When it comes to the City of Trenton and the City Council, why is it that nearly everything seems to begin, progress and end with a trip to the courthouse and a lawsuit? Here are just a few examples:
Outgoing and controversial Trenton City council member Robin Vaughn is being sued and accused of harassment by Trenton Police Director Steve Wilson, according to court documents filed earlier this month. And earlier this week, a Trenton City Council-at-large candidate filed suit against the city, disputing the election results and the legal name of one of his opponents. And outgoing Council President Kathy McBride is being sued for ignoring a requirement that allows the public to speak out openly at council meetings. The list of current or pending lawsuits and complaints involving the city of Trenton and the City Council, goes on and on and on…
In the first case, Vaughn, representing the West Ward, ran for mayor and lost. She is accused of using slurs and making disparaging comments against Police Director Wilson before, during and after City Council meetings. According to a juicy, gossipy, albeit disturbing lawsuit, Vaughn, who is Black, attacks Wilson. She said, “The police director is not even Black and has done nothing.” Wilson responded that he is Black, and Vaughn snapped back, “No, you’re not.” Once again, Vaughn is wrong. Wilson is of African American and Japanese descent. Additionally, Vaughn failed to oust Wilson in a misguided and sloppy effort in the summer of 2021. Vaughn rarely returns telephone calls from the media and once had a reporter’s telephone number on call block. She hasn’t commented publicly since the suit was filed.
In another example of the sue, and keep suing mentality, Trenton City Council At-Large South Ward candidate Damian Malave filed a second lawsuit in recent weeks. In the most recent one, he claims his election runoff opponent Jenna Figueroa Kettenburg did not use her legal name in papers she filed to run for the Council. Some Trentonians and others contend Malave’s lawsuit is an example of sour grapes and petulance by Malave from being forced into a runoff election. The ward races for the North and South is scheduled for December 13th. The at-large runoff is scheduled for January 24th. The date was changed twice due, at least in part to complaints from some at-large candidates. Algernon Ward and Jennifer Williams will face off in the North Ward race.
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In a posting on the popular website Trenton Orbit, someone highlighted the glaring fact that Ward has repeatedly failed in previous attempts for a spot in public office stretching back to 1994. And someone else posted, “This Council spends more time suing people than anything else…”
And President Kathy McBride’s four-year reign of controversy and scandal will crash, burn and come to a joyful end for many at the end of the month. However, a lawsuit against her from the Superior Officer’s Association is still pending.
Finally, with a competent and amenable team soon in place, perhaps Council members will spend less time making trips to the courthouse to file frivolous lawsuits. Here’s a novel idea–spend more time being proactive by discussing and implementing positive initiatives to improve the city of Trenton and not filing nonsense lawsuits. As for me, I’m on my way to the courthouse to check out which current, former, or future Council member has filed or is named in a new lawsuit. Stay tuned!