Edward Werner has filed a lawsuit against the state and Attorney General Anne Milgram, alleging that politics played a key role in his termination last year as Acting Executive Director of the Victims of Crime Compensation Office.
Werner, whose eleven year old son was murdered in 1997, says that he was fired for seeking to eliminate waste in state agency that compensates the victims of violent crime and for moving to reform a system that permitted no-bid construction contracts.
He alleges that then-State Senate Majority Leader Bernard Kenny (D-Hoboken) pushed him to protect the job of Cathleen Russo Delanoy, a lawyer for the agency whose position could have been eliminated if legislation to reorganize the agency was approved. Delanoy is the daughter of former Senate President John Russo and the sister-in-law of State Sen. Robert Singer (R-Lakewood).
In a letter to Milgram last year, Inspector General Mary Jane Cooper wrote that the agency under Werner’s direction has been mismanaged.
“The number of issues raised by the Inspector General are deeply troubling and demand further review,” Milgram said in a statement announcing Werner’s suspension in 2008. “The Victims of Crime Compensation Office serves a vital role in assisting victims of violent crimes and their families. I must be assured that the office is operating effectively, efficiently and utilizing its resources appropriately.”
After the murder of his son, who had been selling wrapping paper as a school fundraiser, Werner became politically active as an advocate for crime victims. He was the Democratic candidate for State Assembly in District 30 ten years ago, but lost to the Republican incumbents in a district also represented by Singer.