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Report: Mayor Found Not Guilty of Harassing Township Employee

DPW worker says the ongoing feud he has with the mayor is not over, and he is likely to file additional civil suits against the mayor

Mahwah Mayor Bill Laforet was found not guilty of a harassment charge filed by a township Department of Public Works employee, NorthJersey.com reported.

Central Municipal Court Judge Roy McGeady said Thursday morning that DPW worker Marc Bracciodieta’s story that Laforet elbowed him inside the Bagel Express in Mahwah “could not be corroborated, therefore necessary proof beyond a reasonable doubt could not be reached,” the report said.

Bracciodieta, who had accused Laforet of elbowing him at the Franklin Turnpike bagel shop in October, said he was not satisfied with the court’s ruling.

“I don’t care what the court says,” he told Patch after the ruling Thursday. “I know the truth, the mayor knows the truth, and there is a video out there that shows that.”

According to Bracciodieta, the bagel store could not retrieve a surveillance video of the incident from the shop’s video recording system, which he said he requested a few days after the alleged elbowing.

“I guarantee that if my version [of what happened in the store] was not at all true, that video would have shown up.”

Laforet has filed a harassment suit against Bracciodieta, who he claims drives past the Mahwah Sunoco the mayor owns shouting profanities, NorthJersey.com reported. Those charges have yet to be heard, the report said.

Laforet could not be immediately reached Thursday afternoon for comment.

Bracciodieta said the incident is not over. The township employee said he plans to lodge civil suits against the mayor, Mahwah Police Department, who he said failed to retrieve the video from the store, and Bagel Express.

According to attorney George Cotz, who is defending Bracciodieta in Laforet’s suit against him, the civil suit would seek monetary damages from the municipal government and bagel store for “violating [Bracciodieta’s] constitutional rights.” The fact that the bagel store video was not produced would be a part of that lawsuit, Cotz said. The suit would also claim that the mayor has harassed Bracciodieta while he is on the job, Cotz said.

The lawyer declined to say how much money Bracciodieta would seek in the lawsuit.

The civil suit cannot be filed until the charges pending against Bracciodieta have been settled, Cotz said.

Representatives from the police department declined to comment on the videotape.

The mayor and DPW worker have been at odds since last summer, when Laforet proposed privatizing the township’s Recycling Department. Bracciodieta was a vocal opponent of the plan, which was eventually voted down by the town council. Bracciodieta was later suspended for cursing at the police chief while talking with another township employee about the privatization plan at the police station.

NorthJersey.com ran an op-ed piece in December criticizing the two men for their ongoing feud, and saying they were “act[ing] like children,” for taking their dispute to court.”

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rodney van dunk January 11, 2013 at 10:49 PM
the bottom line is marc is a good guy and stands up for his rights and mr cotz is a great lawyer. Andy and Hank its 2013 get a life.
Gottardo DiGiacopo January 12, 2013 at 12:35 AM
I hate being considered "a taxpayer"; it feels so empty...black type on a white label
James Hoyt January 12, 2013 at 03:21 AM
And make sure Mr. Mayor stays out of that gas station zoning variance vote ... he'll drown in that one considering the LOOT he took from the applicant. Beehive Court and anyone close to Rt 17 are ready for the fight.
Chopped Meet January 12, 2013 at 05:22 AM
you can tuna piano, but you can't tune-a-fish
James Hoyt January 12, 2013 at 06:25 AM
OK, REO, settle down. There was a good Queen album that year too. Damn we're old.
indigenous January 12, 2013 at 01:01 PM
Why are any of you surprised by any lawyer's past actions? Lawyers by nature are vultures. Mr Cotz is but one lawyer for the Ramapough. And as Carol said, "One case has nothing to do with the other". For the sake of the taxpayers, both men need to sit down, talk it out and move on.
Ramapough Indian Concerned January 12, 2013 at 04:53 PM
Carol Degroat, Well, Well, How is the Ramapough Tribe doing? ( If this is Ramapoughs's Secretary) Don't trown Stones if you live in a Glass house."Your People" ?, Where we your people when you trash talked Ramapoughs that live on the Mountain, Don't think so! The point of PATCH is to have an open dialouge about MAHWAHS issues, and I must say their are many including the State of affairs of The Ramapough Indian Tribe. In Native Culture The Circle is very significant because it implys everything is Connected, I believe this applys to Mahwah and our issues.Marc is doing what many individuals won't or Can't because they may be afraid to, and that is stand up to Authorities when they are WRONG! The Mayor should not follow around Individual Citizens, and photograph them, Ask yourself if B.E was robbeed at gunpoint, would Investigators have access to the tape.. Also question why in the world would any Mayor elbow a citizen ? If this was any of us, reguardless of our opinin of Marc or Mr. Laforet we would want and expect to have access to the Video tape that would cooborate the story. What happened if Marc got hurt and Called EMS and the incident was on record? Public Opinion would be different." It must of Happened EMS showed up" This is a another Black Eye On Mahwah, however it is important to stand up for what you feel is Right and Just no matter who it is, including Elected Officials.Ramapough has other Lawyers too.. Judith Sullivan, and Steve Dennison Smith, Who cares!
David L January 13, 2013 at 01:46 PM
Time to come off your horse and look at the facts! 1. Marc has a track record of filing complaints against authoritys in multiple states. 2. Marc took a political side agains the Mayor in the election in favor of his boss and is sore his boss got crushed. 3. Marc is afraid to have his job outsourced , so by suing the town he feels he gets job security since he feels its tougher for them to let someone go that is sueing the town because if they do cut his postion he can then sue and say it was because they don't like me. 4. His own family has filed complaints agains him, what does that say? 5. He was reprimanded by his own boss and the town council ( 7-0 vote) this year for cursing at the Chief of police. I do agree with you on the one point you made though, it's time people stood up for the RIGHT things, not work the system at tax payers expense. Marc has some issues and working for the town may not be the best place for him to work since one of his next outburst might be to a citizen of Mahwah. Maybe we the citizens of Mahwah should put a rat on his from lawn and demand the town fire him.
Hank January 13, 2013 at 07:04 PM
rodney, I can't afford a life I am hoping it is included in Obamacare
tony January 14, 2013 at 03:43 AM
Why have a survaillance camera in your store if you cant come up with the code to retreive the tape. I am sure if the store got robbed a copy of the tape would be available. Seems a little fishy that since the mayor was involved they cant get the tape. T he mayor should have thicker skin and not chase after someone who yells things out his car window. The last time i checked this is America freedom of speech is not a crime.I am sure the mayor has been called worse and didnt react,he just doesnt like Marc, thats the bottom line.
Mona Lot January 14, 2013 at 11:05 AM
Maybe its because the owner of the store in question is a good friend of the Mayor and contributed a large amount of money to his campaign,just saying,if was a robbery Im sure the whole camera and recording equipment would have been comfiscated by the authority investigating the crime.
David L January 14, 2013 at 12:47 PM
That's right blame the store owner now! Guess you all forgot that the store had workers and people on line and none of them came up and said they saw anything? I get bumped into about 10 time in Shoprite every week with those oversized carts and crazy people shopping, Marc hopfully doesn't shop there, he would have no time to work he would be in court weekly! Just Saying.
Ramapough Indian Concerned January 14, 2013 at 01:37 PM
Hey' David L, Sorry Don't own a Horse! . You are surmising at Marc's intent, which you are wrong,yes Marc is worried about job security of many DPW workers as their friend and Steward. The incident at Mahwah PD also could of been cooborated wih a Video tape that was not produced because of "National Security" reason (Ask Mr. Campion) At the end of the day we all have our opinions , is this incident a personal vendetta that has spilled over into public scrutiny because the parties are, the Mayor and a Public Employee , H,ell yeah! My whole point is reguardless of our personal opinions of Marc and Bill, The Tape should of been used as evidence, The Mayor should not have be at the Bagel Express last Wednesday behind the Counter, while Investigators were trying to get the tape again!, and No Mayor should follow around a Citizen taking photos. As for Abie he may have a Horse! Bought with someon elses Money of Course!
leroy brown January 14, 2013 at 03:23 PM
Maybe he can call ABC News again in order to retrieve "The Lost Bagel Tapes".
leroy brown January 14, 2013 at 03:55 PM
God forbid someone calls him out on his drive by swearing. Picking fights with the chief of police and the mayor really makes a lot of sense when you work for the town. The fact that outsourcing recycling was voted DOWN and he still targets the gas station makes you wonder about his sanity. Does this mean Bagel Express will be his new stop for hurling obscenities from the safety of his own car?
leroy brown January 14, 2013 at 03:59 PM
He doesn't have a lawn. It belongs to his landlord, as do the property taxes.
Hank January 14, 2013 at 08:17 PM
Good points David L! Marc is not ready yet, but if he keeps this up he will be well qualified to be the next Mayor of Mahwah
Frank January 15, 2013 at 03:19 AM
this is all pretty wacky. how on earth can this joker still be employed by our town? even debs would be rolling in his grave over the sheer idiocy of that.
Andy Schmidt January 15, 2013 at 10:30 PM
To be fair, if the county prosecutor Andrew Samson was even the least bit interested in this entire matter, he would have found a way to get the court to summons that "tape" from the bagel store owner, or else... The fact that the prosecutor dropped the ball is more a reflection on that attorney (or his order of priorities) than on the accuser or the merits of the accusation.
Andy Schmidt January 15, 2013 at 10:35 PM
I'm glad it was not my family member - I would expect most of us would have handled that original emergency in just the same way. As far as the internal affairs complaint - I suppose that's where people's different temperaments play out.
Mona Lot January 15, 2013 at 11:46 PM
Does anyone realize that Marc was not on town time the day he was bumped into by Mr. Laforet and does anyone care that Mr. Laforets attorney is a good friend of the court and does anyone care that the county prosecuter was not interested in this matter,sure sounds like a fair trial to me,yes im being sarcastic Andrew and did Mr. Curry identify Marc in person or did he just do what his boss(Mr. Lafoet) of 15 years told him to do.
Ted Baker January 16, 2013 at 04:16 PM
Do you care, Mona about people shouting obscenities in public when there could be young children around? Do you care about someone that wants to sue our town because he was bumped into at a cramped deli by an older man? Do you care that he has zero respect for authority (police chief and the mayor)? Marc is not exactly a role model here, I don't see why he needs to be lionized.
Ted Baker January 16, 2013 at 05:35 PM
I wonder if the tapes are more damning to the plaintiff if it captures his 8 minute obscenity laden tirade. Verbal assault is considered a form of assault as well.
Ted Baker January 16, 2013 at 05:39 PM
" I'm gonna keep on suing you...cause its the only thing I wanna doooo....." "I don't wanna sleep, I just wanna keep on suing yoooooo."
Don Strock January 18, 2013 at 06:23 PM
I think they deserve eachother in some cosmic way.
Don Strock January 18, 2013 at 06:24 PM
A good guy with a bad mouth.
Don Strock January 18, 2013 at 06:25 PM
Sorry Hank, the mahwah voters don't want the DPW in the mayor's office. Just ask Ed Sinclair.
Don Strock January 18, 2013 at 06:27 PM
Call ADP or whoever issued the equipment. Just because they are cops does not make them trained video technicians. I'm sure if it was a box of munchkins they could get right in.
Don Strock January 18, 2013 at 06:28 PM
Union power Frank, for better or worse. Union power.
Leaking Ink January 25, 2013 at 02:02 PM
No, I'm not a professional blogger for the Patch. I'm sorry if you feel that my comments are "fake," whatever that means. I'm just an ordinary, run-of-the-mill resident with an opinion--just like you. I'm not a town council member or anything like that. This is the United States of America, and I'm entitled to have and to make whatever comments and opinions I want to. And I will continue to do just that. Forgiveness isn't easy, but it works--even in political situations. I stick by my comment.

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