A Woodbridge Township first aid squad operates more like a fraternity house, hosting wild parties with nude dancers and prostitutes, New Jersey officials allege.
And Woodbridge Township officials say the hooker hoedowns are just the latest chapter in a longstanding battle with the Avenel-Colonia First Aid Squad, a volunteer ambulance company.
The battle began last month when Woodbridge police charged seven squad members with criminal trespassing, after the first responders posted Facebook pictures of the squad at an abandoned skate rink.
Police also charged a man -- who is not a squad member -- with promoting prostitution earlier this month, authorities announced. The man allegedly brought women to parties at the squad building, where they danced nude and were available for sex acts. Earlier this month two other ambulance members were also charged with causing false alarms.
This prompted Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac to sign an executive order redirecting all 911 calls to the Avenel-Colonia district to another ambulance company.
The attorney for Avenel-Colonia First Aid Squad said officials are engaged in a "public smear campaign.'' The charges are "trumped up and politically motivated,'' attorney Livinia Lee Mears told Woodbridge.injersey.com.
The town was hoping to keep the squad open provided all seven accused individuals – as well as a board member James Powers, stepped down, said business administrator Robert Landolfi. Powers a board member of the ambulance company publicly condoned the actions during a meeting with the township.
The township also wanted control in appointing a supervisor to manage its day-to-day functions. According to the ambulance company’s attorney the squad rejected the proposal.
“These allegations have literally come on the heels of the squad notifying the township it would not allow the Township to take over its squad and its refusal to merge with WTARS,” stated a posted message on Avenel-Colonia's website.
An 11-count complaint in Superior Court in Middlesex County today, seeking damages from the township for defaming the squad is being filed today by the company's attorney. Mears stated that the entire ordeal is a “public smear campaign." The lawsuit also alleges ethics and open-government violations by McCormac and the council.
“These most recent allegations against the squad are highly defamatory. No squad members have been charged with the criminal conduct the Township alleges to have occurred. Like the criminal trespass charges which were recently sent back to municipal court for resolution, these allegations are trumped up and politically motivated,” contends the Avenel-Colonia’s website.
The announcement of the lawsuit came hours after Woodbridge officials spoke to the press about the allegations of prostitution at the station house.
The council is expected to take a final vote Tuesday to redraw the first-aid map to exclude Avenel-Colonia as one of the four nonprofit squads serving the township.
Middlesex County Prosecutors are currently investigating their case, and were not immediately available for comment.