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News Alert
Residents Escape Sparta House Fire

Questions Arise Over Status of Councilwoman Accused of Shoplifting

Estelle Klein, who has applied for pre-trial intervention, will appear in court next week.

Hopatcong Councilwoman Estelle Klein in file photo
Hopatcong Councilwoman Estelle Klein in file photo

All eyes will be on the chair of Hopatong Borough Council member Estelle Klein at the next Mayor/Council meeting, which is scheduled for Oct. 2.

Klein has missed at least two meetings since her Aug. 6 arrest for allegedly stealing about $40 in filet Mignon and other items from a Netcong ShopRite, leading police on a slow-speed car chase and resisting arrest. And My9NJ.com reports that some area residents—and Shop Rite workers—say she should be removed from the town's governing body

Klein's next court hearing in connection with the ShopRite incident is scheduled for Oct. 1.

The councilwoman is applying for pre-trial intervention, through which she could end up with the charges dismissed and a clean criminal record. However Morris County Assistant Prosecutor Daniel Ruiz told the New Jersey Herald Sept. 10 that negotiations regarding a plea offer are ongoing and that the current offer does not include PTI

According to borough law, Klein, who Town Attorney John Ursin confirmed has missed at least two council meetings since being arrested, can be voted off the body if she misses four sessions. Ursin would not say whether Klein has missed a third meeting.

charlotte whitescarver September 26, 2013 at 02:13 PM
I find it truly amazing that a certain electrical company has been on Angie's List for 3 years and nobody has felt the need to write something nice about that company. This speaks a lot about its owner and the services that were provided!! Did someone forget to pay their full water bill?
charlotte whitescarver September 26, 2013 at 02:50 PM
The Senior Citizens and Women's Club? Simple. Petrillo is very involved with them. Now about Mara's public arrest and/or humiliation.....I'm not finding anything on the internet. I've found out about you, but not about her. I've observed the Mayor & Council in action. I'm not gullible and I have the ability to "read" people well. Just as I read you.
S. Gaffer September 26, 2013 at 03:32 PM
I have copied the posts and I will answer for Mara Modes I was a supervisor for the Census and I read your posts. I called other supervisors and found out that it doesn't matter whether you are John Pezzino or misrepresenting CC anything concerning the census is not public record and disclosure of any kind is an offense. Since the other supervisor is sure of your identity I will not violate PPI by posting it, but I will be disclosing it along with a complaint to the Government as is my sworn duty. I apologize to Mara Modes for not looking into it the first time it was posted. It appears this person's wife (CC) is or was a municipal committee member.
charlotte whitescarver September 26, 2013 at 04:01 PM
Thank you, S. Gaffer, for setting the record straight.
S. Coventry September 26, 2013 at 04:40 PM
Charlotte I am truly enjoying your posts. It appears from SG's post that JP just made up a story that got someone else in trouble. I wonder if the other person even knows it! Guess he'll know it soon enough. If there was an arrest etc the news would have spread through this town like wildfire. I will have to look back, but I believe it was Michele that had a problem with the woman's club and yes, the mayor was involved. It was all over the town and Patch. JP read on Mara's facebook page that she was a member and decided to make up reality (again). Since Harriot is referencing the census is he Pezzino impersonating Pezzino, and everyone else was Pezzino impersonating other people? You mentioned his facebook page but forgot to mention JP put his old old picture back up (haha). You said he is on Angie's list? Can you be collecting disability and be running a business?
charlotte whitescarver September 26, 2013 at 04:52 PM
According to a previous post (this month) JP's son is now working with him. From the Net: Special rules allow you to work temporarily without losing your monthly Social Security disability benefits. For example, our trial work period allows you to test your ability to work for at least nine months without losing benefits. As long as you remain disabled, you can get full Social Security disability benefits during those nine months no matter how much you earn. After your nine-month trial work period, we still provide a safety net that allows you to work another three years risk free. During those three years, you can work and still receive benefits for any month in which your earnings do not exceed these limits: $1,740 for blind individuals; or $1,040 a month if you are not blind.
charlotte whitescarver September 26, 2013 at 05:09 PM
I believe that what JP is doing with Mara falls somewhere in this category: N.J. Stat. § 2C:12-10. Definitions; stalking designated a crime; degrees. (2009) a. As used in this act: (1) "Course of conduct" means repeatedly maintaining a visual or physical proximity to a person; directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, following, monitoring, observing, surveilling, threatening, or communicating to or about, a person, or interfering with a person's property; repeatedly committing harassment against a person; or repeatedly conveying, or causing to be conveyed, verbal or written threats or threats conveyed by any other means of communication or threats implied by conduct or a combination thereof directed at or toward a person. (2) "Repeatedly" means on two or more occasions. (3) "Emotional distress" means significant mental suffering or distress. (4) "Cause a reasonable person to fear" means to cause fear which a reasonable victim, similarly
S. Coventry September 26, 2013 at 05:37 PM
WOW you're good! I am assuming that would include postings on his facebook page also? In my opinion he has proven himself to have some mental deficiencies (or at least multiple personalities) so I do hope Mara takes some action against him since (IMHO) he has threatened her. As far as the "disabilities" you are saying people are paying for a "master electrician" and his son is doing the work?
charlotte whitescarver September 26, 2013 at 06:56 PM
I would think that it would include Facebook postings. I don't know who is doing the work. All he said was that his son was now working with him. What I do know is that it is hard to live on the little bit of money that disability gives and what is allowed to be made....especially in Hopatcong. According to Dun & Bradstreet, his business has 2 employees and earned 110K last year. He's possibly working "under the table" and/or depositing into his son's (same name) accounts.
charlotte whitescarver September 26, 2013 at 08:10 PM
BTW, he's probably deleting like crazy by now. Doesn't matter. The data isn't gone. All she has to do is Subpoena Facebook and Patch and she'll get all the data she needs.
S. Coventry September 26, 2013 at 08:13 PM
Do believe the town gives some kind of tax brake to anyone who is considered totally disabled. Not sure if you have to be a veteran. I would think the IRS would red flag a kid making that kind of money. Unless it is under the table.
charlotte whitescarver September 26, 2013 at 08:35 PM
Guess it's time to get pictures!!! He doesn't look wheel-chair bound to me. 110K a year that supports 2 households is not a lot of money. 110K is before taxes. A minimum of 10% has to go back into the business. Transportation (vans/trucks, etc. has to be maintained. Whats left...very little.
S. Coventry September 26, 2013 at 11:06 PM
Nope Charlotte just looked he has a whole bash fest against Mara starting from last year. Not deleted. As for pictures Randy posted that JP was denied disability due to injuries (he provided the proof), hence the question why is he on disability? As for upkeep for the "business" don't think so. Seems like something else going on.
Michele Guttenberger September 27, 2013 at 03:00 AM
Too bad Chasing New Jersey doesn't know all the antics of our dear mayor. There is more beef here than Estelle's Shoplifting spree. The reporter could stand in front of post office and talk about the mass mailings she spent for her political gain on the taxpayer's dime. Estelle has just as much integrity as the Mayor and if the Mayor can attend these meetings with her head held high and not be called a thief, we should give the same consideration to Estelle. Her beef was less than the Mayor's postage. She just wasn't as diplomatic about it. The Mayor should have a council that shares in the same principles so there isn't any conflicts. Sylvia and Estelle are a matched pair -just like bookends and they have Ursin to help with the polishing. That's the leadership we have in Hopatcong and people voted them in. If Klien was running against the current Democratic and Independent candidates for council she would still win the popular vote.
Emily September 27, 2013 at 04:21 PM
anyone, out of curiosity, can someone tell me what kind of platform is Mike Francis and Rich Hoer and John Pezzino running on. Haven't heard a word. I am n avid voter, but this year I am staring to ask myself why.
Michele Guttenberger September 28, 2013 at 01:21 AM
Emily I thought you knew everything and had the inside track on Hopatcong's politics since your father was a former council member and you being born here and never left, Roscoe's owner once removed, and No 1 Hopatcong Community Volunteer, etc. etc. etc. So why don't you give us your inside scoop on our Republican platform in Hoatcong? Don't you have a cozy relationship with the Mayor? She can tell you what her party candidates plan on doing for us in Hopatcong so we can give our straight "R" party votes and they can continue their dedicated fight in reducing our taxes. I'm sure if you talk nice to the Mayor she would tell you what the Republican Council Candidates platforms are? Go ahead Emily talk to the Mayor and give us her answer on Patch so we all will be as informed as you. Or better yet, you are probably on a first name basis with our Councilman Mike Francis - you could ask him directly and gives us your report.
Michele Guttenberger September 28, 2013 at 01:40 AM
Emily on second thought don't you attend the Farmer's Market? I know you were keeping tabs on my attendance there. Well you know Mike Francis is always out there supporting the Farmer's Market. I just went up and asked him about his platform, but I am not telling you because you'll think I am a know it all. You have to make that informed journey on your own Ms Born in Hopatcong while you're filling your white "Keep Hopatcong Clean and Green" produce bag the councilman gave you for the Farmer's Market - hint, maybe his platform might be written on the bag.
Emily September 28, 2013 at 08:15 AM
Michele SHUT UP!!!!! Again talking and saying nothing.
S. Coventry September 28, 2013 at 08:40 AM
Interesting Michele don't remember you ever getting Emily to say shut up... and in capitol letters ! Makes one wonder..........
Emily September 28, 2013 at 11:07 AM
Don't wonder anymore. Michele has to learn a different song because she she just keeps playing the same on over and over again. As far as keeping tabs on her, she has got to be kidding. i haven't been to the farmers market in four weeks. Grandchildrens sporting events take top spot. She's just an old fool with nothing inportant to say. and now for my finale you can SHUT-UP also, you have nothing positive to say either.Try to enjoy this gorgeous day and have a great week-end. The End.
Michele Guttenberger September 28, 2013 at 12:01 PM
S. Conventry - Yes I guess I hit a nerve with Emily - You can't claim you have a great realationship with the Mayor and Council members and then go on a Patch post asking everyone what platform Mike Francis is on. Again, why didn't Emily just ask him. Emily has to learn that people who have good recall memory on comments don't SHUT UP but will replay their stupid remarks - like pulling out the old skeletons from the Patch closet. Wait till I tell Mike Francis that his friend Emily L doesn't know what his position is in Hopatcong. I'm sure he will find that real disappointing since he was so involved with the Farmer's Market which I find a delightful thing he as done for this town and also very dedicated to be their every Sunday. It is a shame people like Emily our so clueless to the good efforts some of our elected officials do and just rag on people like me who point that out. I guess some people born in Hopatcong take for granted the good work ohters do who have migrated to Hopatcong. These people should really stop being negative about people who are trying to bring a change to fix this town or demand transparency from their elected officials.
Michele Guttenberger September 28, 2013 at 12:17 PM
Emily this message is for you from Roll Back- The Mayor was denied her appeals on her ethics charge. Let me tell you that this man had the guts to uncover the dirty deeds of our elected officials and bring them to the proper authorities. It was a great loss to this town when he moved. He was better than Roscoe for sniffing out what was foul in our Town. I know it's not fair to give this message on this post and not the one where you wrote a nasty comment about "Roll Back Our Taxes". But, I sure he will be happy to know you are supporting Mara in this council campaign since you did not have any doubts about her platform to beg the question from us Patch viewers.
Emily September 28, 2013 at 02:36 PM
i hit a nerve with you Michele because you just can't stop posting about me. find another target. it is individuals like you that make this town look bad. No loss as far as Roll Back leaving. the two of you have accomplished nothing and never will. All talk no action because you don't know what your talking about. So far nothing has come of anything he found. Now go do something constuctuve with your life and leave people in this town alone. Your not in anyones top 10.
The Watcher September 28, 2013 at 07:42 PM
It's an ethics violation, and that is something
Michele Guttenberger September 28, 2013 at 10:14 PM
Emily maybe I’m not in the top 10 but, at least I am not part of the unethical sludge from the top 1% barrel that wants to own the town.
Tammy September 28, 2013 at 10:52 PM
It is often said that when our government wants to divert attention from certain issues they flood the media with nonsense news in hopes of distracting us. Emily and Michele, with your constant bickering BOTH of you are providing distraction, and our local government is just sitting back laughing. With every article that is published on Patch the two of you go back and forth on everything but what the article is about. You BOTH rehash the same old crap over and over and over again. Ladies (and I use the term loosely because you BOTH are acting like children) it is grossly apparent that you do not like each other nor do you agree with each other. WE GET IT!!! You are BOTH entitled to your opinion and neither one of you are probably 100% right. What you are not entitled to is attacking each other and subjecting the rest of us to it. Yes I could just not read your posts but I continue to do so hoping to learn something I wasn't aware of or maybe see another point of view. I'm usually disappointed on both fronts. You are BOTH passionate about your opinions but guess what, your points get lost in all the crap its wrapped in. Neither one of you are accomplishing anything. Neither one of you are proving any points. It's really getting old.
Michele Guttenberger September 29, 2013 at 04:11 AM
Well Tammy I really wasn't into your debate you had with Randy but I was SUBJECTED to it. And unlike Emily he was civil to your different view. It was your long winded "crap" (your choice of words) of why we should still pay government workers attractive salaries in hard times. Thought Randy had some fiscally sound economic reasons for his comment which you twisted as a BIG 100% insult to you and we all had to read how he demeaned the entire Government workforce. This really had nothing to do with the post. However, I thought it was a personal and passionate topic and left any critical remarks about what I thought about your position. Don't think our politicians are laughing at my comments since I presented real facts that Emily tried to discredit with barrage of personal insults against my credibility. It has been a long standing issue I have with Emily and really none of your business to pass you little sermon on me. You don't know the history to jump in with your judgements. Especially since you contributed to some boring rants yourself where no one learned anything of value. Yes I too did not have to read your stuff. THE MAYOR'S APPEAL ON THE ETHICS CHARGE HAS BEEN DENIED. Thought that was an important point worth sharing. No one is being paid to be a dedicated news reporter for Hopatcong so they will wait till the story gets reported by some other outlet first and then repackage it on Patch. That is, if they have the guts to report this story at all. It is interesting how some feel they can demand others to stop their dialogue because they made themselves the self-appointed opinion monitors. It sounds rather pompous to me.
Emily September 29, 2013 at 09:38 AM
Michele please we do not have a long standing issue. I just don't like you.Your an instigator and trouble maker. Your views mean nothing to me. You discredit people with your barrage of insults . A simple question about people running for council made you turn it into a reason to discredit me. i am so foolish to even respond to you and your bashing. So I should have followed my rule of no answer is the best answer. i guess I have to start now. Have a Happy!!!!!!. Life is good!!!!!!
Tammy September 29, 2013 at 09:49 AM
Good Morning Michele-To begin with, it is you who has twisted my debate with Randy. I actually did contribute some facts that most are not aware of (such as many government workers are actually bringing home less money in their paychecks than they were several years ago due to increasing contributions, which I also said were fair, and very little to no cost of living increases). In addition, our "long winded crap" lasted all of maybe 2-3 days and we did not walk away from it as mortal enemies. I am hardly an opinion monitor. Those who are important in my life often seek out my advice as I have no difficulty in seeing both sides of things no matter where my opinion lies. I was not commenting on either of your opinions. I was commenting on the fact that both of you are providing much needed (needed by our local government) distraction from the issues. I have many times agreed with you and said so, however, I find it very telling of your character that this is twice now that I dare not get out my pom-poms and cheer for you and you come back biting. My intention was not to judge either of you. You are both entitled to your opinions. Sometimes when we just don't get along with another person we lose track of the original issue, that's all I was saying. You don't have to turn everybody that disagrees with you or says something you don't like into an enemy. I was not demanding anybody to stop their dialogue, just know that your opinions and anything of worth you contribute is getting lost in the midst of the rest of the nonsense. As far as the pompous remark goes, hello pot, meet kettle.
Michele Guttenberger September 29, 2013 at 02:38 PM
"I actually did contribute some facts that most are not aware of (such as many government workers are actually bringing home less money in their paychecks" Oh the horror!!! We in the private sector never experienced such a thing. How nasty is that, our employers were kinder and had our paychecks totally removed so it would hurt less not seeing that 100% reduction in our pay stubs. Yes, Tammy your "facts" are one sided, subjective and clueless to the overall plight of job losses in the private sector and the loss of benefits that we in the private sector experienced since many of us were forced to take temporary or part-time jobs without any benefits. And it was an observation that Randy made that you turned into a personal attack on government employees. I hope this clarifies the hello pot, meet kettle picture I have of you too. I think that if I said how thoughtless your comments were or over the top on the self-righteous positions you’ve taken, you would find it real personal and would have some biting comments back for me. Just saying, you are not the paragon on kind and sensitive and maybe you should refrain from offering the do's and don'ts on the Patch comments. You certainly have walked on the rant/crank side yourself. And I am sure if you received the Emily kind of adjectives to describe you we would see a s barrage of comments back on these posts. I hope someday you meet up with your own Emily who combs the Patch posts to drop your name in with an insult even when you’re not there and then I can give you your own words of wisdoms when you choose to defend yourself.

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