TRENTON – State Sen. Brian Stack, (D-33), Union City, was named in a civil lawsuit Thursday, but his attorney said the suit was leaked before the mayor was served. He said the mayor may file a frivolous lawsuit claim against the allegations.
John Whipple, of Arseneault, Whipple, Fassett & Azzarello in Chatham, is representing Stack and the city in a suit brought by a former government attorney who is alleging pay-to-play violations, among other things.
Whipple said Stack was never served with a copy of the suit, which was filed Thursday, but that the suit was leaked to “pollute the press” before the mayor could review it. Whipple called the move by opposing attorney Louis Zayas “disturbing” and “borderline unethical.”
“I think it’s telling about who this plaintiff is,” Whipple said, referring to plaintiff Mateo Perez, who was formerly the attorney for the Union City Housing Authority, Planning Board, and Library Board. “The claims in this suit are completely baseless.”
“This case will be aggressively defended in the courts,” Whipple said, “and will be aggressively defended in the press.”
He said Stack “may bring a claim for bringing a frivolous lawsuit” against Perez.
Mark Albiez, chief of staff for Stack, responded to the lawsuit earlier today, but had not seen an actual copy, the attorney said. Whipple said Albiez had reviewed a draft complaint that circulated in City Hall.
In response, Zayas said this afternoon that the comments from Whipple are “not only slanderous, but itself unethical.”
He said matters of public importance are covered by the First Amendment right to free speech, and that he is unaware of any ethics regulations concerning alerting the press and the serving of legal documents. “What I do know is unethical is disparaging another attorney,” Zayas said. “I strongly suggest that Mr. Whipple read the First Amendment before he speaks about what he considers unethical.”