2002-06-27 / Front Page

Howell employees indicted on conspiracy charges

Staff Writer
By kathy baratta

Howell employees indicted on conspiracy charges

HOWELL â014 The town's director of emergency management and an employee who was under his supervision at the time alleged crimes occurred were arrested this week on a warrant executed by the Mon-mouth County Prosecutor's Office.

According to Monmouth County First Assistant Prosecutor Robert A. Honecker Jr., Theodore Shostak, 51, of Howell, and Michael D'Amore, 37, of Lakewood, were arrested at work on Monday in a joint effort by members of the prosecutor's office and the Howell Police Department.

Shostak and D'Amore are both charged in a two-count grand jury indictment alleging official misconduct and conspiracy. According to Honecker, each charge of the indictment carries a 10-year sentence which means that if convicted on both counts, each man faces a maximum 20-year prison sentence.

The indictments charge that on or about diverse dates ranging between Sept. 9 and Sept. 15, 2000, Shostak and D'Amore committed acts relating to their employment as public servants that they knew to be in violation of their official functions.

Specifically, in the second conspiracy charge, the grand jurors charged that the two men conspired to commit the crime which alleges that Shostak, while in his position as assistant department head, conducted a municipal public auction "in such a way as to deny the sale of a 1985 Ford ambulance to a legitimate bidder."

It is further alleged in the indictment that D'Amore later purchased that Ford ambulance without having to bid on it at public auction, an act the indictment claims both men knew to be in violation of their official duties and the law.

Shostak is in his 13th year of employ-ment with Howell and until this month he held three significant municipal posts. Since being hired in 1989 as an assistant code enforcement officer, Shostak had been moved up to head the Office of Emer-gency Management in 1994, for which he is paid a $10,000 annual stipend.

In 1995, Shostak was named Howell's environmental official for an annual stipend of $5,000.

In 1999, Shostak was appointed to the newly created position of assistant director of public works for an annual salary of $61,000.

Shostak had returned to work on June 18 after being out on disability leave since a motor vehicle accident last July. Shostak was the driver of a municipal vehicle at the time of the accident and D'Amore was his passenger. Both men were injured in the accident.

According to Kathy Fenton, director of Howell's human resources department, Shostak's position as assistant director of public works was abolished. Upon his return to work on June 18 he was reassigned at his present salary to the position of media training officer.

Fenton said Shostak would now be in charge of employees' computer training while retaining his two stipend positions.

D'Amore, a fabricator-welder, has been employed by Howell for just over two years. His present annual salary is $42,000.

Honecker said that following their arrest and processing the two men were released on a 10 percent $10,000 bail which they posted the day of the arrest.

The prosecutor said Shostak and D'Amore will be arraigned in the next couple of weeks at which time they will enter a plea to the charges.

Township Attorney Richard Schibell told Greater Media Newspapers on Mon-day that a hearing would be held Tuesday (June 25) at which time a decision would be made as to whether any municipal action would be taken against either Shostak or D'Amore.

Howell's Interim Township Manager Bruce Davis was scheduled to be the hearing officer on Tuesday.

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