Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

2 Firm in Opposing Bergen Appointee

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

2 Firm in Opposing Bergen Appointee

Article excerpt

Two lawyers who advised that it would be a conflict of interest for Paul Fader, a prominent Democratic attorney, to represent the Bergen County Improvement Authority have defended their opinions in letters sent to the Bergen County freeholders.

Attorneys Wayne Positan and Frank Holohan also sharply disputed an opinion from Fader's lawyer, who wrote that both lawyers have their own conflicts because their firms have represented hospitals in the past.

Both Positan and Holohan reaffirmed their warning that Fader's appointment could pose conflicts because of his former role as volunteer trustee for Englewood Hospital and Medical Center.

"It would be naive to assume that Mr. Fader's long term personal commitment to Englewood Hospital would be cured or alleviated simply by his resignation from the Englewood Hospital Board of Trustees," Holohan wrote.

The letters are the latest twist in what has become a vigorous political tug of war over the appointment of Fader -- a former Englewood mayor and former chief counsel to two Democratic governors -- as general counsel to the authority, which serves as the county's financing arm and oversees Bergen Regional Medical Center.

The two letters were a "day late and a dollar short," Freeholder Chairman David Ganz said Friday. Ganz said he did not see them until the day after the board voted to override County Executive Kathleen Donovan's veto of Fader's appointment. Even if he had gotten the letters sooner, it would not have changed his vote, Ganz said.

"My view is a pretty simple one. Lawyers are used to building Chinese walls around conflicts," Ganz said. If a conflict arises at some point, Fader can ask that another lawyer handle the matter, Ganz said.

The five Democratic freeholders voted to override the veto by Donovan, a Republican. Fader replaced Thomas Bruinooge, a Republican who previously served on Donovan's transition team in December 2010.

Fader said there is "absolutely" no conflict of interest, particularly now that he has resigned as an Englewood Hospital trustee after nine years on its board.

"I find this laughable," he said of the two attorneys' letters forwarded to the freeholders. …

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