Jersey City Council to vote on $600k settlement for Lt. Chesler after charges dismissed

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The Jersey City Council will vote on a $600,000 settlement for Police Lt. Kelly Chesler on Thursday after charges related to a no-show job pertaining to an off-duty detail were dismissed back in 2018.

Jersey City Police Lt. Kelly Chesler.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

” … The settlement will be paid in three equal installments of $200,000.00 payable to Jeffrey Garrigan, Esq. of the law firm Cammarata, Nulty & Garrigan LLC, as attorney for Chesler, for payment of attorney’s fees and costs incurred in relation to this matter,” a copy of the resolution says.

” … The first payment will be made on or before November 13, 2020; the second payment is due on or before January 31, 2021; and the third payment is due on or before January 15, 2022.”

Hudson County Superior Court Judge Joseph A. Turula signed an order on August 28th indicating that the city owes Chesler $626,211.09 in “reasonable costs” and attorney’s fees.

The judge wrote at the time that her first payment was due on September 28th, but the city was able to negotiate a little more time and bring the cost down slightly since then.

The resolution also notes that the settlement hinges on Chesler dropping all existing litigation against the city and that Chesler will be paid via the city’s Insurance Fund Commission Accounts.

Back in June 2016, Chesler, along with three other Jersey City police officers, were charged by the Hudson County Prosecutor’s Office for no-show jobs and/or filing for excessive overtime related to off-duty details at the Pulaski Skyway.

Ultimately, in October 2018, Chesler, Police Officer Michael O’Neil, and retired Capt. Joseph Ascolese all had their charges dismissed and subsequently filed civil actions to recover legal fees and back pay.

In August, the city council approved a $210,000 settlement for O’Neil, as HCV first reported.

Ascolese is also part of Chesler’s federal whistleblower case, which was filed after the city disbanded the JCPD’s motorcycle unit following a 2014 “Kane in Your Corner” report indicated several officers were abusing overtime.

Also in August, Ascolese offered to settle his civil case for $383,000, but the city has not responded to that request yet.

He was also part of a federal case with Chesler, where they alleged that former Police Chief Philip Zacche, who admitted stealing approximately $32,000 from the city’s housing authority through a no-show job, violated their civil rights in a whistleblower case filed in federal court.

On Thursday, the council will vote on a measure addressing that case as well, deciding whether Bratti Greenan, LLC will represent Zacche in that case – at an hourly rate of $150 an hour not to exceed $50,000.

If the resolution is approved, the contract would be good for one year, effective retroactively as of October 1st, 2020.

The city council will convene on Thursday, instead of Wednesday, at 6 p.m. via Microsoft Teams to recognize Veterans Day.