2002-07-05 / Front Page

Howell employees suspended pending indictment’s outcome

Staff Writer
By kathy baratta

Howell employees suspended
pending indictment’s outcome

HOWELL — Interim Township Man-ager Bruce Davis has suspended municipal employees Theodore Shostak, 51, of Howell, and Michael D’Amore, 37, of Lakewood, from their jobs pending the disposition of a two-count grand jury indictment against them.

Davis made the decision to suspend the two men without pay following a hearing held the day after their arrests.

Shostak, who is Howell’s director of emergency management, and D’Amore, a fabricator-welder with the town’s public works department, were arrested at work June 24.

Both men are charged with official misconduct and conspiracy. The indictments charge that between Sept. 9 and Sept. 15, 2000, Shostak and D’Amore committed acts related to their employment as public servants that they knew to be in violation of their official functions.

The second count of the indictments alleges a conspiracy between the two men that led to the public auction of a township vehicle to be held, "in such a way as to deny the sale of a 1985 Ford ambulance to a legitimate bidder."

The indictment further alleges that D’Amore later purchased the 1985 ambulance after conspiring with Shostak to have it removed from public auction, again, the indictment claims, an act the men knew to be in violation of their duties and the law.

According to Monmouth County First Assistant Prosecutor Robert A. Honecker Jr., each charge of the indictments carries a 10-year sentence. If convicted of both charges, each man could receive up to 20 years in prison.

Edward Quigley, director of the Economic Crime Unit of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Freehold, said D’Amore told investigators that he purchased the ambulance for $50 and later sold it for $2,500.

Shostak is in his 13th year of employment 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 Emergency 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 his involvement in a motor vehicle accident last July.

Shostak was the driver of a municipal vehicle at the time of the accident; 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 subsequently 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 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.

According to Honecker, the two men were released on 10 percent of $10,000 bail which they posted on the day of the arrests. He said the two men would be arraigned in the next couple of weeks at which time they will enter a plea to the charges.

Attorney Norman Hobbie of Eaton-town has been retained by Shostak to defend him in the matter.

Commenting on the matter, Hobbie said, "We deny any wrongdoing and anxiously await receipt of the investigation. I intend to vigorously and aggressively defend the case and Mr. Shostak’s honor."

It was not known by press time whether D’Amore has retained counsel.

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