On the morning of December 22, 2017, outgoing Mayor of Atlantic City, Don Guardian, received a “Tort Claims Act Notice.” The document came from attorneys representing Kevin ‘Mark’ Padula, the former Atlantic City Republican Committee Chairman.
Padula guided Guardian to his upset victory over former Atlantic City Mayor Lorenzo Langford.
The Notice of Tort Claim is NOT a lawsuit. Rather, it alerts the public entity (Mayor & City) of the incident and gives them time (6 months) to conduct an investigation and decide if they want to settle the matter before a lawsuit is filed.
The claims against the Atlantic City Mayor involve a series of actions which may include defamation, false light, invasion of privacy and tortuous interference. Mayor Guardian may have also abused his power and violated the New Jersey Constitution and Civil Rights Act of 2004, as well as other claims.
On the morning of October 26, 2017, Mr. Padula called into a radio show known as “Ask the Mayor”, hosted by Harry Hurley on WPG 1450 am in Atlantic City. The monthly program features an hour of discussion with the Atlantic City Mayor. Phone calls from listeners are part of the show.
— AC Primetime (@ACprimetime) December 28, 2017
Mayor Guardian became annoyed at one particular caller, who happened to be Mr. Padula. The one question that seemed to have really set the Mayor off, was his potentially inappropriate vote on a planning board issue concerning the Flagship Resort and campaign contributions.
Things went down hill from there. Listen >
Instead of the host stepping in to calm things down, or move to the next caller, some suggest that Hurley may have cranked up the Mayor’s microphone to drown out Padula’s responses. Other radio hosts would typically dump the call and move on, but this mayoral meltdown was too good for Hurley to cut short.
In the tort claim, attorneys for Padula claim Mr. Guardian publicly and falsely accused Mr. Padula….on the air….of the following:
- Being a bigot
- Abusing an autistic girl
- Assault of Guardian’s father-in-law
- Comments regarding Mr. Padula’s sexual orientation
Also in October of 2017, during a public, on-air, mayoral debate at Dante Hall in Atlantic City, Mayor Guardian disclosed Mr. Padula’s home address. The debate was broadcast live on WOND Radio 1400 am in Atlantic City.
As a result of these incidents, the tort claim notice says Mr. Padula has been suffering from damage to his reputation, severe emotional distress and potential economic losses.
In light of the fact that the injuries are continuing and ongoing in nature, and have yet to be resolved, it is impossible for the claimant or his attorney to provide a detailed evaluation of his claims.
It is believed that the compensatory and punitive damages will be approximately $5 million dollars on these claims.