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Shohola replaces attorney in Walls’ case

Decision to be made on December 29

By TOM KANE

SHOHOLA, PA — After Shohola attorney Michael Parker recused himself in handling the complaints about Nelia and Don Wall, the township council named Tony Magnotta to act in his place.

Parker said that in the past, he had represented TLC Excavation and Landscaping Company owned by the couple. Don Wall is the township’s zoning officer.

Shohola resident and attorney Eric Hamill has accused the Walls of conflict of interest and influence peddling. He alleges that Nelia Wall, who is a township supervisor and board administrator, handed out information about her and her husband’s company to contractors who were seeking applications for township projects.

Hamill also alleges that Don Wall offered him the job of township solicitor. Don Wall has no power in the naming of the township attorney.

Magnotta, who held an executive session during the course of the evening on December 10, announced to a full house of residents the procedure he would follow in attempting to resolve these allegations.

“I have not seen the allegations as of yet and will review them as soon as possible,” Magnotta said. “We will not take public comment tonight regarding whether you support or deny the allegations.” He set a time-table of December 23 for residents to submit written complaints about the Walls either to him or to Steve Dellert, the township board chairman.

A special meeting will be held by the council on December 29 for the adoption of the township budget and will also be a time to review the complaints and comments by residents about the allegations.

The Walls will be represented by attorney Ron Bugaj of Honesdale.

“That will not preclude anyone from coming to the meeting on the 29th to present their specifics about the complaint,” Magnotta said. He urged people to try to come forward ahead of time.

“Those who support Mr. Hamill may also present their opinions on or before the 23rd,.” Bugaj said.

In answering a resident’s question, Magnotta said if he believed that a further investigation was needed, the township council would hold more investigations. If he believed that there could be a resolution of the matter by the supervisors, then they have agreed to rule on the matter.

Magnotta said he was not acting as a judge but as council to the supervisors, he said.

Art Politano, president of the Walker Lakeshore Landowners Association, said that the make-up of the township board should be five councilpersons and not three to avoid situations like the one facing the council now.

“This can not be acted upon any time soon but can be discussed in the future,” Dellert said.

A resident of Walker Lake who attended the meeting said that Politano did not speak for all the residents of the lake community.

TRR photo by Tom Kane
Attorney Tony Magnotta, standing, addresses the Shohola Township meeting on December 10. At left is attorney Michael Parker. (Click for larger version)