FREEHOLD – A lawsuit by former Freeholder John Curley against the Board of Monmouth County Freeholders and County Administration has been dismissed.
County officials were recently notified that the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit dismissed a complaint by Curley against the Freeholder Board and various County employees.
Freeholder Director Thomas Arnone responded to the news saying, “it is unfortunate that so much time and money had to be spent in order to fight to support Monmouth County employees.”
Arnone added, “through the lens of the current environment facing America, I am very proud of the Monmouth County Freeholder Board for deciding to fight for all employees, regardless of gender, age, race or job title, nearly three years ago.”
The Freeholder Board learned in 2017, that an employee had complained about inappropriate actions of then Freeholder Curley. The matter was investigated by retired Judge Mary Catherine Cuff. Judge Cuff provided a report to the County.
The Freeholder Board took action after a review of the report and voted to censure Curley for his actions against County employees.
In response, Curley filed suit shortly thereafter and the first complaint was dismissed. Curley then filed a second complaint, which was also dismissed.
Curley later appealed the Federal Court Judge’s decision to the Court of Appeals.
Arnone said, “Justice has prevailed, and, most importantly, Monmouth County employees can continue to feel safe at work. The County has, and will continue to, take any complaints of inappropriate treatment in the workplace seriously regardless of the offender.”
The Freeholder Director said regarding the matter, “the offensive conduct came from the highest level of County government and was not ignored; in fact, the complaints were taken head on – as they always should be.”
Curley could appeal this decision to the US Supreme Court.
County Administrator Teri O’Connor and County Counsel Michael D. Fitzgerald were each sued individually by Curley. The Third Circuit has also dismissed the claim against O’Connor and Fitzgerald.
In 2015 Curley celebrated his victory with his fellow Republicans but he would later be accused of using a homophobic slur and of having a physical altercation with a former official. The allegations were made following his attempt to censure two of his fellow Freeholders.
Curley later sought reelection as an independent. He was censured in 2017 following allegations involving a comment during a Bradley Beach Memorial Day parade.
At that time the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders held a special meeting introducing two resolutions, one to update its policy prohibiting workplace discrimination and harassment and the second was the resolution to censure Curley.
Arnone previously stated during a Freeholder meeting that he had to break up a fight in former Freeholder Rob Clifton’s office between Freeholder Gary Rich and then Freeholder Curley. Arnone added during that same meeting that Curly used a “gay slur” against a Monmouth County sheriff’s deputy in his presence.
The decision from the Court of Appeals did not reference the investigative report from Judge Cuff and whether the report outlining the offensive conduct can be made public. Additionally, the Court of Appeals assessed the costs of the suit against Curley.