In an August 23, 2023 letter, Voorhees (Camden County, NJ) Police Chief Louis Bordi’s attorney challenged three alleged ethics violations and $1,500 in fines, asserting that Bordi had been wrongfully accused of recommending a lieutenant promotion for his wife and the hiring of his son and nephew as police officers.
In its July 28, 2023 Notice of Violation (NOV), the Local Finance Board, the agency that primarily enforces the Local Government Ethics Law (LGEL) against New Jersey local officials, found that Bordi, who has served as Voorhees’ police chief since 2012, recommended his wife April Herrington for promotion to police lieutenant and his son Thomas Bordi and nephew Steven Bordi to be hired as police officers.
According to the NOV, Herrington ranked first for police lieutenants on the Civil Service Commission’s (2013 list, while Thomas and Steven ranked fourth and third on 2014 and 2020 the Commission’s lists, respectively. For both Thomas and Steven, the NOV stated that Chief Bordi “made the recommendation to hire the five highest ranking candidates” listed on the relevant list.
Herrington, who is now Deputy Chief, was promoted and Thomas and Steven were hired on March 11, 2013; June 23, 2014 and February 8, 2021, respectively. Regarding Steven’s appointment, the NOV states that “Louis Bordi participated in the interview process of candidates for the position.”
The NOV concluded that Chief Bordi “act[ed] in his official capacity in a matter where [he] had a direct or indirect financial or personal involvement that might reasonably be expected to impair his objectivity or independence of judgment, in violation of [the LGEL].” The Board imposed a $500 fine for each violation.
Since Chief Bordi, through his attorney Vito Gagliardi of Morristown, has appealed, the matter will be heard either by the Board itself or transmitted to the Office of Administrative Law as a contested case.
In the letter that accompanied the NOV, the LFB dismissed other ethics charges against Chief Bordi “as lacking a reasonable factual basis.” Those charges were: a) recommending that Voorhees hire the Township Administrator’s son as a police officer, b) serving as both Voorhees’ police and fire chiefs simultaneously and c) recommending his wife to the position of captain in 2016.
The LFB, also on July 28, 2023, issued three Notices of Determination (NOD) dismissing ethics complaints against three other Voorhees officials:
MAYOR MICHAEL MIGNOGNA
According to his NOD, the complaint filed against Mayor Michael Mignogna alleged that the mayor hired Mario DiNatale as his aide, a position he was allegedly unqualified to hold, while at the same time serving as a member of the business advisory committee of the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation, which was founded by DiNatale. The complainant, who is not identified in the NOD, claimed that the mayor’s relationship with DiNatale placed him in a conflict of interest that might reasonably be expected to prejudice his independence of judgment in the exercise of his official duties. The Board, however, found “no inherent conflict from this relationship” and voted “to dismiss the complaint as without any reasonable factual basis under the LGEL.” The Board also found that it lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate disputes concerning qualifications of job applicants.
DEPUTY MAYOR JASON RAVITZ
According to his NOD, the complaint filed against Deputy Mayor Jason Ravitz alleged that being a member of the business advisory committee of the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation during the time that DiNatale was employed as Aide to the Mayor placed Ravitz in a conflict of interest that might reasonably be expected to prejudice his independence of judgment in the exercise of his official duties. As with Mayor Mignogna, the Board found “no inherent conflict from this relationship” and voted “to dismiss the complaint as without any reasonable factual basis under the LGEL.”
ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR MARIO DINATALE
According to his NOD, the complaint filed against Mario DiNatale alleged that on January 5, 2012, after having been appointed Voorhees’ Public Safety Director, he used his Voorhees Township police badge, which had been issued to him due to his new title, during a traffic stop by Berlin Township police. While he was not given a ticket during the stop, DiNatale later “wrote to Berlin Township requesting the appropriate ticket.” The NOD noted that it had previously adjudicated the matter in 2012 and dismissed the complaint because it had no violation during its previous investigation. The complaint also alleged that DiNatale, who was appointed as Aide to the Mayor, Economic Development Director and Community Development Director in 2016, was appointed to the Aide position over more qualified candidates. The Board, as it did with the Mignogna matter, found that it lacked jurisdiction to adjudicate disputes concerning qualifications of job applicants.