‘Pooping’ superintendent paid $110K for not working, sues for $1M
HOLMDEL — The former Kenilworth superintendent accused of repeatedly defecating on another district's high school track was paid nearly $110,000 to quit his job.
Thomas Tramaglini is facing a trial on misdemeanor charges in Municipal Court after being arrested in April.
The arrest made national headlines — and Tramaglini is suing Holdmel police, saying their unlawful release of his booking arrest photo to the media caused him at least $1 million in damages.
The Asbury Park Press last week reported that Tramaglini was paid more than $24,500 in two months' salary and more than $23,800 for 42 days of unused vacation in exchange for his resignation. He also was paid $61,460 for the months he was suspended following his April arrest.
No trial date has been set.
During a hearing Monday, Tramaglini's attorney argued that a surveillance video cannot be used as evidence in a Municipal Court trial.
Matthew Adams questioned the veracity of the video, according to NJ.com. The video footage was taken using a camera borrowed by a school janitor, it was revealed in court. The Holmdel police officer made a DVD copy of the footage he needed and returned the camera.
The memory card containing the footage has since been recorded over, leaving it "severely compromised," according to Adams.
Tramaglini was arrested on April 30 and charged with lewdness, littering and defecating in public after a Holmdel High School employee investigated a report of human feces being found on or near the track on a daily basis. Police said their investigation using surveillance video identified Tramaglini as the person responsible for the incidents. Tramaglini lives in a condo in nearby Matatwan.
"What they did with these media cards is tantamount to taking a hose on a bloody murder scene and washing it down before it's processed," Adams told Municipal Court Judge Mary Carey on Monday, NJ.com reported. The original footage contains meta data which is important to the case, according to Adams.
The judge was concerned more with what she saw in the video.
"At the end of the day I need to decide whether this took place on this day. It the state's counsel is insufficient and they can't prove their case, the case is over. It's dismissed. I don't need anything that happened after the fact," NJ.com quoted her as saying.
The footage has not been made available to the public and Open Public Records Act requests from New Jersey 101.5 and other media outlets have been rejected.
Tramaglini, who was accompanied by a bodyguard in court, did not speak during the hearing or to reporters afterwards, according to NJ.com.
Tramaglini filed a notice in July announcing his intention to sue the Holmdel police. He argues that their decision to release his mugshot cost him his jobs. The notice said he earned $146,500 a year as superintendent and another $5,658 a semester teaching graduate school education courses at Rutgers University.
Sergio Bichao contributed to this report.