Letter to the Editor:
Last week, we wrote about East Nottingham Township supervisor Jane Ladley reading from a prepared statement that allegedly slandered an attorney, and insulted a resident (and taxpayer) as well as trying to give legal advice to the residents of Wyndham Creek to find another attorney, all the while with John P. Coldiron at her side openly wearing a handgun. This happened at the Aug. 13 board of supervisors meeting.
This month, an open records request revealed that the Conrad O’Brien law firm, the township’s solicitor, billed the township $1746 for time spent investigating the lawsuit that was filed by the allegedly slandered attorney against Jane Ladley, a private citizen, not Jane Ladley the township supervisor and Republican committee woman, for $50,000. This is a private matter of one citizen suing another citizen. The lawsuit does not mention East Nottingham Township. So why is the township’s solicitor involved?
To prove our point, consider this. Residents filed several open records requests for a copy of Jane Ladley’s statement that she read into the record on Aug.13. The solicitor billed over $990 between August and September for reviewing and denying those requests. The reason given for the denial was a section of the Open Records law (section 708) that says the following: “Notes and working papers prepared by or for a public official or agency employee used solely for that official’s own personal use, including messages slips, routing slips and other materials that do not have an official purpose.”
Now the board of supervisors has requested the township’s insurance company to investigate to see if they will cover the lawsuit. A detailed review of the insurance policy, obtained with another open records request, clearly states that it does not cover malicious acts. What could be more malicious than insulting a resident and allegedly slandering an attorney in a public meeting by reading a prepared statement that the township solicitor Conrad O’Brien views as a private working paper and had no official purpose? In addition on Sept. 17, supervisor Ladley personally voted and signed the township meeting minutes of Aug. 13, clearly stating that she read a statement into the record. What happened to the transparency and open government that Ladley promised the voters of East Nottingham?
So the question now is what happens if the insurance company refuses to cover Ladley’s lawsuit? Will the board of supervisors vote to pay her legal expenses and possibly the judgment of $50,000 should she lose, with your tax dollars? To date, this debacle has cost township residents $2736 with no clear end in sight. Will the board have the courage and common sense to stay out of, what is in our opinion and possibly that of the insurance company, a private matter?
Members of the East Nottingham Township
Citizens for Open and Honest Government