Several government agencies have been scrutinizing their contracts with a South Jersey attorney and his law firm after he pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion charges.
Douglas M. Long, of Upper Deerfield Township, pleaded guilty April 21 to evading more than $250,000 in taxes. His sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 11.
Long had been managing partner of the Woodbury, Gloucester County, law firm Long, Marmero & Associates LLP.
Long, 54, avoided paying taxes from 2012 to 2015 on income generated for Long & Marmero, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said.
Since then, Long & Marmero evolved into Grace, Marmero & Associates LLP. And Long was listed as being “of counsel” at Grace, Marmero & Associates, meaning he was neither a partner nor an associate but had a relationship with the firm.
Albert K. Marmero, managing partner of Grace, Marmero & Associates, said Long’s affiliation ended April 21. He also said Long’s work for South Jersey agencies varied and that some of the work did not take place this year.
In Northfield, City Council terminated its contract with the firm effective April 28.
Long was supposed to be the primary counsel for Northfield, but City Council never had any contact with him, Councilman Brian L. Smith said. The council dealt with paralegals, he said. Councilwoman Susan M. Korngut said Long pleading guilty to tax evasion brought the issue of his work with the city to the forefront, but she agreed with Smith that dealing with associates, and not seasoned partners, played a role in terminating the contract.
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In Millville, a resolution to end that city’s Grace, Marmero and Associates contract failed by a 3-2 vote May 5.
Millville Vice Mayor W. James Parent said Long’s guilty plea prompted his vote for termination.
“It had an effect on my thinking. It absolutely, most definitely did,” Parent said.
On May 28, Cumberland County Freeholder Jack Surrency, a Democrat, challenged the freeholder board to cancel its litigation contract with Grace, Marmero & Associates. Surrency also also called on the board to recommend that four other agencies using the firm terminate their agreements.
The firm has contracts with the Cumberland County Improvement Authority, Cumberland County Utilities Authority, Cumberland County Technical Education Center, Cumberland County litigation and the Cumberland County Empowerment Zone Special Projects Counsel, Surrency said.
“The freeholder board has the authority to directly cancel the litigation contract and can recommend the other boards follow suit,” Surrency said.
He said he will make two motions during the freeholder meeting June 23. The first will be a proposal to strike the litigation contract. The second will be a resolution formally recommending that all four boards do the same, he said.
In Galloway Township, residents have cited a 2016 reprimand by the state Supreme Court’s disciplinary review board to question Long’s appointment.
The firm was given a contract in January after Democrats took control of Township Council.
Tony DiPietro, a Republican councilman, said the concerns about Long have made him uncomfortable.
“If I have to choose between someone with a clean slate versus someone who doesn’t, I’m going to choose someone with a clean slate. That puts me more at ease,” DiPietro said.
But Democratic Mayor Jim Gorman said his support has been for the firm, not for Long, adding he was disappointed by Long’s guilty plea.
“We had chosen Albert (Marmero) to be counsel, not Doug,” Gorman said. “Albert was the choice. I stand by him. I still think he is doing a good job for the township.”