WEST WILDWOOD – A decision in the case of former West Wildwood Mayor Christopher Fox’s alleged ethics violations could take months.
On the third day of hearings, held over Zoom, in front of Administrative Law Judge John S. Kennedy, Fox’s lawyer, Michelle Douglass, rested, despite earlier claims she would call West Wildwood Police Chief and Fox’s housemate, Jacquelyn Ferentz, to testify.
Fox is appealing the violations and testified during direct examination in a prior hearing (http://bit.ly/3lr9fsm).
After a brief cross-examination of Fox by state Deputy Attorney General Steven Gleeson March 11, and an even shorter redirect by Douglass, items were moved into evidence after Douglass announced she didn’t have further witnesses.
Douglass objected to the original transcript from Fox’s testimony being considered in front of the state Local Finance Board, but the judge overruled her objection, indicating he could ignore hearsay in the testimony, under the residuum rule.
Kennedy said lawyers could submit closing arguments and briefs in writing. Gleeson asked for extra time beyond the 30 days typically allowed.
“This is definitely, I think, a larger case than most that go before the OAL (Office of Administrative Law),” Gleeson said.
Kennedy gave 45 days, starting when all parties receive all three days of hearing transcripts, and explained he will get 45 days to render his decision after receiving the lawyers’ briefs.
The judge said if either party disagrees, they can make exceptions to his decision, which will be sent with the decision for final review by the state Local Finance Commission.
Kennedy said it can take another 45 days to review the decision and consider the lawyers’ exceptions.
“That’s a long-winded way of saying this case probably won’t conclude for another three or four months,” Kennedy told Fox.