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EdPDLaw Editorial
February 7, 2017

FORMER DIRECTOR NALLS-CASTILLO RESERVES RIGHT TO SUE
 

In New Jersey, prior to suing a governmental agency, a person is to put that entity on notice by filing a Tort Claim Notice, or Intent to sue.  As you recall on July 18, 2016, Tish Nalls-Castillo was pulled over by a sheriff's officer for talking on her telephone.  She then launched into a racial tirade against the officer calling him a "white mother f*cker", body shaming him for being overweight and telling him that he is the reason that all the police officers across the country were being killed.

10 days after the event, Nalls-Castillo put in her retirement papers and the sheriff's officer involved in the incident filed a Complaint against her with the County.  The County hired the lawfirm of LeClair Ryan to investigate the matter.  They conducted a 3 month investigation which cost the taxpayers $26,000 and recommended charged be brought against both the sheriff's officer and then Director Nalls-Castillo.  The report has never been released, it was competed in late October.  

The sheriff's officer received a 1 day suspension and Nalls-Castillo received a 3 day suspension which was satisfied by taking 3 vacation days from her.

Despite receiving only a 3 day suspension for the incident, when she has fired officers for much less, Nalls-Castillo placed the County on Notice of her Intent to Sue over the incident and her attorney has been consistently present at the Freeholder's Meeting asking for a hearing.

Nalls-Castillo filed her Notice on October 17, 2016 - 2 months after she put in her retirement papers and 2 weeks prior to her retirement.  She claims, among other things, that she was "constructively discharged" from her position.  That is legal mumbo jumbo which means that she was forced to resign.  The fact is she only received a 3 day suspension and filed her retirement papers 10 days after the incident essentially admitting her guilt.

Click here to view the Tort Claim Notice.

Now the Department is left to deal with her husband who has been given a sense of entitlement to do whatever he pleases especially as it comes to overtime.

Click here to read the latest overtime scandal.


EdPDLaw Editorial
November 2, 2016
 
HUDSON COUNTY DIRECTOR NALLS-CASTILLO RETIRES QUIETLY -  "INDEPENDENT REPORT" COMPLETED - VICTIM DISCIPLINED
 

  On July 18, 2016, a Hudson County sheriff officer was doing his job and simply motioned to Director Nalls-Castillo (African-American female) to get off her cell phone as she pulled into the Pavonia Avenue parking lot outside of central booking. She ignored him causing him to walk over to her car and tapped on her window, she continued to ignore him.  She then unleashed a full blown verbal assault on the officer (Caucasian).  "How dare he stop her, does he know who she is?" She called him a "white motherf***er" and did not stop there, in fact she was just warming up.  She then went on to body shame him, calling him a "fat motherf***er" and told him he needed to walk around the block.  She escalated from there blaming him for the deaths of white police officers in Dallas, Texas.  He called for back up, she can be heard in the background screaming obscenities.  Listen to the stop. She later admitted to the officer's supervisor that she did in fact say those things only to have her lawyer deny it later in a statement to the newspapers. 

She then left, stating that she was late for a meeting, just up and left.  This caused the sheriff officer to find her to issue her the summons for talking on the cell phone.  At least 5 reports were generated by the sheriff's department, there were civilian witnesses as well, and Nalls-Castillo later generated a letter which she sent to the Freeholders.  Captain Conrad (one of her closest confidants and member of her inner circle) also responded to the scene.  He probably generated a report as well.  Despite the incredibly egregious behavior on the part of Nalls-Castillo, and the fact that no officer would retain their employment under the same circumstances, Nalls-Castillo faced no penalty at all.  She returned to work and went about her business like nothing happened.  Just another day in her world.

She attended the Freeholders meetings.  No member of the Administration addressed her behavior with the rank and file officers even though it was splashed on the front pages of the major newspapers.  The Freeholders, (or should I say the Legal Department, as the Freeholders are no more than a mouth piece for the Legal Department) called for an "independent investigation" to be conducted by the law firm of LeClair Ryan and asked that cooler heads prevail. 

NJ.com Article

Of course, LEO's know that the sheriff officer was well within his right to immediately place her under arrest for resisting and disorderly conduct to name a few.  He did not have to take her abusive behavior and when she walked away she was eluding and fleeing.  (Statute of Limitations is 1 year). The sheriff officer, obviously shocked that a LEO Administrator would behave that way, instead called for a supervisor.  Now it has come back to bite him.   They brought him up on charges. 

In the meantime, the County's in-actions sent a resounding message to the rank and file of the Corrections Department that they really do not find her actions severe enough to take immediate action.  Racial discrimination is only intolerable if you are Caucasian.  If you are African-American you can do whatever you want because? The bar is lowered?  

In 2009, Sgt. Michael Prins, a Caucasian Sergeant was suspended within 24 hours of an incident that Nalls-Castillo investigated.  He was accused, at Halloween, of cutting out holes into a white napkin and making a "KKK mask".  An African-American officer reported that he was offended by the incident.  The Caucasian sergeant was immediately suspended, then terminated, and 4 Hispanic officers were also charged in the incident.  5 years later and approximately $500,000 later, it was determined that the Sergeant made a "ghost mask" as it was Halloween and one of the officers was nicknamed "ghost".  Click here to read about Sergeant Michael Prins.

The LeClair Ryan report was recently completed.  Despite this very serious and public issue, the County refuses to release the report and has instead decided to discipline the sheriff officer.  That's right, the County has imposed discipline on the CAUCASIAN SHERIFF OFFICER WHO WAS THE VICTIM of Nalls-Castillo's (African-American female) verbal tyrade.  They accused him of being unprofessional and disrespectful because he went into the building and interrupted her meeting to serve her with her summons.  

Apparently, racial discrimination is only a policy violation in Hudson County if you are Caucasian.  If you are an African-American, the County can look the other way.  They are all the same, they all take the same test and go through the same training, they are all BLUE, why are they not treated that way?

This is the result of letting a Legal Department run a Law Enforcement Agency.  Of making promotions from the same group of employees that hold the same archaic views and beliefs.  I will bet my last dime that the next promotion will be of someone in the same clique who will perpetuate the same cycle.   

In 2008, the County hired and ignored the recommendations of the Voorhis Robertson Justice Department's review of the Department of Corrections.  They concluded:  

“VRJS believes that without outside intervention on a continuing basis that the current structure will not resolve the complex issues confronting the organization.”  Read the report.

LEO's are urged to reach out to the President of both the Sheriff's Union PBA #334 and the Corrections Union PBA #109 to show your support and offer assistance.

Nalls-Castillo retired yesterday with no known ramifications from this incident that EdPDLaw can detect.  She was not suspended, used only 6 days of sick time and 4 training days in the past 3 months.  In fact, she went to the Warden's Convention in early October where her husband was presented with an award for "Officer of the Year".  Her daughter also attended.  She is free to obtain alternative employment with another agency where she will undoubtedly continue her same behavior, which she has exhibited throughout most of her career, only this time she will collect two paychecks.  The sheriff officer, who did nothing wrong, will have this blemish in his jacket for the rest of his career.

Nalls-Castillo was promoted to Director on January 29, 2016.  At that time she stated that one of her goals was to:  "weed out the people that have a badge but don't have the integrity or credibility to match that badge."

In her parting letter she stated that everyone "helped her to evolve both personally and professionally" ?

And my favorite:

"When someone speaks bad about the department, or engages in behavior that would scar the department's reputation hold them accountable."

Deputy Director Edwards has moved into Nalls-Castillo's office.

Former Director Oscar Aviles has been rehired by the County at the same salary he retired with.

EdPDLaw Editorial
August 15, 2016
 
DIRECTOR NALLS-CASTILLO TO RETIRE IN DISGRACE
 

Despite the fact that nearly 30 days have elapsed since Nalls-Castillo racial tirade, the County has not taken any disciplinary action against her and she continues to work and attend the Freeholder meetings.  This  has caused  moral to plummet to an all time low as the County's in-actions have sent a resounding message of support for her.

On July 28, 2016, Nalls-Castillo put in her retirement papers listing a retirement date of November 1, 2016.   She is attempting to quietly slip away and escape any prosecution or responsibility for her egregious actions.

Click here to view application.

Her husband, Sgt. Eriberto Castillo, has been returned from the Prosecutor's Office and hidden in Work Release.  This preferential position was never posted and his placement there is in violation of a PERC decision.

Read PERC decision.

EdPDLaw Editorial
August 7, 2016

THE FALL OUT FROM DIRECTOR NALLS-CASTILLO'S RACIAL TIRADE
COULD LEAD TO THE LOSS OF STATE AND FEDERAL FUNDING

 

On July 18, 2016, Director Nalls-Castillo flipped out and went on a racial tirade which included body shaming and blaming a sheriff’s officer for the killing of police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge.  This occurred  when he gestured to her to get off her cell phone. Among other things, she called him a “white mother f*cker, a fat f*ck” and blamed him for the current state of affairs in the Country (officers being killed).

On the same date, the ACLU broke a story on the substandard treatment of ICE inmates at the Hudson County Jail.  ICE stands for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  The story is titled “Hudson County’s Renewed Immigration Enforcement Sends Chilling Message” and states that the Hudson County Corrections Center has housed illegal federal immigrants under a contract in which they get $110 dollars a day per inmate.  In 2002 they entered into a Contract with the Federal Government for $7,000,000 to build a facility known as “E Pod” which consists of 8 “Housing Units” with the capability to house 64 inmates per unit.

On May 10, 2016 a group called CIVIC filed a Complaint against the County on behalf of ICE inmates alleging substandard medical care.  In their Complaint, which they filed with ICE, the Department of Homeland Security, the Freeholders and Director Nalls-Castillo, they enumerated violations and identified inmates by initials.  Click here to view Complaint.

The Contract which the County entered into with ICE and the US Marshal’s Service is predicated upon the County and its officials (Director Nalls-Castillo) complying with all local, state and federal laws.  Nalls-Castillo’s actions on July 18, 2016 violate the Federal Police Misconduct Act, 42 U.S.C.  Section 14141; Title VI, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000d to 2000d-7; and the Title VI implementing regulations, 28 C.F.R. §§ 42.101 to 42.112. 10.   The Contract entered into in 2002 has specific provisions  attached to it as Schedule A which prohibit the violation of those titles.  View Schedule A of the ICE Contract.

Director Nalls-Castillo’s actions on July 18, 2016 jeopardize not only the ICE Contract, but all present and future funding received for the jail.  As a condition of all federal and state funding, monies cannot be issued to a County where its leader is a racist. 

Despite Hudson County’s best efforts to protect Nall-Castillo, it is highly doubtful that the State or Federal government will back their decision.  The Attorney General in United States v. Maricopa County Sheriff addresses these issues.  In Maricopa, the ICE Program was discontinued by the Federal Government because of non-compliance by the sheriff.  

The loss of Federal and State funding will impact every member of the Department, LEO’s, medical personnel and civilians. There will be no funds for overtime, the ICE Program will be cut. The County is playing with fire and the livelihood of the Department of Corrections employees by not taking swift action and letting her continue to work.  The ramifications will rain down on the little guys who do not know better, who showed up at the Freeholders meetings last week thinking that they would receive better posts.  How foolish are they?  There will not be any posts.  A. Smith, Collymore, Galliard (in uniform), Nieves, D’Andea, Dille, Farley, Duh?

A responsible leader would have stepped down by now, and would not allow any officer to appear on her behalf at the Freeholders meetings.

EdPDLaw Editorial
July 29, 2016


 

Listen to Car Stop

INVESTIGATION INTO THE RACIAL ASSAULT BY THE DIRECTOR OF CORRECTIONS CONTINUES - INTERVIEWS OF THE PARTIES HAVE BEEN COMPLETED
 

The law firm of LeClair Ryan has concluded its interviews of the Director, the Sheriff's Officers and the civilians in the highly publicized racial tirade which occurred 10 days ago when a Sheriff's Officer stopped the Director for talking on her cell phone.  The Freeholders time table for the completion of the investigation was set at 2 months.  However, due to the severity of the accusations and the racial tension which has now permeated the jail, it is hoped that a preliminary report will be issued immediately and that she will be suspended and sent to a Fitness for Duty Exam to get things back on track.  As all or most of the interviews have been concluded, the law firm should be able to issue a preliminary finding.  

Whether or not she was on the phone is irrelevant as it would not justify her reaction to the sheriff's officer. Moreover, that should be determined in a court of law, we would suspect that Judge Kalimah Ahmed would recuse herself from hearing the matter as she has conflicting roles as a Municipal Court Judge in Jersey City and also acts as a personnel attorney for the Department of Corrections, including advising Director Nalls-Castillo whose office is in the same vicinity.

A review of the Hudson County Policy and Procedures indicate the violation of several policies, not including the obvious.  

They are:

3.6 REPORTING VIOLATIONS OF LAW, ORDINANCES, RULES OR ORDERS:

A custody staff member who possesses information concerning illegal actions, dereliction of duty, malfeasance, misfeasance, non-feasance, or unprofessional conduct by another employee, shall report same to their appropriate supervisor.

3.7 STANDARDS OF CONDUCT

Custody staff members shall conduct their private and professional life in such a manner as to avoid an adverse reflection upon themselves and the HCDOC.

3.12 CONDUCT TOWARD THE PUBLIC:

Custody staff members shall cooperate with all Criminal Justice System agencies and give aid and information to such organizations, consistent with the Departmental of HCDOC procedures.

3.20 MISUSE OF AUTHORITY:

No custody staff member of the HCDOC shall knowingly, or with reason to know, shall use or attempt to use his/her official position to secure unwarranted privileges or exemptions which are not properly available to similarly situated individuals.  Using or attempting to use one’s position, rank, badge, or uniform to obtain free or reduced costs for goods, services or merchandise, is strictly prohibited.

3.40 DISPARAGING LANGUAGE OR ACTIONS:

Courtesy and civility towards the public, fellow employees, inmates and all other persons, are required of all employees, as follows:

A.  Employees must not speak disparagingly of any sex, nationality race, creed, minority group, or religion, nor refer to them in insulting terms of speech.

B.  Employees must not use uncomplimentary terms of speech when referring to any prisoners, fellow employees and/or the public.

DEFINITION OF INCOMPETENCE:

Not able to perform his/her duties in a prescribed, competent manner.

FITNESS FOR DUTY EXAM

Case law permits an appointing authority to order an exam when the actions are:

“job-related and consistent with business necessity,” which is when an employer “has a reasonable belief, either through direct observation or through reliable information from credible sources, that an employee’s perceived mental state will either 1) affect his or her ability to perform essential job functions or 2) the employee poses a direct threat.” 

CIVIL SERVICE 

4A:2-2.5  OPPORTUNITY FOR HEARING BEFORE THE APPOINTING AUTHORITY

a) An employee must be served with a Preliminary Notice of Disciplinary Action setting forth the charges and statement of facts supporting the charges (specifications), and afforded the opportunity for a hearing prior to imposition of major discipline, except:

1. An employee may be suspended immediately and prior to a hearing where it is determined that the employee is unfit for duty or is a hazard to any person if permitted to remain on the job, or that an immediate suspension is necessary to maintain safety, health, order or effective direction of public services.

4A:2-2.3  GENERAL CAUSE

a) An employee may be subject for discipline for:  

1. Incompetency, inefficiency or failure to perform duties;

2. Insubordination;

3. Inability to perform duties;

4. Chronic or excessive absenteeism or lateness;

5. Conviction of a crime;

6. Conduct unbecoming a public employee;

7. Misuse of public property, including motor vehicles;

8. Discrimination that affects equal employment opportunity (as defined in N.J.A.C. 4A:7-1.1), including sexual harassment;

9. Violation of Federal regulations concerning drug and alcohol use by and testing of employees who perform functions related to the operation of commercial motor vehicles, and State and local policies issued thereunder; 

10. Violation of New Jersey residency requirements as set forth in P.L. 2011, c. 70; and

11. Other sufficient cause.

 

As expected, the officers are not happy about the preferential treatment she is receiving and they worry about their future employment as disagreements are reported between the different races at the jail.  They are all aware that had they acted the way she did they would face immediate suspension.  African American officers have expressed embarrassment and disappointment over the incident.  

A small group of officers, who see their gravy train slipping away, are attempting to solicit support for her.  It is hoped that all officers will consider the ramifications of showing their support as it could be construed that the officer themselves are also racists and/or receiving some type of benefit, shift assignment, post assignment or other compensation that they are not otherwise entitled to.

EdPDLaw Editorial
July 27, 2016

UPDATE OF DIRECTOR'S RACIAL TIRADE
 

NJ.com has picked up the story which can be viewed at:  

http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2016/07/post_839.html#incart_2box_hudson

As you can see the matter will be discussed at the Caucus Meeting on August 2, 2016.

 The Prosecutor’s Office is compromised because Castillo’s husband works there.  The taxpayers are going to be on the hook for the costs of the investigation, the results of which are predicted to be exactly the same as the reports generated by the Sheriff’s Officers involved in the incident.  Click here to read about Nalls-Castillo husband.   Click here to read about her daughter.

Husband's Overtime.  (She orders that he be contacted and he gets paid 4 hours OT for answering the phone......)

AVILES MATTER

LeClair Ryan handled the investigation into the Ricardo Aviles matter (when a female vendor accused the Corrections Sergeant of sexual assault).  Sgt. Ricardo Aviles is the cousin of the previous Director of Corrections, Oscar Aviles.  LeClair Ryan did a good job and recommended discipline including a demotion.  The Prosecutor’s Office refused to prosecute the case.

The County then ignored LeClair Ryan’s recommendation and transferred him to a preferential post in work release, changed his title from Sr. Investigator to Sgt. and labeled it a “demotion”.  The female vendor then sued the Department and received a $350,000 settlement on the taxpayer’s dime.  Click here to read more.

NALLS-CASTILLO CAR STOP

It has been determined that Nall-Castillo was alone at the time of the stop which occurred at 10:27am on Pavonia Avenue and was cleared 20 minutes later at 10:48am.  Nalls was in an unmarked County vehicle with fictitious tags which were not on file.  Nalls-Castillo called Captain Michael Conrad who responded, it is unknown where he responded from but he could not have witnessed the exchange.  Nalls-Castillo is denying that she was on her cell phone at the time of the stop, a fact that will be easily proven when they obtain her cell phone records.  It is also unknown at this time if there is surveillance in the parking lot on Pavonia Avenue which would have captured the stop.

Regardless of whether she was or was not on her cell phone at the time of the stop, there is no excuse for her verbally assaulting the officer with a racial tirade and body shaming him.  Her aggression towards a law enforcement officer is inexcusable under any circumstance and shows the true nature of her heart.  This causes a racially hostile working environment in the Department of Corrections towards non-African American officers. 

NALLS-CASTILLO USES CLAIMS THAT SHE IS  A VICTIM OF RACISM TO AVOID DISCIPLINE AND OBTAIN PROMOTIONS

 From 2003 forward, starting at the rank of Sgt., she was the target of Internal Affairs investigations to which she repeatedly claimed to be the victim of racism, the results of which were her promotions.  In 2004 she was terminated for failing to report to work and running a construction business during work hours.  (Never proven).   She was subsequently brought back to work and promoted to Lt.  She details being the victim of racism in 2006 when she was alleged to be derelict in her duties and did not catch a gun being smuggled into the facility. (Never proven) In 2008 she was again the target of an Internal Affairs investigation where she was accused of not properly handling a call for assistance from an officer in Hoboken.  In 2009 she again filed suit alleging she was passed over for promotion because of "racism".  This led to a settlement that propelled her to that rank of Captain. It appears that she has become very efficient in playing the "race" card.  Read Complaint.  Read Settlement Agreement. 

COUNTY PLACED ON NOTICE

The County was made aware of this atmosphere on numerous occasions, most recently when it received the Opposition to their Motion for Summary Judgment in the Giacomo Novielli matter, Federal Court docket no. 10-cv-2830.  The opposition contains 35 attachments which document preferential treatment of 35 African-American officers in disciplinary matters.  This led to the County settling the law suit for $245,000. Click here to read about the case.

More notoriously, the matter involving the termination of Caucasian Sgt. Michael Prins, within 24 hours of an incident wherein Nalls-Castillo determined that he was a “racist” without an investigation.  The Office of Administrative Law Judge determined Nalls-Castillo conducted a flawed investigation, ruled in favor of Sgt. Prins, and cost the County approximately $500,000.  Click here to read about the case.

She went after Caucasian Officer Sabrina Minervini multiple times.  On one occasion Nalls-Castillo ordered her disciplined because Nalls-Castillo viewed a tape of her passing food to an inmate.  The charges were brought and when the tape was viewed by the Hearing Officer at her Departmental Hearing it was determined that the event did not occur.  Nalls-Castillo reported falsely what she saw with purpose to use her position to harass Officer Minervini.   Officer Minervini was acquitted of the charges and was to receive compensation for the 10 days she was suspended.

Sgt. Thomas Caraccio (Caucasian) and Lt. Omar Ortiz (Hispanic) were targeted by Nalls-Castillo and former Deputy Director Kirk Eady.  Click here to read about Lt. Omar Ortiz.  Click here to read about Sgt. Thomas Caraccio.

EdPDLaw and former Vice President were signed up to the KKK by the former Deputy Director Kirk Eady.  Read about Eady.

Despite overwhelming evidence of the racially charged hostile environment towards non-African Americans at the Department of Corrections, no corrective action has been taken, and Nalls-Castillo was promoted to the position of Director.

WHO IN THE COUNTY IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS?

According to the Organization Chart of the County, responsibility falls to the 3 top employees, known as the Executive Branch of the Government.  They are the County Executive, Thomas DeGise; County Counsel, Donato Battista; and County Administrator, Abe Antun, in that order.  

The Freeholders, or Legislative Branch of the Government is responsible to approve or disapprove the recommendations of the above 3 individuals and to set policy.  It has proven useless to set policy that the “Executive Branch” will not enforce by way of discipline.  The County has a “Zero Tolerance Policy” which is only applied to a select group of individuals.

WHO PAYS FOR THIS?
    
    THE TAXPAYERS

HUDSON COUNTY HEMORRHAGING MONEY

 

EdPDLaw Editorial
July 19, 2016
 
DIRECTOR NALLS-CASTILLO GOES ON RACIAL TIRADE AFTER BEING STOPPED BY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT

On July 18, 2016, the Hudson County Sheriff's Department initiated a car stop, behind the wheel was Director Nalls-Castillo (African American female Director of Hudson County Corrections) talking on her cell phone.  Nalls-Castillo refused to roll down her window causing the officer to tap on her window, she continued to use her cell phone.  She then went on a racial tirade including  calling the officer a white piece of shit, yelling at him for not waiting until she was off the phone to tap on her window, calling him a fat f*ck, telling him he needs to walk around the block, calling him a white mother f*cker, a racist and telling him that he is the reason that officers are being killed.  She then walked away from him causing him to follow her into a meeting on Pavonia Avenue where she was served with a summons for the cell phone violation.  Official Complaints are expected to be filed today by the sheriff's officers against the Director.  It is reported that the officer keyed his mic during the stop and her racial tirade was recorded, which sent additional officers to the scene for back up.

EdPDLaw has filed an OPRA request for the tape of the stop which is public record, together with a copy of the citation which is also public record.  It is unknown if she was in uniform at the time or carrying her weapon, she was in a County vehicle.  It is reported that another officer was with her.  We are working to identify the officer.

This is no surprise to any of us who have had the misfortune of dealing with Nalls-Castillo over the years as her employment with Hudson County is marred with one racial incident after another.  It is still unknown why the County would promote her to the highest position at the jail overseeing 400 + officers.  They were repeatedly warned that she is a liability and supplied numerous proofs of same.  

As with former Deputy Director Kirk Eady, the County ignored the evidence and went ahead with the promotion.  In the Eady matter the Union demanded he be sent to a Fitness for Duty Exam on numerous occasions, those requests fell on deaf ears. The former Deputy Director now resides in Federal Prison in Kentucky.

This is a complete embarrassment and disgrace to the Department which could have been avoided had they placed a competent officer at the helm.  In this climate of uncertainty in our nation, this is the last thing the officers need. Neither Union has commented officially yet.

This is good news for the law firm Hudson County will assign to investigate this, most likely LeClair Ryan who will generate about $50,000 in fees in an attempt to cover this up, similar to the Ricky Aviles matter which ultimately cost the County $350,000 paid to the victim in settlement monies.

This story will be updated as information is obtained.

Read Story in Newspaper

CAD Dispatch Log

Read NJ.com article

We are waiting to see what if any discipline is taken against her, she is the first to terminate employees for committing lesser offenses including the notorious Prin's matter and a matter involving another officer.  The Unions are curiously quiet on the matter.

Speechless, there is no excuse for Nalls-Castillo’s behavior.  There is no fixing it either.  The only thing that can be done is to let her go.  The County was repeatedly warned that promoting her would open them to liability.  Now they can’t discipline any officer for racial discretions, they can’t enforce their “No Tolerance Policy” of racial discrimination.  They are hiring “outside counsel” to investigate the matter.  They have 5 police reports, what is left to investigate?  Anything to waste tax payer’s monies.  None of the PBA 109 officers would command the same investigation.  And this all falls to Battista.

 I can’t help but wonder, why would they hire her in the first place?  They already knew she was a liability with the Prin’s case and another officer who she let keep his job after calling someone a “faggot”.  He was black so it’s all good.

The following non-African American officers - have faced discipline at her hands:  Giacomo Novielli; Sgt. Michael Prins; Sgt. Thomas Caraccio; Lt. Omar Ortix; Officer Ricardo Oquendo; Lt. Thomas Montleone; Sgt. A. Calvanico: Officer S. Minervini; scroll down to view their cases.

 So again, now, she is not suspended, they let her work.  Why?  You can’t help but think that there is something else going on here.  Some bit of knowledge that she possesses that keeps her insulated from the rules, that the County would risk such high liability to protect?  We will find it.  I suspect it has to do with their real estate dealings.

 

39:4-97.3width=12  Use of wireless telephone, electronic communication device in moving vehicles; definitions; enforcement.

width=321. a. The use of a wireless telephone or electronic communication device by an operator of a moving motor vehicle on a public road or highway shall be unlawful except when the telephone is a hands-free wireless telephone or the electronic communication device is used hands-free, provided that its placement does not interfere with the operation of federally required safety equipment and the operator exercises a high degree of caution in the operation of the motor vehicle.  For the purposes of this section, an electronic communication device shall not include an amateur radio.

 width=32Nothing in P.L.2003, c.310 (C.39:4-97.3 et seq.) shall apply to the use of a citizen's band radio or two-way radio by an operator of a moving commercial motor vehicle or authorized emergency vehicle on a public road or highway.

 width=32b.width=32The operator of a motor vehicle may use a hand-held wireless telephone while driving with one hand on the steering wheel only if:

 width=32(1)width=32The operator has reason to fear for his life or safety, or believes that a criminal act may be perpetrated against himself or another person; or

 width=32(2)width=32The operator is using the telephone to report to appropriate authorities a fire, a traffic accident, a serious road hazard or medical or hazardous materials emergency, or to report the operator of another motor vehicle who is driving in a reckless, careless or otherwise unsafe manner or who appears to be driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.  A hand-held wireless telephone user's telephone records or the testimony or written statements from appropriate authorities receiving such calls shall be deemed sufficient evidence of the existence of all lawful calls made under this paragraph.

 

EdPDLaw Editorial
December 31, 2015

THE NEW HEAD OF THE DRAGON IS SPINNING OUT OF CONTROL, CHASING HER TAIL AND BREATHING FIRE! 
 

As predicted, Acting/Interim/Confidential Aid/Captain/Deputy Director/Director Nalls-Castillo - (or is it just Nalls again?) is wildly out of control as she is unable to apply the underhanded deceitful tactics mastered by her predecessors.  Apparently, the Nalls/Conrad duo is falling far short of the Eady/Nalls dynamic dummies as just yesterday they threatened to ARREST the Hearing Officer, James Carroll at the Departmental Hearing of Sgt. Ernesto Lopez.  

The "story" goes that Nalls-Castillo-was "listening on her cell phone" to the Departmental Hearing while Captain Conrad was prosecuting charges he brought against Lopez for a discharging error.  Lopez filed a grievance for the 5 day suspension he received which was being heard by Jim Carroll as a Step 3 grievance.  

The Hearing Officer, Jim Carroll wanted the County to produce their evidence but THE COUNTY HAD NO EVIDENCE.  Nalls-Castillo, realizing that the hearing was not going her way, placed a call to one of the supervisors at the jail and ordered that supervisor to escort Jim Carroll out of the building ("her facility") under threat of ARREST if he refused to leave.

Carroll was escorted from the building and promptly issued a determination finding for Lopez, granting his grievance and throwing out his 5 day suspension.  

We have previously established that there is no testing requirements for the position of Acting/Interim/Confidential Aid/Captain/Deputy Director/Director, but do you have to at least pass a Fitness for Duty Exam? Eye exam? or take a class on basic investigation?  

This is the exact complaint that has been asserted OVER and OVER again for at least the last 10 years. Nalls-Castillo, has repeatedly and consistently proven that she is not competent to conduct the simplest of investigations.  As of yesterday - if there is no evidence you will still be found guilty or the Hearing Officer will be arrested?  

This is the 2nd time that I am aware of that Nalls-Castillo has been caught fabricating charges with no evidence since she has been assigned to the highest position in the jail.  The 1st time she ordered Minervini charged for passing contraband to an inmate that she personally witnessed and had on tape.  When they played the tape at the Departmental Hearing, it was clear to the Hearing Officer that it never occurred and the charges were dismissed.  

Thank Goodness for the Hearing Officers who are catching these things before they get to the Office of Administrative Law and cost the taxpayer's money.

Grab your popcorn and have a safe and Happy New Year!


EdPDLaw Editorial
November 13, 2015

PLAINTIFFS NAME "PROVISIONAL DIRECTOR" TRISH NALLS-CASTILLO FOR CONSPIRING WITH KIRK EADY TO BRING FALSE DISCIPLINARY CHARGES AGAINST LT. OMAR ORTIZ
 

Since the Trial of former Deputy Director Kirk Eady in March 2015 and his sentencing in September 2015 information has been released detailing 2 "master plans".  The 1st was discussed in the article titled "Information Released at Eady's Sentencing" and the 2nd was the conspiracy between Eady and Nalls to terminate Lt. Omar Ortiz, a Decorated War Veteran and past SOA PBA President.  

This is how Hudson County treats its Decorated War Veterans.  Not only has Ortiz received no income for the past 2 years, and despite the fact that Deputy Director Kirk Eady has been found guilty of wiretapping, no disciplinary charges have been lodged against Trish Nalls-Castillo for her role in the conspiracy. Not only have no charges been lodged, she has been PROMOTED to the highest position in the jail.  

 

Listen to the Conspiracy

After reviewing a plethora of evidence, Provisional Director Trish Nalls-Castillo was added to the Amended Complaint which reads:

COUNT ELEVEN
NEGLIGENCE: PROMOTING AND IN FAILURE PROPERLY TRAIN AND/OR SUPERVISE


Plaintiffs hereby incorporate by reference all of the allegations set forth above as though fully set forth below and plead in addition to or in the alternative:

160. At all times mentioned in this Complaint, Defendants Hudson County, HCDOC, DeGise and Aviles were the employers and/or persons who implemented and oversaw the policies and procedures, as well as the day-to-day administrative duties, at HCDOC.

161. Contrary to New Jersey Civil Service Laws and Regulations, Eady should never have been serving or performing the duties of Deputy Director at HCDOC as a matter of law; the intentional, negligent, or reckless conduct of the Defendants placing Eady in that position damaged the Plaintiffs.

162. Defendants Hudson County, HCDOC, DeGise, and Aviles also failed to use reasonable care in the selection of its employees, agents and servants, failed to properly train and supervise the individual Defendant Eady and failed to provide appropriate safeguards to prevent Eady’s and Nalls Castillo’s conduct.

163. Defendants Hudson County, HCDOC, DeGise, and Aviles acted under color of law pursuant to the official policy or custom and practice of the HCDOC and negligently, intentionally, knowingly, recklessly or with deliberate indifference failed to properly and adequately control and discipline on a continuing basis Defendant Eady and Nalls Castillo in the performance of their duties and otherwise failed to refrain Defendant Eady and Nalls Castillo
from unlawfully and maliciously acting and/or conspiring to violate the Plaintiffs rights, in violation of the rights, privileges and immunities guaranteed to Plaintiffs by the Constitution and laws of the United States and the State of New Jersey.

164. The Defendants Hudson County, HCDOC, DeGise, and Aviles had knowledge of, or had it diligently exercised its duties to instruct, supervise, control and discipline the individual Defendant Eady on a continuing basis should have had knowledge of, the wrongs that were done as alleged in this Complaint and negligently, intentionally, knowingly, or with deliberate indifference to the rights of Plaintiffs failed or refused to prevent their commission.

165. As a result of this conduct, the Plaintiffs have suffered emotional distress, have been humiliated, some have suffered financially, and were otherwise damaged. The Plaintiffs and their families were subjected to retaliation from the Defendants by, among other things, and without limitation, facing unwarranted discipline, threats of violence, being overlooked for promotion, harassment, and intimidation.


WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs seek a Judgment against Defendants, jointly and severally, for compensatory and punitive damages, attorneys fees and costs of suit, as well as any other remedy due them under the Law.

EdPDLaw has long questioned the credentials of both Eady and Nalls-Castillo to be in supervisory positions to no avail.  The County has made it very clear that they do not want qualified candidates in the high ranking positions and have refused to call for Civil Service testing or to advertise for positions.  This in itself is suspicious as lawsuit after lawsuit is filed costing taxpayers thousands of dollars.  

  • Giacomo Novielli (Caucasian Male) - Nalls-Castillo (African American Female) (a Lieutenant at the time) takes him to her home while he is on duty at the jail and asks for an estimate to finish her basement.  She later decides she wants someone from Internal Affairs to do the work, has charges brought against him and he is terminated.  He is currently suing in US District Court, the last Settlement Demand was $1.6 million dollars.
  • Sgt. Michael Prins (Caucasian Male) - Nalls Castillo (African American Female) conducts an investigation accusing him of being a racist, does not interview any witnesses or collect any evidence, has him charged and terminated.  She also had the witnesses (who she never interviewed) charged. Officers Lalama, Clemente and Arujo (all Hispanic) and Officer Young (Caucasian).  Sgt. Prins won his case in the OAL and also received a $150,000 settlement from a Wrongful Termination lawsuit costing the taxpayers approximately $400,000.  The charges against the witnesses were later dropped.
  • Sgt. Thomas Caraccio (Caucasian Male and Vice President of the Supervisors Union) - brought up on charges by Nalls-Castillo  (African American Female) and terminated.  Took his appeal to the Office of Administrative Law and was reinstated.  The County had to pay 2 attorneys to handle the matter.  After he was reinstated he was brought up on charges again, which is called "retaliation" and will cost the taxpayers additional monies.
  • Lt. Omar Ortiz (Hispanic Male and President of the Supervisors Union) - was charged by Nalls-Castillo  (African American Female) at the direction of Kirk Eady (African American Male) multiple times for things others do routinely at the jail.  It took over 2 years for him to receive a Departmental Hearing and that was only because Civil Service ordered the Department to give him one.  (He was suppose to receive a hearing within 30 days and after that, if he appealed he was suppose to be placed back on the payroll within 6 months.  That never happened.)
  • Officer Ricardo Oquendo (Hispanic Male) - was accused by Nalls-Castillo  (African American Female) of being a racist and terminated.  He won his job back on Appeal to the Office of Administrative Law with a reduced sentence.  The taxpayers had to cover the attorney costs and backpay.
  • Officer E. Porter (African American Male) pushed Officer M. Fernandez (Hispanic Male) - Nalls-Castillo issued a 7 days suspension to Porter (who used racist language like Oquendo did) and a 20 day suspension to Fernandez. Oquendo was terminated.
  • Lt. Thomas Montleone (Caucasian Male) was charged from an investigation that did not involve him, but involved a close friend (African American Female) of Nalls-Castillo.  Montleone received a suspension, the female received a year off with pay, then worked for nearly another year before she received a hearing and was finally terminated.  Retaliation is on the horizon as the Warming Center denies him overtime details.
  • Sgt. A. Calvanico (Caucasian Male) was indicted on charges of Official Misconduct for the same circumstances that Officer ----- (African American Female) was charged with Departmentally.
  • Officer S. Minervini (Caucasian Female) - stalked and charged by Nalls- Castillo (African American Female) for doing her job.  Nalls-Castillo ordered her Lt. to bring her up on charges then attempted to give her a 10 day suspension without a hearing and without her knowledge.  She was told by her Lt. "I don't know why she (Nalls-Castillo) is after you, did you do something to her?  Once you are in her crosshairs she never stops."  The Hearing Officer viewed the same tape Nalls-Castillo did and found that Minervini did not do what Nalls accused her of and said she saw on the tape.  Maybe Nalls-Castillo needs glasses?

Need I continue?  I think you get the picture.  After the nepotism, her daughter being arrested and her husband getting ridiculous amounts of overtime, there is no way they can justify her promotion.

Why would a governmental organization promote unqualified personnel who have proven disastrous track records to Administrative positions? Positions that deal with budgetary issues in one of the biggest Departments in the County?  It does not make any sense, they put Nalls-Castillo over a 67 million dollar budget when they know she has no investigative skills whatsoever and appears to have personal preferences that could cost the taxpayers millions in lawsuits. Maybe that is Plan #3, not yet uncovered, to place the dummy over the money so she won't detect any misappropriations?  It is the only theory that makes sense.

EdPDLaw Editorial
November 23, 2014

 
COUNTY INCURS LIABILITY AND RISKS OFFICER SAFETY OVER MYSTERIOUS HOMELESS ROUNDUP DEEMED THE NAVAL DETAIL
 

Apparently, Deputy Director Nalls has begun holding officers over for mandatory and using them out of title to transport the homeless to the Naval Base in Kearny where they are assigned to watch them.  The Naval Base is located next to the jail and is being used as a "Warming Station" as there are no beds, only chairs and a television on site.  This is a 4 hour mandatory detail only offered to 2 officers.  (Rumor has it that Castillo has been seen driving the bus as he continues to receive 8 hours a weekend in overtime.)

They have been told to cover their uniforms, and are not permitted to be armed while completing this outside detail. This is in violation of numerous Policies including, Overtime Assignment, Transportation and Firearms.  Furthermore, they are transporting the Homeless in vehicles which have no markings from the Hudson County Correctional Department.  This begs to question whether these officer are covered by insurance, both health and vehicular, in the event the transport or detail goes sour as it did in Hoboken Thursday.

A New York man was kicked out of a Hoboken homeless shelter Thursday night after assaulting two police officers and hurling racial slurs at another, according to city police reports.
 

It took between five and seven minutes for the officers to wrestle Strouse to the ground so that he could be handcuffed, police said. He was charged with disorderly conduct, aggravated assault and resisting arrest/eluding, according to police reports.

 

While caring for the Homeless is commendable, officer safety should always come first.  Caring for the Homeless is regulated by the Department of Health and Human Services and HUD, did Nalls get proper authority?  If so, why all the secrecy?

Disclaimer:  EdPdLaw is an independently owned and operated web site.  The Editorials on the site are the sole opinions of EdPDLaw and not the opinion of Hudson County PBA Local #109.  PBA Local #109 has its own web site which can be accessed at www.PBA109.org. 

EdPDLaw Editorial

October 18, 2014
 

THE NUMBERS ARE IN - HUDSON COUNTY PAYS FOR PERSONAL ATTORNEYS FOR BOTH DIRECTOR OSCAR AVILES AND DEPUTY DIRECTOR TISH NALLS-CASTILLO TO DEFEND PRIN'S SUIT

Hudson County is very generous with taxpayer's money as they payout an additional $100,000 to defend Aviles and Nalls-Castillo (the Dynamic Nepotism Duo) against Prin's Law Suit

There is no end to the amount of taxpayer's money the County will spend to keep their egos in tact.  This is what the tally looks like to date:

  • $65,000 to settle Nalls suit against the County for not promoting her to Captain
  • $100,000 in back pay when the Office of Administrative Law ordered Prin's Reinstated
  • $35,000 in attorney's fees for Prin's attorney for the OAL matter
  • The County did not hire an outside attorney to defend the OAL matter but used an in-house attorney who apparently did not keep track of the amount of time he appropriated to the Prin's matter.  A fair estimate would be $40,000
  • The County appealed the OAL decision to the Appellate Division and Prin's filed a Civil Suit against the County naming Oscar Aviles and Tish Nalls personally and in their capacity as employees of Hudson County
  • The County hired Chasen Leyner to bring the Appeal and defend the civil suit brought by Prins at a cost of $117,906.41
  • They also hired George Campen, Esquire to defend Osacr Aviles personally at a cost of $31,927.50; and
  • They hired Jacqueline DeGregorio, Esquire to defend Tish Nalls-Castillo personally at a cost of $59,355.88
  • They then settled the suit with Prins for $150,000

That brings our Grand Total to $599,189.79

And what action has the County taken to assure that this never happens again?  They promote Nall-Castillo to Deputy Director and have her not only overseeing discipline, but approving overtime for her husband.  Click to read about Castillo's hubby's overtime.

Since we are discussing Hudson County Hemorrhaging Taxpayer's Money:

Is anyone overseeing the Department of Corrections?  There is an awful lot of taxpayer's money being thrown away because of over zealous and/or incompetent supervisors.  The Legal Department has a 4.5 million dollar budget and approximately 12 in-house attorneys yet keep hiring third party law firms to handle their legal matters.  Does anyone have confidence in the leadership at the jail?

EdPDLaw Editorial

September 1, 2014
 

Congratulations to  Sgt. Michael Prins, another $150,000  from  Hudson County in the  Nalls-Castillo  Screw-Up!

Hudson County keeps Forking Out Money to Right the Mistakes of Director Oscar Aviles as the Nall-Castillo Debacle is Giving the Ricardo Aviles Cover-Up a Run for the Money and may Surpass the Kirk Eady Saga as they Promote Nalls-Castillo!

The latest Hudson County payout is $150,000 to Sgt. Michael Prins after a Settlement Agreement was reached in May of 2014, a month after the County paid Officer Yvonne Coleman-Davis $150,000 in April.  The tally which we reported in March of 2014 was an estimated $312,000 which Nalls' false accusations and flawed investigation made to bolster her claim of racism had cost the County.  Of those monies, Sgt. Prins had already received an approximately $100,000 back pay award and was returned to duty after an OAL Judge determined that he was wrongfully terminated.  The County then appealed the decision to the Appellate Division.

According to the Settlement Agreement supplied by the County in response to an OPRA request, Prins gets to keep the back pay award of approximately $100,000 and now adds to it another $150,000, more than doubling the previous award,  The County in turn has agreed to withdraw the Appeal.  Prins has agreed to retire, using approximately $97,000 to buy back 53 months of service time. All totaled, Prins gets to retire 4 1/2 years early, with a full pension and an extra $100,000.    

We do not have all the totals in on the legal fees, but according to the Settlement Agreement, both Director Aviles and Nalls-Castillo were also represented by individual attorneys, we are waiting to see who paid them.  Without including legal fees accumulated after March of 2014, the total of this screw-up is $462,000.

Despite clear evidence that Nalls-Castillo was incompetent in her handling of this matter, in February of 2014, Hudson County appointed Nalls-Castillo to the position of Deputy Director and have her overseeing discipline.  Adding to the controversy, Nalls-Castillo had only been a Captain since May 1, 2011 and was only appointed to the position of Captain as a condition of settling a lawsuit she brought against the County alleging racial discrimination.

The County had two Senior Captains, both white, who have over 10 years of experience as Captains and a new Captain, also white, who was just promoted this year.   (reverse discrimination?) Moreover, Civil Service Rules permit the County to promote within 2 lower in-series titles, which means that not only Captains but Lieutenants would also be eligible for the promotion. 

However, it appears that the County is opting to ignore Civil Service Rules and is making promotions without testing and opting to use favoritism, nepotism or cronyism in place of objective testing.  This decision has come back to bite them on numerous occasions. Specifically, the County has found itself embroiled in expensive litigation, with no means of defense as they cannot justifying promoting unqualified candidates outside of Civil Service Rules. 

This is very apparent in the case of the ongoing litigation in the Suzanne Mutone/ Ricardo Aviles matter.  Director Oscar Aviles, assigned his cousin, Sgt. Ricardo Aviles to a position in Internal Affairs.  Sgt. Aviles, then used this position to carry out the wishes of the Director and targeted officers as instructed by the Director, seldom taking into account their guilt or innocence.  Apparently, this power went straight to his head as he deemed himself entitled, protected and untouchable.  He then attempted to help himself to something else he wanted, a sexual relationship with Ms. Mutone.  Of course, it did not matter what she wanted.  

The County went to unbelievable measures to cover-up the incident, including paying a third party law firm $50,000 to conduct an Internal Affairs investigation.  Thereafter, they feigned a "demotion" while creating a cushy position for Aviles in work release.  Last week he was scheduled to be deposed in the Mutone matter but claimed a family member was ill and postponed his deposition.  I can only imagine what the cost to the County is thus far as they are represented by Chasan Leyner and have been in litigation over the matter for over 2 years.  And where is Aviles?  Rumors have it he moved to Florida but we have been unable to confirm that.  We can however confirm that he has been receiving paychecks, and that he has been paid overtime in the same pay period that he was on furlough?  

And speaking of Internal Affairs, apparently there is no Internal Affairs in Hudson County anymore.  They have let the list run out.  I guess if the Director can't have his cousin in Internal Affairs then there won't be an Internal Affairs (sour grapes).  Who cares about the Attorney General Guidelines?  In Hudson County, they make it up as they go along.

Another spectacular example of what happens when you promote outside of Civil Service Rules is the former Deputy Director Kirk Eady.  We all know what happened there.  He could not pass the Civil Service Test so the County simply ignored the test results and promoted him anyway.  At least they made him take the test, I guess they are confident that Nalls-Castillo cannot pass the test and have not even bothered giving her the opportunity to take it.

Good news for Union Members, there is plenty of taxpayer's monies to give away and the County is more than willing to do it! 

EdPDLaw Editorial
March 8, 2014

Despite costing the County $312,045.49 in Lawsuits Captain Tish Nalls-Castillo is Appointed “Provisionary” Deputy Director

In the aftermath of the suspension of Deputy Director Kirk Eady, Hudson County has appointed Captain Tish Nalls-Castillo to the position of Deputy Director.  The decision is not without controversy as Nalls-Castillo has only been a Captain since May 1, 2011 and was only appointed to the position of Captain as a condition of settling a lawsuit she brought against the County alleging racial discrimination.

The County has two Senior Captains, both white, who have over 10 years of experience as Captains and a new Captain, also white, who was just promoted this year.   (reverse discrimination?) Moreover, Civil Service Rules permit the County to promote within 2 lower in-series titles, which means that not only Captains but Lieutenants would also be eligible for the promotion. 

4A:4-2.4 Promotional title scope: local service

(a) If a title which is the subject of a promotional examination is part of a title series, the examination, with or without all or part of the open competitive requirements, as appropriate, shall be open to one of the following:

1. The next lower in-series title used in the local jurisdiction;

2. The next two lower in-series titles used in the local jurisdiction; or

3. All applicants in the unit scope who meet the open competitive requirements and all applicants in the next lower or next two lower in-series titles used in the local jurisdiction.

The question is whether the County is going to call for a test for the position of “Deputy Warden”, which would have been the correct law enforcement title for Kirk Eady’s position had he passed the test in 2006.  

View test results of 2006 Deputy Warden Test.  View determination of Eady’s appeal.

They also have the option of keeping the “Deputy Directors” position an appointed civilian position.  However, they could incur liability in making that decision instead of insulating themselves through civil service testing.  Denoting the appointment as "provisional" indicates that they may be calling for a test in the near future.

4A:4-1.5 Provisional Appointments

(a) A provisional appointment may be made only in the competitive division of the career service when all of the following conditions are met:

1. There is no complete list of eligibles, and no one remaining on an incomplete list will accept provisional appointment;

2. The appointee meets the minimum qualifications for the title at the time of the appointment; and

3. The appointing authority certifies that failure to make the provisional appointment will seriously impair its work.

(b) Any employee who is serving on a provisional basis and who fails to file for and take an examination which has been announced for his or her title shall be separated from the provisional title. The appointing authority shall be notified by the Department and shall take necessary steps to separate the employee within 30 days of notification, which period may be extended by the Commissioner for good cause.

It would appear that Nalls-Castillo can only remain in the provisional position for a period of 12 months, although Hudson County has in the past gone way outside of these time frames.  The practice of promoting without testing has repeatedly come back to bite them whether it be by creating civilian positions, ignoring test results or just making appointments without testing.  

11A:4-13. Types of Appointment.

11A:4-13. Types of appointment. The commission shall provide for the following types of appointment: 

a. Regular appointments shall be to a title in the competitive division of the career service upon examination and certification or to a title in the noncompetitive division of the career service upon appointment. The appointments shall be permanent after satisfactory completion of a working test period; 

b. Provisional appointments shall be made only in the competitive division of the career service and only in the absence of a complete certification, if the appointing authority certifies that in each individual case the appointee meets the minimum qualifications for the title at the time of appointment and that failure to make a provisional appointment will seriously impair the work of the appointing authority. In no case shall any provisional appointment exceed a period of 12 months;
 

Which ever course of action the County decides on, Nalls-Castillo’s qualifications have already been tarnished by an Administrative Law Judge who determined she was unable to conduct a thorough investigations despite having 19 years on the job.  

To date, the County has paid out:

$ 65,000.00 to settle her lawsuit over not getting promoted  

$100.000.00 in estimated back pay to Sgt. Prins, and an estimated $35,000 in attorney’s fees to his attorney to defend the OAL suit; and

$112,045.49 for the defense of the currently ongoing Federal lawsuit brought against Nalls and the County for negligent supervision.

Despite costing the County an estimated $312,045.49 in lawsuits, a cost which continues to rise, the County made the decision to bypass 2 qualified Captains with over 10 of years experience in the position of Captain and make Nalls-Castillo the provisionary Deputy Director.

TIMELINE OF EVENTS

September 4, 2009, Lt. Nalls-Castillo, an African American female, files suit against County alleging:

1.     Racial Discrimination for not promoting her

2.     Being repeatedly targeted for Internal Affairs Investigations

3.     Receiving fabricated discipline as excuse to bypass her promotion

  October 21, 2009, Lt. Nalls-Castillo completes a flawed investigation accusing Sgt. Michael Prins, a white male of:

1.     Being a racist

2.     Making a KKK Mask out of a napkin

 January 6, 2011, Judge Moskowitcz, OAL issued a decision finding:

1.     Conducted a flawed investigation, which was concluded in less than 24 hours

2.     Did not interview the 8 witnesses

3.     Never viewed the evidence, a white ghost mask made out of a napkin with the words “Young’s Halloween Costume” written plainly on it in black magic marker.

4.     Reversing the termination

5.     Awarding back pay

6.     Attorney fees

            May 25, 2011, despite having received the OAL decision, the County settled the lawsuit with Nalls-Castillo:

1.     Paying her $65,000.00 

2.     Promoting her to Captain effective May 1. 2011

(This amount does not include the amount they paid the in-house attorney to defend the matter during the 20 months of litigation.)   

          April 9, 2012, Sgt. Prins filed suit against the County alleging:

1.     Racial discrimination, as the County allowed Nalls-Castillo to brand Prins a racist to bolster her own claims against the County. 

2.     Negligent supervision as neither Eady nor Aviles reviewed Nalls- Castillo  report before imposing discipline 24 hours later.

PRESIDENT OCASIO'S INTERVIEW  PREGNANT OFFICERS STILL AT RISK INTERNAL AFFAIRS STALKING  RICARDO AVILES COVER UP


EdPDLaw Editorial
April 28, 2012

Hudson County Sued for the Erroneous, Cursory and Flawed Investigation of Sgt. Michael Prins conducted by Captain Tish Nalls 

In  The events that started this into motion began on October 21, 2009 when Captain Tish Nalls falsely accused Sgt. Michael Prins of actions indicative of being a racist.  She accused him of making a "KKK" mask out of a napkin.  Nall's conducted relatively no investigation whatsoever before lodging charges against Prins which led to his termination.  

On January 6, 2011, the Office of Administrative Law issued its decision in the Prins matter determining that Nalls' investigation was flawed and ordering Prins reinstated with back pay.  Despite this decision evidencing that Nalls was not captain material which the County should have used to defend against her law suit, discipline her and send her to a remedial investigation course, on May 25, 2011, the County settled with Nalls promoting her to Captain and paying her $65,000. Click to view Settlement Agreement.  Click to view Nalls standing proudly in front of the Confederate Flag

a civil lawsuit filed April 9, 2012 in the Hudson County Superior Court, Sgt. Michael Prins is suing Lt.  Tish Nalls for conducting a cursory and  flawed investigation which led to his termination in April 10, 2010.   Prins is seeking an unspecified amount of damages to include punitive damages.  Click to view law suit

BACKGROUND:

    On October 21, 2009, while on duty, Sgt. Prins, a Caucasian male, in the presence of 8 officers, was teasing one of the corrections officers, who was nicknamed "ghost" and frequently referred to as "Casper the ghost"  because he was very light skinned and prone to disappear.  In the teasing, Sgt. Prins took a napkin and fashioned it into a ghost mask, as a joke, then wrote "Young's Halloween Costume" on the mask and later discarded it in the trashcan.  A civilian employee was in view of the event and misinterpreted the mask as being a "KKK" mask and reported same to Nalls who then launched an official investigation.

Lt. Nalls solicited reports from all 8 officers that were present at the time.  None of the officers reported that the mask was a KKK mask.  Nalls never interviewed any of the officers or Sgt. Prins prior to bringing charges which led to his termination.  She never even looked at the mask.  Sgt. Prins was charged within 24 hours, so clearly there was no time to complete  a thorough or competent investigation. 

The exact charge specifications  are as follows:

During a political discussion concerning President Obama's health plan, Sgt. Prins as supervisor of receiving, in which civilian Ricky Johnson and officers worked around inmates of all races, allowed, condoned and/or permitted two officers, i.e. (officers names omitted), to make sounds and actions mimicking a monkey and to utter the word "Monkey, Monkey", thus creating and/or fostered an atmosphere and environment hostile and prejudicial to African American.  Sgt. Prins also fostered an atmosphere and environment conducive to the use of symbols which are known to be antithetical to African Americans and to other employees of various social, ethnic and religious backgrounds; i.e. employment of Nazi arm salute and create and brandishing of a mask-like visage which reasonably appeared to be a facsimile of a Ku Klux Klan mask.

Sgt. Prins was subsequently found guilty at a departmental hearing and terminated.  He had to appeal to the Office of Administrative Law which determined that Nalls conducted a flawed investigation as reported in the decision:

The Flawed Investigation

Nalls testified that she based her report on the reports she collected and on her review of the recording.  But Nalls admitted that the recording is hard to hear and that she did not interview any of the officers involved to confirm what she thought she heard.  She also admitted that she did not interview any of the officers involved to confirm what she thought she saw.  As a result, Nalls relied upon her own interpretation of the recording instead.

More significantly, Nalls testified that the administration based its charges on her interpretation of the recording.  In fact Kirk Eady, the deputy director, testified that Nalls told him, before she had even completed her investigation, that the incident was a racial one, during which someone had made a KKK mask, so he waited for Nalls to complete her investigation before he reviewed the report and the recording himself.  Thus Nalls is the prism through which the administration viewed the incident - in fact, the specifications are a copy of her report.

The Purported Mask

Nalls testified that Young approached her the next day to inform her that he had retrieved the purported mask from the garbage can.  Nalls said that she did not even look at the mask - let alone determine whether it was a KKK mask or a ghost mask - and simply allowed him to place the mask in an evidence bag and seal it.

The Office of Administrative Law ordered Prins reinstated with back pay and attorney's fees.  Click to view OAL Decision.

THE BACK STORY:

In and about 2004, Sgt. Nalls took a Corrections Officer from his post at the Corrections Center to her home to give her an estimate for work she wanted done to her basement.  The officer gave her an estimate for the work, was paid a retainer and began working to finish her basement.  Around this same time, Sgt. Nalls received a second estimate from a Supervisor in Internal Affairs for the same work.  Nalls decided midstream that she did not want the Officer to complete the work and instead wanted the Internal Affairs Supervisor to complete the work.  Nalls demanded her money returned from the Officer and threatened the officer with termination.  This threat was carried through by the Internal Affairs Supervisor who launched an investigation and eventually terminated the Officer.

The officer was assigned under Sgt. Prins.  Sgt. Prins' false testimony was needed to justify the termination, however, Prins would not play ball.  Prins was then subpoenaed to testify on the officer's behalf but instructed by County Counsel to disregard the subpoena and to not attend the officer's hearing.  Prins however, honored the subpoena and testified on the officers behalf at his hearing in 2007.  

NALLS ULTERIOR MOTIVATION AND SUBSEQUENT REWARD:

In or about September 4, 2009, Tish Nalls filed a law suit against the County claiming that in 2007 she passed the Captains test and was not promoted despite being first on the list.  She attributed this to her being an African American female.  In the suit she references being brought up on charges on 3-30-08 for allegedly failing to handle reporting requirements properly and/or properly supervising officers.  Go figure!  She insists the charges were "false, trumped up and brought solely for the purpose of harassing her" and denying her promotion to Captain.  She claims that Hudson County is discriminating against her because she is an African American female.

She goes on to complain that she has been subjected to various investigations, allegations and charges which lack merit. These false charges created a hostile work environment which was intolerable and illegal.  Click to view Nalls law suit. 

It gets better, she then goes on to claim:

 

"At all relevant times herein the defendants acted with deliberate and conscious indifference to plaintiff's constitutional rights which violations arose out of a pattern and custom, policy and practice by and of the PUBLIC ENTITY DEFENDANTS in allowing the discrimination to occur, permitting, condoning the discrimination and violations of procedure and policy as well as the failure to properly hire, train and supervise those charged with the responsibility for handling job assignments, complaints, investigations, disciplinary proceedings, charges and promotions and overall in the proper conduct of their duties."

So now she has filed this law suit and needs to prove that Hudson County discriminates against African Americans.  The opportunity presents itself in a big way because now not only does she get to bolster her complaint but she can exact revenge on Prins at the same time.

On January 6, 2011, the Office of Administrative Law issued its decision in the Prins matter determining that Nalls' investigation was flawed and ordering Prins reinstated with back pay.  Despite this decision evidencing that Nalls was not captain material which the County should have used to defend against her law suit, discipline her and send her to a remedial investigation course, on May 25, 2011, the County settled with Nalls promoting her to Captain and paying her $65,000.  Click to view Settlement Agreement.  Click to view Nalls standing proudly in front of the Confederate Flag.

COUNTY COUNSEL'S MOTIVATION:

At the same time Nalls lodged charges against Prins, County Counsel had charges levied against 4 of Prins' witnesses in the case and refused to have the charges heard prior to Prins' Administrative Hearing in clear violation of the officer's rights.  Remember, it was Prins' that testified that he was told by County Counsel to disregard a Subpoena and not testify in the 2004 matter.  The correction officer in that matter took Prins' Affidavit and filed an Ethics Complaint against County Counsel with the Supreme Court.  The Supreme Court then lodged an investigation into the matter which could have resulted in disciplinary action being instituted against County Counsel which could result in sanctions including the revocation or suspension of his license to practice law.    

To this day, over 2 years now, Hudson County has not held hearings for the witnesses on their Departmental Charges and has refused to dismiss same.

THE COMPARISON:

In May of 2010 a female vendor reported being sexually assaulted by Internal Affairs Sgt. Ricardo Aviles.  The investigation took 13 months.  The Prosecutor's Office refused to investigate and the County paid an independent law firm over $50,000 of taxpayer's money to investigate the matter.  Aviles worked the whole 13 months and was not suspended while the investigation was being conducted.  Aviles was not charged until August of 2011, 15 months after the assault.  After Aviles was charged, he was suspended for 6 days, then back to work until his hearing.  Despite being found guilty of Sexual Harassment, Misappropriation of County Property and Conduct Unbecoming, he was not terminated.  In fact they create a $100k choice position for him in Work Release and then transferred him from Internal Affairs to Work Release deeming it a "demotion",  the 31B shows him being demoted from the permanent title of "Sgt. County Corrections" to the permanent title of "Sgt. County Corrections".

SGT. RICARDO AVILES SGT. MICHAEL PRINS
 13 Month Investigation 24 Hour Investigation
$50,000 Free
Investigation conducted by the Law Firm of LeClair Ryan Investigation conducted by Lt. with a Personal Agenda
Numerous Employees Interviewed No Interviews
Results - * Guilty of Sexual Harassment, Misuse of Public Property, Conduct Unbecoming  Results - Not Guilty
Penalty - 6 day suspension & lateral transfer to choice position created for him in Work Release Terminated  then reinstated by Court Order

Aviles was charged with sexually assaulting a female, specifically:

Count I - At various and sundry times and locations, Ricardo Aviles, Senior Investigator, Parole & Secured facilities, county's office of the Internal Affairs, engaged in communications in person and/or via phone, E-mail, electronic texting and other means with and/or directed to VICTIM'S NAME AND EMPLOYER REDACTED, which were offensive, noxious, demeaning, sexually provocative, unprofessional and violative of county policy,  procedures, state administrative code and law governing conduct and department of law enforcement officers, as well as public employees generally.

Count II -  On or about May 25, 2010, Senior Investigator Aviles, during County time and on County premises, did engage in conduct, actions and words calculated to and which did embarrass, harass, annoy and demean VICTIMS NAME REDACTED and did, without license or consent, offensively touch, grope and kiss her while she was in his office at the Meadowview Complex in Secaucus, New Jersey.  This constituted violation of law as aforesaid, and as more specifically found in the Rules and Regulations of the Hudson County Department of Corrections, including but not limited to the following sections and provisions.

HE WAS FOUND GUILTY!  THEN REWARDED!

It appears that the County will only tolerate and reward sexual harassment but has a Zero Tolerance Policy against racial discrimination?   Isn't Internal Affairs suppose to conduct internal investigations, although the last 5 or 6 officers they have terminated have all been reinstated.   Oh well, it's not there money, it's the taxpayer's money.......  oh that's right, they are raising taxes in Hudson County.  

These are the Supervisors that the County Executive has appointed to supervise the prison and oversee the $60 million dollar budget.  Oscar Aviles, who appoints his cousin to Internal Affairs, lets him run amuck and refuses to discipline him.  Captain Tish Nalls who uses her authority to levy false charges against Sgt. Prins to further her personal agenda.  These supervisors are using the County funds and their positions as supervisor for their own personal agendas with no regard for their professional responsibilities and with absolutely no oversight.  The only consequences to their decisions are to the taxpayers of Hudson County.

Stay tuned for a HUGE story breaking this week on number 2 in charge, Confidential Aide Kirk Eady!

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