When the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Workplace confirmed the firing of govt assistant prosecutor Michel Paulhus in July, they stated it was as a result of Paulhus had created a hostile work atmosphere.

Paulhus now says he was fired for exposing doable criminality involving an dependancy restoration counselor with ties to Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato.

Paulhus has filed a tort declare expressing his intention to sue the prosecutor’s workplace and its high leaders for wrongful firing and violation of the state’s Conscientious Worker Safety Act.

Within the tort, filed by lawyer Russell L. Lichtenstein, Paulhus claims he discovered from an assistant prosecutor that John Brogan, an dependancy restoration specialist, allegedly extorted dad and mom of younger addicts, that one in every of his assistants arraigned for a girl to acquire medicine in order that she would qualify for rehab and that he despatched folks on probation out of state for rehab remedy in violation of court docket orders.

Brogan is CEO and chief restoration specialist with Lifeline Restoration Assist Providers in Toms River.

Reached for remark Friday, Brogan known as the allegations “utterly false,” however declined to remark additional till he had time to debate the matter together with his lawyer.

Paulhus, a 25-year veteran of the prosecutor’s workplace who was answerable for inside affairs and public corruption issues, claims Coronato and Brogan have a really shut and public relationship due to Brogan’s work in dependancy remedy, despite the fact that Brogan was convicted of a third-degree theft by deception cost in Ocean County Superior Court docket in 2010.

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Brogan, a recovering addict himself, partnered with Coronato on Ocean County’s Blue Harp program, which permits county residents struggling with dependancy to show themselves in to native police, the place they’ll obtain assist battling their drug behavior, moderately than legal prices.

Paulhus took his considerations about Brogan to Coronado and First Assistant Prosecutor John Corson in Could, expressing concern that the problem was “problematic” for the prosecutor’s workplace, given its shut ties to Brogan.

Paulhus additionally instructed them that Brogan had “deceived dad and mom of younger adults with dependancy issues concerning the fee for his providers,” the tort states.

“Mr. Paulhus suggested prosecutor and first assistant prosecutor that Brogan was improperly benefitting from his relationship with the prosecutor and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Workplace,” Lichtenstein wrote.

Two days later, on Could 17, Paulhus alerted his superiors to a different allegation in opposition to Brogan. On this incident, the daddy of a probationer launched from jail in January of this yr introduced the younger lady to Brogan’s workplace and an assistant for Brogan allegedly “introduced the probationer to a location the place she would illegally acquire and ingest a managed harmful substance previous to departing for Florida.”

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This was allegedly completed so the girl would check constructive for medicine and qualify for admission to a rehab facility, in response to the tort.

On high of that, Paulhus reported that Brogan instructed the girl’s dad and mom that he wouldn’t give the probation workplace a proof for the girl’s absence from New Jersey till he “acquired fee and a signed contract.”

Brogan allegedly assured the dad and mom that their daughter’s absence from New Jersey, in violation of her probation phrases, can be “no drawback.”

The dad and mom in the end signed a contract with Brogan Restoration Options, LLC in February, Paulhus said.

Much less {that a} month after reporting these considerations, Paulhus was instructed he was being terminated and that his employment would conclude on the finish of October.

In the meantime, in late June, Paulhus says Coronato was “admonished” throughout a gathering of the Ocean County Judiciary “about his relationship with Brogan and Brogan’s practices and conduct.”

Lichtenstein wrote to Coronato in July, arguing that Paulhus’ deliberate termination was unlawful and a violation of the New Jersey Conscientious Worker Safety Act. Three days later, on July 16, Paulhus was terminated “efficient instantly,” in response to a letter given to Paulhus.

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A press launch issued concerning the firing contained a fraudulent rationalization for his removing, in response to the tort, and amounted to defamation.

Al Della Fave, spokesman for the prosecutor’s workplace, stated no press launch was ever issued concerning the firing and that he solely commented — telling the Asbury Park Press that Paulus was “terminated for making a hostile work atmosphere” — in response to media requests concerning the matter.

Past that, Della Fave stated the workplace had no touch upon the tort claims.

Contacted Friday, Lichtenstein declined to touch upon the case past the contents of the tort discover.

Prosecutors in Ocean and different counties have praised Brogan for his work in dependancy restoration, and former Gov. Chris Christie highlighted Brogan’s story throughout a 2016 press convention saying $100 million in funds to battle the state’s heroin disaster.

Brogan overdosed on heroin 4 occasions earlier than attainting longterm restoration, Christie stated on the time.

“Right this moment, John is a restoration coach, and he’ll work with the State’s Restoration Coach Program because it strikes ahead,” he stated. “When an overdose sufferer wakes up and reaches out for help, John is there for them.”

Matt Grey could also be reached at [email protected] Comply with him on Twitter @MattGraySJT. Discover the South Jersey Occasions on Fb. Have a tip? Inform us: nj.com/ideas.



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