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VIOLA v. BENSALEM TWP.

November 8, 1984

Richard VIOLA
v.
BENSALEM TOWNSHIP, et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: KELLY

 JAMES McGIRR KELLY, District Judge.

 Presently before this court is defendants' *fn1" motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and in the alternative a motion for a more definite statement pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P.9. The defendant Natalie Strange, Township Manager, individually has motioned this court to dismiss plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Last, defendant Emil Toften, Solicitor for the Board of Supervisors of Bensalem Township, individually has motioned this court to dismiss plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) and in the alternative a motion for a more definite statement pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 9.

 Plaintiff Richard Viola originally brought an action for a writ of mandamus in state court, but subsequently voluntarily dismissed the action and brought this action in federal court. Because defendants have motioned this court to dismiss for failure to state a claim, the plaintiff's complaint will be viewed most favorably to him, the nonmoving party.

 Based upon the pleadings, *fn2" the alleged facts are that plaintiff was appointed police chief by the Bensalem Township Board of Supervisors *fn3" ("Board") in mid-1981. At that time one Township Supervisor, Mr. Kelly, a defendant here, dissented on the vote to appoint the plaintiff. Specifically, at the time of casting his vote, Mr. Kelly stated he believed the appointment was politically motivated, and when he got the necessary support on the Board, he would move for the dismissal of the plaintiff as police chief. Sometime after the plaintiff was appointed police chief, the plaintiff brought charges, seeking dismissal for cause, against: defendant Theodore Zajac (then deputy chief), Mr. Kosarek (then detective), and Mr. Rouland (then detective). Mr. Rouland resigned. Conversely, upon the vote of the Board (at that point in time) Detective Theodore Zajac and Mr. Kosarek were dismissed. Each of the two subsequently brought civil suits against the Township concerning the propriety of their dismissals. Further, plaintiff assisted state and federal authorities in an investigation of defendant Kelly for possible federal narcotic violations. Indeed, plaintiff assisted in the arrest of defendant Kelly on federal narcotic charges. Defendant Kelly's counsel in that matter was Mr. Denker, a defendant here.

 After the election of November, 1983, defendant Kelly got the necessary support from the Board to suspend plaintiff without pay. On January 3, 1984, the Board voted in favor of suspending the plaintiff as police chief. The Board did not give the plaintiff notice of the charges which they relied upon to dismiss nor at that time was an opportunity granted for a hearing, for plaintiff to answer the general allegations of misconduct prior to his dismissal. *fn4" There were no formal charges levied against the plaintiff by the Board at any time prior to his dismissal.

 Plaintiff contends that the defendants, in an orchestrated effort, sought the removal of plaintiff prior to the election of the present Board. Specifically, the plaintiff alleges that defendant Kelly was the "king pin" who "bought the" favors of some of the other defendants who were at the time candidates for the position of Township Supervisor, by promising to support their candidacy during the election and by promising employment opportunities to certain members of the candidates' families. It must be noted here that defendant Kelly alone could not grant employment opportunities, but rather the Board by majority vote did in essence control the purse, and therefore, the job opportunities of the Township.

 When the newly elected Board came into power, after it discharged plaintiff as chief of police, it reinstated defendant Zajac as deputy police chief, and reinstated Mr. Kosarek as detective. In addition, the Board appointed a panel consisting of defendant Cameron and Denker to recommend settlement of certain civil suits pending against the Township. These suits primarily arose out of the discharge of defendant Zajac and Mr. Kozsarek.

 At the same Board meeting the plaintiff was dismissed, the Board appointed a panel consisting of the defendant McHugh and defendant Eckert, Township Police Lieutenant to conduct an investigation of plaintiff's behavior during the period of his entire employment with the township. The investigation panel researched the matter for approximately four months. Plaintiff asserts that this panel worked in concert with the Board to stack the charges against the plaintiff.

 The investigation panel made its report to the Board on May 7, 1984, approximately four months after plaintiff was dismissed. The Board, after discussing the charges in a closed meeting, *fn5" voted to affirm its prior decision of dismissal. Again the Board did not give prior notice of this action, nor was an opportunity given to plaintiff to be heard on this matter. *fn6"

 Plaintiff claims that he has suffered public scorn, humiliation, injury to reputation, and severe emotional distress as a result of defendants' behavior.

 Count I of plaintiff's complaint alleges that the defendants (except Township Manager Strange) violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) 18 U.S.C. § 1961 et seq. by their activities which caused the plaintiff to be injured. Particularly, plaintiff claims that the defendant organized a purposeful effort, which included trading votes on the Board for support and consideration during the election and/or employment opportunities for family and friends. This behavior plaintiff claims amounts to a violation of 18 Pa.Cons.Stat.Ann. § 4701 (Purdon, 1983), Bribery in Official and Political Matters. Moreover, plaintiff alleges that the defendants on the Board settled various lawsuits, which were brought by some of the other defendants against the Township, favorably to these defendants who brought the suits. Defendants Kelly, McHugh, T. Zajac and R. Eckert, it is alleged, conspired among and between themselves during their investigation of plaintiff. Plaintiff also alleges that the defendants traveled in interstate commerce to promote their alleged illegal activity. Finally, plaintiff alleges that all of the defendants (except Township Manager Strange) either acted primarily or aided and abetted, in violating 18 U.S.C. § 1341 (mail fraud) and § 1343 (wire fraud).

 Plaintiff asserts his injuries, inter alia, of being suspended from his job, injury to his reputation, and his emotional distress were the result of the unlawful activity of the defendants in violation 18 U.S.C. § 1961, et seq. (RICO). Plaintiff's theory of recovery is grounded in his assertion that the defendant violated the civil provision of RICO 18 U.S.C. § 1964 which states in part:

 
Any person injured in his business or property by reason of a violation of section 1962 of this chapter may sue therefor in any appropriate United States district court and shall recover threefold the damages he sustains and ...

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