Toms River administrator seeks to block release of state records claiming pattern of alleged homophobia in Guardian lawsuit

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Former Atlantic City Mayor, Don Guardian.

TOMS RIVER, NJ – The lawsuit filed by former Toms River Business Administrator Don Guardian, who was sacked by Mayor Maurice Hill claiming wrongful termination and a homophobic workplace took a bizarre new turn this week.

Guardian, who is suing Hill, the township council, and his successor, Louis Amoruso claims in his lawsuit that he was targeted in part because he was gay. Guardian was terminated by Hill upon returning from a period lave for a disability from the township after suffering a medical episode during a town council executive session meeting in 2020.

In a court filing by Guardian’s attorneys, Amoruso is alleged to have said while working as a State Trooper, “I miss being on the midnight shift and busting f-ggots at the rest stop.”

That statement comes from a brief filed by Amoruso’s own lawyer in the case.

Guardian, a Republican served as the first mayor of Atlantic City and was one of New Jersey’s first openly gay Republican mayors.

Now, Guardian says deposition testimony against Amoruso when he worked as a State Trooper is relevant to his case, but Amoruso’s lawyers presented their case to have the request for the release of his former state employment records squashed.

“It has been testified that former Trooper Amoruso has represented the following as it related to his time as a New Jersey State Trooper, “I miss being on the midnight shift and busting fagg-ts at the rest stop.” Copy of all police report, summons, complaints, and/or tickets issued to or pertaining to any individual at any rest stop during former Trooper Amoruso’s employment,” Guardian’s lawyer said in a subpoena for records to New Jersey State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan.

Guardian’s lawyer requested a copy of the complete personnel file for Amoruso, who served at the rank of Sgt. First Class in the department’s administration bureau as a project manager.

In his initial court filing, Guardian said he was referred to as a “pillow biter”, a derogatory term to slander gay men. He also accused Amoruso, a former New Jersey State Trooper of homophobic slurs. Guardian has filed a subpoena to request Amoruso’s State Police work records because he feels those records would prove a history of anti-gay speech by Amoruso.

In a brief filed by Amoruso’s lawyer, Vanessa E. James, Esquire of the law firm of Barker, Gelfand, James, and Sarvas, James sought to block Guardian’s request for his State Police employment records.

James argued that Amoruso’s past employment history is irrelevant to Guardian’s case and is asking the court to reject the motion. So far, the court has not made a decision on whether to allow the subpoena or not.

“The subpoena in question seeks records which are not relevant and/or for the purpose of annoying and embarrassing Defendant Amoruso,” James argued in her brief. “The subpoena duces tecum to New Jersey State Police Superintendent Colonel Patrick J. Callahan seeking Defendant Amoruso’s employment records should be quashed because any conduct, event or information in the records being sought necessarily would have taken place fifteen years ago or longer when Defendant Amoruso was employed in an entirely different position and field with an entirely different employer.”

James said the event in question was “too far removed” to be relevant for racial animous, adding Amoruso’s conduct during his employment as a state trooper is not at issue in this case.

“As such, the issue is whether or not Amoruso actually made that statement, not whether or not Defendant Amoruso arrested homosexuals as a State Trooper over fifteen years prior,” James argued in her brief. “Thus, even putting aside the age of the records being sought, they are still irrelevant to the instant case.”

“Finally, balancing the interests of the Plaintiff’s entitlement to discovery with Defendant Amoruso’s entitlement to be free of annoyance and embarrassment and in the confidentiality of his personnel records, weighs in favor of quashing the subpoena,” she continued.’

“Plaintiff is seeking Defendant Amoruso’s entire personnel file, every internal affairs record relating to Defendant Amoruso and any document related to an incident at a rest stop involving Defendant Amoruso, all of which concerns event that occurred fifteen or years prior to the event in question with another employer,” James wrote. “Thus, even of the records being sought have some relevance, it is far outweighed by Defendant Amoruso’s right to privacy and to be free of the embarrassment and annoyance of potentially having to rehash and reexamine events, potentially of a sensitive, disciplinary or otherwise negative nature, which occurred decades ago.”

Shore News Network contacted Amoruso for comment, but he declined to respond. Toms River Mayor Maurice Hill, Toms River Law Department Director Gregory P. McGuckin and members of the township council including Council President Kevin Geoghegan also declined comment.

A message to the township facebook manager and media contact Art Gallagher also went unanswered.

You can read the full court briefing below:

Toms River Business Adminis… by Shore News Network