LAWSUIT AGAINST COOPER NEEDS TO BE RESOLVED BEFORE ELECTION DAY, BALLISTRERI AND APONTE SAY

With another step in the defamation lawsuit brought against Freeholder Alisa Cooper due on Oct. 8 when the discovery period ends, Republican Freeholder candidates Tom Ballistreri and Manny Aponte today called on Cooper to ?move now to bring the suit to a rapid conclusion so the voters of Atlantic County will know once and for all whether the nepotism allegations she brought against county employees had any validity or arose out of political vindictiveness.?

?Voters have a right to know before they go to the polls next month whether Cooper can provide solid evidence to back up her claims that some county employees received their jobs through nepotism or political favoritism,? Ballistreri and Aponte said. ?Any effort by Cooper to postpone a resolution of the suit beyond the Nov. 4 election is an unmistakable sign that she wants to deny voters that knowledge purely for political purposes.?

?Cooper aired her accusations publicly in 2006 but has steadfastly refused to offer proof of her claims, using one lame excuse after another for her failure to do so,? they said. ?She has an opportunity now to clear the air, provide the evidence she says she possesses and bring the matter to a close.?

The GOP candidates noted that Atlantic City Mayor Scott Evans last week launched an investigation into allegations of nepotism in city government hiring practices and pledged to take action against it.

?Cooper, on the other hand, chose to recklessly malign and slander hard working county employees without substantiation,? they said. ?At the time she leveled her accusations, Cooper said if she was wrong she?d be the first to admit it. She has an opportunity now to deliver on that promise by moving forward to resolve the issues in the suit against her.?

?The issue is clear cut: Either she can prove in a court of law that she was correct in her allegations or she can?t,? Ballistreri and Aponte said. ?The employee who brought the suit has a right to his day in court and the voters of the county have a right to know if Cooper?s motives were totally political.?

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