The City of Bayonne has settled two lawsuits with a former employee, including a “sexting” case against Mayor Jimmy Davis, for $450,000, public records show.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Each settlement is dated January 24th of this year and is for an amount of $225,000 to be paid by the city’s JIF (joint insurance fund), also stating that the plaintiff agrees not to appeal of challenge this outcome, and that the city admits to no wrongdoing or guilt.
Both agreements were obtained through an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request.
The first case, which named the city, Joe Waks, and Richard Censullo as defendants, was filed in U.S. District Court back in June 2014.
Stacie Percella, a former deputy registrar for the Bayonne Health Department who worked for the city for 15 years, alleged that one of her prior bosses and colleagues subjected her to a hostile work environment and sexual harassment.
She alleged that Richard Censullo, a former colleague, had used sexually suggestive language to her and that Joe Waks, her ex-boss, had habitually used profane language in her presence, once threw a pencil at her, and had posted a sexually suggestive
and misogynistic kitchen magnet near her workspace.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit upheld the dismissal of the case back in June, though Percella, through her attorney Vincent Gerbino – a managing partner at Bruno Gerbino Soriano & Aitken – challenged the ruling.
The other, much more publicized case, filed in January 2018, alleged that Mayor Jimmy Davis offered help settle Percella’s aforementioned case for $150,000 in exchange for a sexual relationship.
She also alleged that Davis sent her sexually suggestive text messages like “I would eat you alive!!!!,” some of which after he was elected mayor, as HCV first reported in May 2017.
In late October 2019, a Hudson County Superior Court judge ruled that over seven years of Percella’s cell phone records would be admissible in the case, however the case ended up being dismissed about three months later since discovery was “on a road to nowhere.”
In yet another twist, the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division reinstated the case in May 2021 and a judge ruled at least twice that Davis and other city officials would have to give depositions in the case, though that never ended up happening.
Gerbino did not return an inquiry seeking comment, while the city declined to comment.