The state has filed suit against the owner-operators of the Fenimore Landfill in Roxbury, where toxic gas continues to seep out and make some local residents sick.


Two civil complaints charge Richard and Marilyn Bernardi of Millstone, Monmouth County, and Strategic Environmental Partners, LLC with fraud, violating the New Jersey False Claims Act, unjust enrichment, breach of fiduciary duty and creating a public nuisance.

The Bernardis are accused of fraudulently gaining DEP approvals for a solar-related redevelopment project at Fenimore Landfill by failing to disclose nearly $2.5 million in corporate and personal debt.

They also are accused of misappropriating between $1 million and $3.4 million in landfill tipping fees that they were legally obligated to put in escrow - to ensure proper capping and closure of the landfill.

"We're all fed up right now with the actions of the Bernardis and SEP, and we all want to make sure this thing gets resolved as quickly and as expediently as possible and that the Bernardis, frankly, are held accountable," says acting State Attorney General John Hoffman.

"We are very dismayed. When there were supposed to be millions of dollars in an escrow account available for capping and enclosing the landfill, and that money was nowhere to be found, so we are taking aggressive and clear action to hold the Bernardis accountable in a legal form and the DEP is taking very strong action to make sure this problem is remedied."

Hoffman adds the problem has impacted a community "that doesn't deserve this, it deserves far better than this, and that's why we're taking as aggressive an action as we can take."