Is this the most New Jersey story ever? You be the judge.
Regular readers of this site don’t need to be told how messed up New Jersey’s affordable housing policies are.
Maybe this story will drive the point home for new readers or anyone who is still straddling the fence. It’s one of those “only in New Jersey (or Illinois or New York)” kind of stories.
On Thursday, Mercer County Superior Court Judge Douglas Hurd dismissed South Brunswick Township’s request to vacate a ruling whereby the town of 43,000 would be forced to build 1,500 new affordable housing units.
Here’s the truly wacky part: the original ruling was handed down by Douglas Wolfson who, allegedly just five short days after retiring and about one year after the decision, returned to court representing a real estate developer.
I know. It’s nuts. State Senator Christopher “Kip” Bateman (R-16), who represents South Brunswick, agrees and wants to prohibit future judges from repeating Wolfson’s actions. He’s pushing a resolution (SR-120) that urges the Supreme Court to revisit the rules of professional conduct. The Senator has also proposed legislative fixes to circumvent the ‘gap’ period Apocalypse.
“I am very disappointed in today’s ruling,” Senator Bateman said. “This should have been an easy call. Judge Wolfson ruled to mandate a drastic increase in affordable housing and then went on to work for a real estate developer shortly after. That seems like a pretty clear conflict of interest to me.”
“Judges should not be able to benefit financially from their own rulings. Even the appearance of impropriety has a devastating on the public’s trust in the bench. I hope that the New Jersey Supreme Court will take a hard look at what happened in South Brunswick and consider how we can hold judges to a higher ethical standard,” Bateman continued.
Of course, Bateman is unlikely to get far on the legislative front at least; the majority Democrat caucus hasn’t made any indication that it’s interested in the property tax-driving problem.
Alleged conflicts of public interest.
Reckless big government policies.
Taxpayers getting badly screwed.
If you can find a more New Jersey story? Go for it. I’m all ears, folks!