Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ex-Officer's Case Costs Bogota $85K

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Ex-Officer's Case Costs Bogota $85K

Article excerpt

BOGOTA - The Regina Tasca case has cost the borough at least $85,000 in legal fees this year, an amount that is likely to increase now that Tasca's attorneys have amended an existing federal lawsuit to ask for a review of her case and reinstatement to the borough Police Department.

The $85,000 in legal fees, approved at last Thursday's Borough Council meeting, will cover payment to the hearing officer, retired Superior Court Judge Richard J. Donohue, who presided over a 12-day disciplinary hearing this year, and the borough's special attorney, Raymond Wiss.

The resolution, an emergency appropriation, included $175,000 in salary and wages, a portion of which will cover Tasca's salary, which the borough did not include in its 2012 budget and continued to pay until she was fired on Oct. 18, and police overtime costs in connection with the hearing, Borough Administrator Leonard Nicolosi said Tuesday.

The borough initially included $76,000 for legal fees and an additional $12,000 for settlements in its 2012 budget. That amount was meant to cover the Tasca litigation, tax appeals and day-to-day legal issues, he said.

Tasca's salary for 2012 is estimated at $111,602, and borough officials have said they plan to go after Tasca to repay the estimated $152,000 she was paid since being suspended in May 2011.

Tasca, who is gay and was the borough's first female police officer, was fired last month, after the borough adopted Donohue's recommendation.

She had faced more than 20 administrative and departmental charges and an unfit-for-duty charge in connection to two April 2011 incidents.

She was accused of failing to help her partner as he struggled to restrain a drunken woman in the first incident, and interfering with two Ridgefield Park officers as they tried to restrain an emotionally disturbed man in the second. …

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