MANAHAWKIN – Stafford Township has confidentially paid out a $34,000 settlement to Earl Galloway, the retired Navy master chief who brought to light the mayor’s exaggerated military service record, public records obtained by government transparency expert John Paff revealed.
The saga of Earl Galloway and his civil rights lawsuit filed against Stafford Township has finally come to a close this summer, with a settlement agreement between Earl Galloway and the Township of Stafford being signed as of June 13th, 2016. As Ocean County Politics has previously reported, Galloway sued the township after he alleged that the mayor used the Stafford police for political retaliation to conduct an inquiry into one of the mayor’s foes. Galloway, a self-described “stolen valor” activists previously called out Mayor Spodofora for making exaggerated claims about his military service record to score cheap political points. At issue was a parody Facebook page created by Galloway that satirically criticized the mayor over the allegations of “stolen valor” he faced, as Spodofora claimed a mail-in medal from a hunting club was a Vietnam “medal of valor” he earned for his service on his campaign mailers and website.
Mayor Spodofora commenced a police investigation into Galloway’s parody facebook page for identity theft, a move that Galloway said was in retaliation for his criticism of the mayor.
But Stafford Township Attorney Jerry Dasti, who defended the mayor in his official capacity, said in an email to a reporter “Mayor Spodofora never filed an identity theft complaint against anyone,” Mr. Dasti wrote. “Rather he asked the Police Department to look into what was an obvious identity theft.”
Nevertheless, Despite Dasti’s defense along with Toms River mayor Tom Kelaher’s law firm representing the mayor in his personal capacity during the legal battle, for whatever reason Stafford Township decided it would be easier to pay Mr. Galloway a $34,000 settlement rather than continue to fight it out in court. In addition to not admitting wrondoing on the township’s part, the settlement agreement contains a confidentiality clause barring both sides from publicly discussing the particulars of the case, so we can only speculate. Mr. Galloway was represented by the Ocean Township (Monmouth County) law firm of Ansell, Grimm & Aaron.
The Galloway case is far from the township’s only current legal situation. This website will be taking a look at other legal issues before the township in the near future.
Settlement agreement below courtesy of Mr. Paff.