A coach and a longtime teacher at  Phillipsburg High School were suspended over a blackmail attempt to influence their tenure hearing.

Warren County Prosecutor James Pfeiffer said wrestling coach Dave Post, 36, and longtime math teacher George Chilmonik, 74, threatened a district employee that they would "release embarrassing information about that employee" if they did not "advocate for their interests" in front of the Board of Education.

Chilmonik and Post were arrested on Monday. They made their first court appearance on Tuesday and released, according to LehighValleyLive.com. They were ordered by a judge to have no contact with the target of their threats, each other or the media.

They were placed on administrative leave and are prohibited from district property, according to a message sent to parents and students by Superintendent Greg Troxell. He said he could not comment on the allegation themselves.

Chilmonik has worked in the district since1970 and earned a salary of $100,348 while Post began with the district in 2007 with a salary of $82,942, according to payroll records. LehighValleyLive.com reported that Chilmonik was an official with the Phillipsburg Education Association. A 1995 story in the Allentown Morning Call identified him as a union vice president; the union's website does not currently list him as part of its leadership.

Post was charged with second-degree conspiracy to commit official misconduct, third-degree conspiracy to commit criminal coercion and second degree conspiracy to commit threats and improper influence in official and political matters.

Chilmonik was charged with second-degree official misconduct, third-degree criminal coercion and third-degree threats and improper influence in official and political matters.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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