miggins & VinAyak
What is it all about?
When they were sworn into office as Millburn Township Committee (“TC”) members, Maggee Miggins and Sanjeev Vinayak accepted a weighty duty requiring them to act in a FIDUCIARY CAPACITY for the benefit of all residents and each neighborhood in Millburn Township. This duty implies and necessitates great confidence and trust from those to whom the duty is owed - the residents of Millburn, and scrupulous good faith and candor on the part of Ms. Miggins and Mr. Vinayak. Ms. Miggins and Mr. Vinayak have failed to act with scrupulous good faith and candor. They have breached their fiduciary duty through words and actions. They have disregarded the best interests of the Millburn Township community.
They accepted and then forced upon Millburn a Settlement Agreement (the “Agreement”) with the Fair Share Housing Center that will drastically increase the traffic in Downtown Millburn, that through their approved zoning ordinances will disproportionately impact the South Mountain and Wyoming neighborhoods, and that will leave looming the possibility of a 70% increase in the number of dwelling units in Millburn Township (Millburn and Short Hills). Ms. Miggins and Mr. Vinayak have refused time and again to listen to the many affected Millburn residents beseeching them to modify, amend or alter the zoning overlays and dwelling unit densities, as is EXPLICITLY ALLOWED FOR in the Settlement Agreement.
Such modifications, amendments and/or alterations have been publicly proposed. The zoning overlays, dwelling units per acre, and possibly the 100% Affordable Housing building at the current Department of Public Works Yard may be modified, amended or altered and Millburn will still meet its 114 dwelling unit Realistic Development Potential obligation. Without any explanation or reasons given, Ms. Miggins and Mr. Vinayak have simply refused to move forward in good faith and candor while purportedly representing and protecting Millburn’s best interests. THIS SITUATION CANNOT STAND!
Pursuant to Article I, paragraph 2b. of the New Jersey Constitution, the people of this State shall have the power to recall, after at least one year of service in the person’s current term of office, any United States Senator or Representative elected from this State or any State or local elected official in the manner provided herein.
NJSA 19:27A-1 names the Uniform Recall Election Law which through to NJSA 19:27A-18 mandates the rules and procedures of such recall. In accordance with these mandates, a Recall Committee has been formed and together with an ever-growing group of committed residents are seeking to protect Millburn Township’s best interests by instituting the procedure to recall Maggee Miggins and Sanjeev Vinayak.
Ms. Miggins and Mr. Vinayak took an oath requiring them to act on behalf of the residents of Millburn with scrupulous good faith, candor, and unwavering focused attention on the residents’ best interests in every discussion, proceeding & vote. Had they lived up to these requirements, Millburn could have negotiated Settlement terms and passed an Agreement that met Millburn’s Fair Share Housing obligations while retaining the safety and quality of life of all its residents. However, they have not done so. Instead, they have refused to seek to modify, amend or alter the detrimental terms of the current Agreement. Ms. Miggins and Mr. Vinayak have failed to comply with the Fiduciary Duties which they voluntarily took upon themselves. While acting in their elected Fiduciary Capacity, they have disregarded the best interests of Millburn’s residents and have refused numerous opportunities to correct their failures. Therein lies their failure to uphold the duty they were sworn to uphold.
Both Ms. Miggins and Mr. Vinayak have acknowledged that the negotiations with the Fair Share Housing Center were concealed from the residents of Millburn, as were the terms of the Agreement, until AFTER the TC had already voted on its passage. These actions inarguably lacked scrupulous good faith or candor. When presented with incontrovertible evidence that they were misled by their retained counsel, they refused to hire alternative counsel in regard to the Agreement.
Facts Establishing Breach of Fiduciary Capacity: • Edward Buzak, the special affordable housing and planning board attorney, misled our community on August 17, 2021 when he stated that “the mediation activities and the settlement agreement that were derived from that is and remains confidential until such time as it is approved by all parties. That was the order of the court and the order of the mediator.” https://youtu.be/BcPCctmBaSk&t=2296s
• At the Fairness and Preliminary Compliance Hearing on January 28, 2022, Judge Gardner stated “I never ordered that. There’s no order that ever said that.” https://www.dropbox.com/s/j1eyewkt201q6ne/1-28-22-Gardner.mp3?dl=0
• On August 18, 2020, Mr. Buzak, working in the same capacity for the Township of Denville, led their residents through an information session on the entirety of their agreement prior to their committee taking a vote to authorize its execution. https://bit.ly/3OJU9Mw(at 23:55)
• Residents have pointed this out to Ms. Miggins and Mr. Vinayak and have expressed that they do not believe Mr. Buzak is representing the best interests of our community. At the TC meeting on July 19, 2022, a motion was raised to replace Mr. Buzak with new legal counsel. Ms. Miggins and Mr. Vinayak, in concert with Mr. Wasserman, voted against this motion. They are complicit in continuing to retain an attorney who does not represent the best interests of the community.
• A representative sampling of other municipalities (Chatham, Colts Neck & Glen Rock), shows that their residents have been given the opportunity to file objections and participate in the Final Compliance Hearing for their Settlement Agreements. Despite repeated questioning, Mr. Buzak has not responded to residents’ inquiries as to when they will have the same opportunity to file objections or participate in Millburn’s Final Compliance Hearing (currently scheduled for September 16, 2022). Settlement Agreement Final Compliance Hearings for these other municipalities have allowed for “Any interested party that seeks to appear to be heard at the hearing shall have the opportunity to present any position on (that Towns’) request for the Declaratory Judgment Relief being sought. Written objections or comments by any interested party must be filed with the Court…” Millburn’s residents have only been provided with a statement on the Millburn Township website that a Zoom link will be posted one week prior to the September 16, 2022 scheduled hearing date.
Once residents became aware of the Agreement and began to ask questions and express tremendous concerns, Ms. Miggins and Mr. Vinayak provided excuses rather than answers to many of the residents’ basic questions. At the June 21, 2022 TC meeting, although she voted for the Agreement, Ms. Miggins was unable or unwilling to answer how many potential dwelling units could possibly be built adjacent to Millburn’s South Mountain and Wyoming neighborhoods. (The answer, combining the involved overlay zones B2C, B4 & CMO, is more than 2000 potential units.) They would not or could not disclose how and why each of the overlay densities were derived; or why certain areas of the Township were fully exempt from this type of construction - including the areas in which both of these individuals live and where Ms. Miggins has her place of work.
The B3 zone (Upper Millburn Ave.) has not been included in the overlay zones. The B2B zone on Morris Ave. has been given a much lower density than has the B2C zone abutting the South Mountain neighborhood. Ms. Miggins and Mr. Vinayak have ignored residents’ repeated questions seeking answers to why this is so. They either do not know or simply refuse to answer. At the July 19, 2022 TC meeting they deferred the question to the newly retained municipal planner Graham Petto who was not present when the zoning overlays were set. The response given was that B3 zone was not in the Housing Element and Fair Share Plan submitted in 2018. This response was at best misleading as neither OR1 ( Zone on JFK Parkway next to and including the Hilton & across from the Mall at Short Hills) nor B4 (the zone that encompasses Downtown Millburn) were included in the Housing Element and Fair Share Plan but, in fact, are included in the Agreement.
Ms. Miggins and Mr. Vinayak are complicit in providing misleading information to the residents of our town which in and of itself is a serious breach of their Fiduciary Duty.
Perhaps most significantly is the unexplained reason why Ms. Miggins and Mr. Vinayak adamantly refuse to seek to remedy the serious flaws in the current Agreement since at PAGE 18, PARAGRAPH 30 OF THE AGREEMENT IT IS EXPLICITLY STATED THAT WHEN ALL PARTIES TO THE AGREEMENT AGREE IN WRITING THE AGREEMENT MAY BE MODIFIED, AMENDED OR ALTERED.
In response to being asked why they had not considered exercising Paragraph 30 at a July 14, 2022 meeting with South Mountain residents Ms. Miggins said, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Mr. Wasserman stated, “I do not know what that is either.” The following link will bring you to the recording of these statements.(This link will bring you to the recording of Ms. Miggins’ statement) Since the time when a resident brought Paragraph 30 of the Agreement to Ms. Miggins’ attention, she and Mr. Vinayak have refused to acknowledge the ability to modify, amend or alter provided therein.
It is reasonable to believe that if Ms. Miggins was unaware of Page 18, Paragraph 30 of the Agreement, she was unaware of other terms of the Agreement as well. This indicates that she did not have a full understanding of the Agreement despite having negotiated and voted to approve the contents of that very same Agreement.
By withholding the above described information & by failing to answer questions during the Public Comments at TC meetings or allowing residents to ask follow-up questions regarding Township business; by failing to secure legal representation for the Township who would act in the best interest of the Township; by failing to demonstrate an understanding and familiarity with the terms of the Agreement that she negotiated & both she and Mr. Vinayak voted to approve; by failing to openly discuss potential outcomes and repercussions of votes or permitting public participation prior to TC votes; by failing to base their decision making upon outcomes being in the best interests of Millburn’s residents; Ms. Miggins and Mr. Vinayak have repeatedly failed to act with the scrupulous good faith, candor and care entrusted to them in their Fiduciary Capacity as members of the Township Committee.
In July 2021, all 5 members of the Township Committee voted to approve the current Agreement. It should be noted that only 2 of those members, Maggee Miggins and Richard Wasserman, participated in the negotiations. Since that time, 2 TC members (Dianne Eglow & Tara Prupis) have realized that the Agreement is clearly not in keeping with the best interests of Millburn Township. They have admitted that voting for the Agreement was a mistake and have presented the TC with opportunities to modify, amend &/or alter the Agreement. Ms. Miggins, Mr. Vinayak & Mr. Wasserman have blocked every attempt that Ms. Eglow & Ms. Prupis have made to modify, amend or alter any terms of the Agreement. They have refused to make any effort to do better for Millburn despite residents’ outcries and presentations of viable plans proposing how to do so.
Because Mr. Wasserman’s term ends December 31, 2022, and he is not running for another term on the TC, he is not a subject of this recall effort.
As mayor, Ms. Miggins has taken the lead in creating and imposing upon Millburn an Agreement with repercussions that could have been and still may be avoided. It is worth noting that Ms. Miggins owns a real estate firm in Millburn that may benefit from the influx of residents moving into the new units to be built under the terms of the Agreement. Although residents have requested that she do so, Ms. Miggins has refused to recuse herself from any official decision making related to the matter; with the exception of the Canoe Brook Ordinance. You can find more information about the nature of her business at https://www.migginsrealestate.com/.
As detailed above, since learning of the terms of the Agreement Millburn’s residents have attempted to reason with Ms. Miggins, Mr. Vinayak & Mr. Wasserman in order to persuade them to act in accordance with their Fiduciary Duty. Innumerable residents have met with Ms. Miggins, Mr. Vinayak & Mr. Wasserman publicly and privately to express their distress over the negative repercussions that the current Agreement will impose. Residents have voiced their concerns at TC meetings and have posted their concerns on social media. Residents have sought the willing assistance of Ms. Eglow & Ms. Prupis who have been outvoted at every corrective step sought.
A sampling of this public outcry can be viewed in the recordings of the 7/19/2022 TC meeting where Ms. Miggins, Mr. Vinayak & Mr. Wasserman completely disregarded residents’ comments, objections, and pleas (Ms. Miggins did not permit any discussion to occur) during the course of a 6.5+ hour meeting and voted 3-2 for the zoning overlays that will cause Millburn Township irreparable harm. See the 3-part recording of the meeting at the following link. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
Wasserman’s term ends in December 2022 and he is not running again. Therefore, the recall effort is focused on Miggins and Vinayak.
As previously mentioned, NJSA 19-27A-1 through 19-27A-18 lays out the procedure to be followed under the Uniform Recall Election Law. One recall committee must be formed to initiate recall proceedings for each incumbent sought to be recalled. (Two recall committees have been formed by Millburn residents in order to proceed with recall proceedings for both Ms. Miggins and Mr. Vinayak.)
The recall committees must notify the appropriate election official (Millburn’s Township Clerk), the Notice of Intention will be reviewed for statutory compliance, costs of a special election will be calculated and recall committee members will be notified of the acceptance or rejection of the notice.
The election official also notifies the incumbents of the Notice of Intention of recall and publishes a notice of the recall effort. The incumbents will have an opportunity to respond. Upon final approval of the petition, the recall committee and other registered voters in the jurisdiction of the recall election will solicit the signatures of other registered voters in that jurisdiction. One petition is required for each person sought to be recalled.
The recall committees shall collect the required number of signatures and file the completed petitions with the recall election official within 160 days calculated from the date that the recall petitions receive final approval for circulation from the recall election official. The petition requires the signatures of 25% of the registered voters in the jurisdiction as of the last general election (November 2, 2021). The election official reviewing the petition will then certify the number of signatures and determine validity within 10 days. If the petition is accepted, the election official will schedule the recall election.
Whenever a successor is to be chosen at a recall election in the event the recall is successful, the ballot shall indicate: “Nominees for successor to Maggee Miggins, mayor Township Committee member/ Sanjeev Vinayak, Township Committee member (each would be voted upon separately) in the event she/he is recalled.” The names of all persons nominated as successors shall appear immediately thereafter.
Committee to Recall Maggee Miggins: Dennis Fabian, Lena Einhorn & René Paparian
Committee to Recall Sanjeev Vinayak: Eugene Belau, James Peter Kokkalis & Ben Stoller
Collectively the recall committees consist of 6 residents representing Democrats, Republican & Unaffiliated registered voters.
NOTICE OF INTENTION TO RECALL MARGARET “MAGGEE” MIGGINS FROM THE OFFICE OF TOWNSHIP OF MILLBURN TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE MEMBER
NOTICE OF INTENTION TO RECALL SANJEEV VINAYAK FROM THE OFFICE OF TOWNSHIP OF MILLBURN TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE MEMBER