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Swim Club Whistleblower Now Faces Violations of His Own

Anthony Conti believes he was targeted by Washington Township officials for drawing attention to the illegal equipment storage at the swim club behind his house.

Equipment stored at the Washington Township Swim & Recreation Club Tuesday. Photo: Jim Leggate.
Equipment stored at the Washington Township Swim & Recreation Club Tuesday. Photo: Jim Leggate.
Commercial trailers and other equipment remained parked in the Washington Township Swim & Recreation Club parking lot this week, months after officials issued a cease and desist notice for the practice.

Now the neighbor who complained about the equipment to the town has also received four violations from the town for issues with his own property.

Anthony Conti, whose backyard borders the club's property, said he believed the town had issued the violations for problems with his shed because of his public complaints about equipment stored at the club.

"I think I'm being targeted because of the swim club," Conti said.

The club began bartering for services like landscaping as they have faced financial difficulties, Co-President Christine Murphy previously explained. They have allowed contractors to park trailers and other equipment as part of the deal. 

Township ordinance prohibits large vehicles from being parked in residential zones overnight. The swim club is located just east of the Garden State Parkway in a residential zone.

The resident who Conti said reported the shed issue to the town is listed as a member of the club's board of trustees. He couldn't immediately be reached for comment.

"If people want to target me and bully me, I will do the same," Conti said. "Now let's take care of this. Clean up the swim club."

Conti also happens to be a bond-holding member of the club.

Conti said his former shed had been destroyed by Hurricane Sandy and he had rebuilt it after a former township employee said it would be OK. It turns out that the shed was too close to the property line and he should have sought approval from township land use officials for the project.

Because the ground is frozen, Conti said he wouldn't be able to correct the violations before the deadline. Mayor Janet Sobkowicz said she would speak to the zoning officer and may grant an extension.

This was the second time in recent months that code violations issued by township officials have been publicly questioned. Greek restaurant Gyros & Goodies was fined $1,000 in November for alleged electrical work before an inspector ever visited the restaurant. That prompted a personnel investigation by township administrator Catherine Navarro-Steinel, which she said Monday had been completed.
resident January 29, 2014 at 08:26 AM
what's good for the goose........ maybe somebody should ask the mayor when will she get the 40 ft dumpster out of her driveway so we do not have to look at that eye sore every morning
Concerned January 29, 2014 at 09:10 AM
Glass houses.
Jeffrey Tammen January 29, 2014 at 08:09 PM
It's amazing that theses officials can't even tackle one problem but now start a second and only did so for leverage.mr conti don't feel so bad they did the same to me because I had issues with a neighbor who parked trucks and was messy and stayed open 3 hrs past closing so they tried bullying by having me reduce the height of my fence which was approved by zoning official then when that didn't work they harassed me about my shed then said property wasn't mine these officials plus mayor and council members are bully's . The swim club obviously do not care about their neighbors or our town laws.nobody wants it in there neck of the woods .have Christine Murphy park those loud and smelly vehicles by her house and see the reactions from here fellow neighbor.
Jeffrey Tammen January 29, 2014 at 08:12 PM
Oh and we're is mr tucker the go to guy for residents who are violating our laws.
Wood guy January 30, 2014 at 08:18 AM
1 What they don't state in the story is I did get the approval from the building department. I was never informed to see zoning. I'm also making correction to shed to bring within zoning. 2 I also have every nasty text Christine ever sent me. 3 I tried working with the swim club before I pushed it to this point. Christine said she would have dumpsters removed and never did! 4 you can't pick and choose who the town goes after.
Wood guy January 30, 2014 at 08:22 AM
I will also be attending swim club meeting to give all board members a copy of the text back and forth with Christine. I will also answer any questions they may have. I have truth on my side!
Steve Kohlreiter January 30, 2014 at 11:29 AM
Not related to this story but really bad news today! It looks like the end of the Patch. It's owners laid off 90% of its employees. I tried to send and email to Jim Leggate but it got bounced in the email. The Patch has been an excellent place to get our local news and voice opinions. This is not a good day
scruffy January 30, 2014 at 01:20 PM
Unfortunately for Mr. Conti it seems someone from the club filed a complaint so the town had to follow up on it. I am sure he can resolve his issue while not in the time frame allotted due to the winter. The town would be hard pressed to further fine him with the winter conditions. That is not fair and reasonable to expect the shed to be moved. The Swim Club may be flexing some muscle but they are going to have to clean up their act like it or not. Lastly Jim Leggate's last day was yesterday. AOL/HuffPost laid off 90% of the staff yesterday. Who knows if someone is going to pick up this area or not. Jim did a great job and he will be missed. I hope another paper/internet site picks him up.

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