BAYONNE -- A lawsuit filed in 2007 by the former executive director to the Bayonne Parking Authority has been partially settled for in excess of $230,000.
Former Parking Authority Executive Director Peter Hilburn and Felicia Ryan, an executive secretary for the BPA, filed a suit against the City of Bayonne, former Mayor Joseph Doria. and other prominent city officials in U.S. District Court. The City of Bayonne and Doria have not settled, according to Hilburn’s attorney Karen DeSoto, who said that portion of the case will likely go to trial.
Hilburn and Felicia Ryan, an executive secretary for the Parking Authority, were among a handful of Parking Authority employees terminated as part of what Parking Authority officials claimed was reorganization. Hilburn, cooperating with the state Attorney General’s office on a probe of the BPA, claims he was illegally terminated by the BPA after he revealed his role as a whistleblower.
For months prior to his termination, Hilburn had told the Bayonne Community News that he was concerned about questionable activities in the Parking Authority, including possible ticket fixing for city and school officials. Hilburn said he had gone to the state Attorney General to investigate the matter, and in the months leading up to his termination, Hilburn expressed the fear that he would become a target for this cooperation.
In the suit filed jointly with Ryan, Hilburn claimed he told Peter Cresci, assistant corporation counsel for the city of Bayonne, that he was working as a whistleblower. The suit alleges that Cresci informed then Mayor Doria, after which Hilburn and Ryan were terminated.
Besides including Doria, the BPA, and Cresci, the suit also names Rocco Coviello, chairman of the BPA board, Michael Pierson, the vice chairman, Kathy Lo Re, former assistant director of the BPA, and the full board of commissioners.