Richard Trenk has been the Township Attorney for 25 years too long.
During this time he:
• Gifted our downtown library to a favored developer by having it declared a blighted area. The NJ Supreme Court unanimously ruled in March of 2023 that the town’s decision violated public bidding laws. Trenk lost his case, but got paid royally by the taxpayers.
• Failed to apply for Green Acres (NJ preservation money) for Rock Spring Golf Club as he wants to make a deal with a developer, against public interest.
• Attempted to declare Essex Green a blighted area to give a huge tax abatement to a favored developer. Was stopped in appellate court at the taxpayer’s expense.
• Promised a satellite library, produced none, then opened an outpost after public outcry.
• Sought to limit public access to public information Lost in court again after leading the township into yet another expensive court case
• Had his 21 year old son, without any experience or expertise, appointed to the Planning Board.
• Declared "Knucklehead of the Week" by the Star Ledger following a threat by Trenk against a West Orange resident.
Resident requests information regarding potential conflict of interest by having township attorney Richard Trenk’s son serve as a voting member on the Township Planning Board. (The very board that approves dad’s initiatives.)
Not quite sure what the big deal is with current and past redevelopment practices in our town of West Orange. Welcome to lesson #1.
All aboard the Trenk Train! Who is this guy? He's YOUR Town Attorney/ lawyer , paid handsomely with your tax dollars. He's now costing the town even more money through municipal litigation brought on by another redevelopment scheme. Corruption? What will a NJ Superior Court judge find?
Below is a 2007, 53-page investigative report conducted & filed by Judge Gary S. Stein. Possible ethical violations committed by West Orange's current Town Attorney (Richard Trenk), were the subject of the investigation. Details re: Mr. Trenk's wheelings 'n dealings with a developer, as he worked for residents, while forming an LLC to purchase the real estate himself...straight out of movie script.
Details within the report.
Also below, an article published by the NJ State League of Municipalities, written by Staff Attorney
Deborah M. Kole, provides a clear definition of what constitutes a "conflict of interest" for municipal employees.
Relevance: The West Orange Town Council President at the time (Robert Parisi, now WO Mayor) could have acted on the findings by recommending that Richard Trenk not serve as West Orange town attorney. Flash forward to present day, and Mayor Parisi continues to support and allow Richard Trenk to serve as West Orange Town Attorney, and allow him to provide legal advice to the current Town Council. In addition, young Andrew Trenk (son) was appointed by Mayor Parisi to the Planning Board, creating an image of possible conflicts of interest regarding projects his father is promoting. (Maybe we are naive. Perhaps young Trenk will vote in opposition to his father's shady proposals?) So far, this hasn't been the case.
Richard Trenk is continuing to demonstrate a lack of ethical responsibility to the taxpayers he represents by acting as a conduit between the Town of West Orange, and the Developers who purchased Essex Green Shopping Center.