Lawsuit targets Wilson, Stears

A Burlington County lawyer filed a lawsuit today against Tom Wilson and other members of The Strategy Group, demanding that the firm give back all the money it made from the Burlington County Bridge Commission, which was duped out of up to $1 million by former partner Robert Stears.

Former Democratic candidate for Freeholder Dean Buono filed the suit, demanding that the firm pay back the entire $2.6 million it received from Burlington County between 1997 and 2003. Wilson, and Stears, who in December pled guilty to overcharging the BCBC, are named in the lawsuit.

"It simply is not believable that in a small firm such as this the other partners would not be aware of such an enormous amount of money coming in for work that was not being performed, especially since they were benefiting from the profits," said Buono.

While Wilson was never charged with any wrongdoing, the lawsuit says that Stears acted "with the full knowledge, consent, ratification and approval, either express or implied, of Wilson” and other members of the firm.

The Strategy Group has since dissolved, with some of its members reforming into 1868 Public Affairs. Michael Torpey, a partner at 1868 and brother of former Strategy Group member Patrick Torpey, told that there was no one in his firm available to comment at the time.

Wilson did not respond to several requests for comment.

Lawsuit targets Wilson, Stears