ROSELLE, NJ — On Thursday, March 9, the long-anticipated trial in the Dansereau v. Holley case finally came to an end when harassment charges filed by Roselle Mayor Christine Dansereau against state Assemblyman Jamel Holley were dismissed by Judge Antonio Inacio in a packed Clark Municipal Court.
Inacio granted a motion from Clark Township Municipal Prosecutor Jon-Henry Barr to dismiss the complaint.
Inacio stated that although the actions of Holley demonstrated bad behavior, they were not criminal. In the courtroom to support Dansereau were borough activists Cynthia Johnson and Maria Hegener. Roselle Councilman Reginald Atkins was there in support of Holley.
Dansereau told LocalSource that she is satisfied with the outcome of the trial.
“I am fine with today’s outcome,” Dansereau said in a March 10 email. “I appreciate the judge’s recognition that bad behavior is wrong and deserves an apology. I don’t agree with the prosecutor’s position. However, I respect that the judge fairly and justly examined the laws related to harassment and based on, as stated, the limited information. As it related to this case, he was bound by the prosecutor’s decision.”
Dansereau had filed harassment charges with the Roselle Police Department against Holley, the former mayor of Roselle, on Sept. 13, claiming that she had been receiving “harassing and intimidating” phone calls, emails, and texts for 18 months, according to the police report.
In the report, Dansereau also stated that Holley used a variety of expletives in what she alleged to be Holley’s way of trying to wear her down.
“Ms. Dansereau advised that many local and state politicians are aware of this strained relationship between her and Mr. Holley,” read the Sept. 13 report.
“She further stated, ‘a few months ago,’ an internal mediation was organized, and stated during mediation between her and Mr. Holley, Mr. Holley was observed speaking irate and verbally belittling her.”
On the day the report was filed, according to the complaint, Dansereau told police officers that she received a phone call from Holley at borough hall, in which he was screaming and using “abusive language.”
Dansereau succeeded Holley as Roselle’s mayor after Holley resigned his post to represent the 20th District in the state Assembly. Holley ran on the same Democratic ticket as Dansereau in 2015.
The day before Dansereau filed the complaint, on Sept. 12, she sent an email to Holley, telling him that she would no longer field any communication from him. “After much time, deliberation and patience, I have reached a point of having to request that you do not communicate with me by telephone any longer,” Dansereau wrote in the email. “Today was absolutely the last time I will accept or tolerate another of your harassing and abusive phone calls.”
At the time the charges were filed, Holley told LocalSource that Dansereau’s complaint was self-serving and that she offered no proof. Holley also said at the time that Dansereau was trying to discredit him.
Much of the friction between Holley and Dansereau stems from the Mind and Body Complex, a $59 million, 100,000 square-foot complex to be located on five acres in the borough.
The project, which is the brainchild of Holley, has been questioned by Dansereau, who has said that the cost to taxpayers may be too much of a burden.
Anthony Anastasio, attorney for Holley, issued a March 9 statement to LocalSource regarding the court’s dismissal of the case.
“As expected, justice was served with the court’s dismissal of Mayor Dansereau’s citizen complaint against Assemblyman Holley, who has now been vindicated,” said Anastasio.
“After investigating the matter, the Clark township municipal prosecutor properly concluded that there was no basis for the mayor’s frivolous complaint. Unfortunately, Mayor Dansereau is a struggling politician who has lost the confidence of her own municipal council and wants to blame Assemblyman Holley for her political setbacks.”
Joshua McMahon, attorney for Dansereau, issued a March 9 statement to LocalSource.
“Judge Inacio is a highly respected, veteran judge,” said McMahon. “I truly hope Assemblyman Holley takes the judge’s words to heart and joins Mayor Dansereau in her efforts to improve the lives of the families of Roselle.”
Dansereau said that she is satisfied that the harassment will stop. “I am satisfied that the verbal abuse I had to endure consistently and threats have ceased because of the action I took,” Dansereau said. “I suspect that it will remain that way now that there is a paper trail.”