AG opinion

At that meeting, he stated, he sent the memo “as an individual”.  The copies of the two memos sent, as well as the billing from the Township Attorney, indicate that Gonser did not send the letter “as an individual” until 8 days after he claimed he had sent it.  He was clearly trying to ‘cover his tracks’.  

I have attached a file that is a ‘fact check’ comparing Gonser’s statement at the September 24th meeting, and previous Board meeting comments and other supporting documentation.  Here is the “fact check’ document:

Fact check for AG opinion

Yet with all this as background, the Board agreed to have the Township pay for his personal legal fee.   What could be the motivation for their approval since they had previously rescinded the authority?  Their approval clearly appears to violate their oath of office.

Why is this important to the Citizens of Oakland Township?  With all the facts presented by Trustee Keyes, there does not seem to be any justified reason for the Trustee’s approving the payment for Gonser’s legal fees. What hidden agenda’s were driving their decision?  Was there a decision made outside an open meeting authorizing Gonser to proceed with the Attorney General request?  Gonsers’ vote on the matter is clearly a conflict of interest, and violates his oath of office.

Richard Michalski

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