Two Democrats today publicly withdrew an ethics complaint they filed against Assemblyman Richard Merkt (R-Morris) last year.
Burlington County Democratic Chairman Rick Perr and former Somerset County Democratic Chairman Elia Pelios last year filed a complaint with the Joint Committee on Ethical Standards alleging that Merkt had violated the state’s conflicts of interest law and the legislative code of ethics related to his vote on the 2002 budget.
The ethics complaint, which was also filed against six other Repulbican legislators, was dismissed a month later after the committee found that it went beyond the statute of limitations. But Merkt took particular offense to it, filing a lawsuit against the the two Democrats charging libel and defamation of character.
Perr and Pelios said that they based the lawsuit on information they later learned was incomplete and inaccurate.
“We acknowledge that the ethics complaint we filed against Assemblyman Merkt was based on incomplete information and contained statements that, based on information we later received, we have determined were inaccurate. We hereby retract our ethics complaint against the Assemblyman and express regret to both him and his family for any harm, distress, adverse publicity or public embarrassment caused by our having filed the complaint against him,” read a statement from Pelios and Perr.
Merkt accepted the apology from the two Democrats and indicated that he will drop the lawsuit.
“Both my family and I are gratified to have my reputation as a public official vindicated, as well as pleased to put this matter to rest the right way,” said Merkt. “I thank Chairmen Perr and Pelios for their apology, I accept it, and I now consider this matter closed.”