Published in the Star-Ledger, Friday, September 1, 2006
Town sues company for failure to win grants
Springfield wants $75,000 it spent with Bruno Associates
BY JUDITH LUCAS
The budget was tight, and Springfield Township officials decided in 2004 to hire a reputable grant-writing company to find them some cash.
According to the municipal at torney, Bruce Bergen, $75,000 was spent in expectation of thousands of dollars in state and federal grants.
The township paid Bruno Associates of Clifton, but Bergen said Springfield has not reaped the money it was promised.
A lawsuit was filed in Superior Court in Union County last week by the township against Bruno Associates for $75,000.
"It's been several years," said Bergen yesterday. "They have not gotten us anything substantial."
John Bruno, who heads the consulting company, said he tried to get money for Springfield with nine applications amounting to $982,443. The company won the township a grant for $3,450 in January 2006.
"Springfield had many internal problems and it was impossible to get the township to agree on anything," Bruno said. "This is totally unfair and uncalled for. We received no cooperation whatsoever.
"We have a contract. If we don't get what they paid, we will stay until such time as we do. We will live up to the contract."
Bruno worried the lawsuit would smear his company's 37-year record of grant writing for public bodies, including municipal governments and boards of education.
"The whole problem lies with Springfield," Bruno said. We cannot help it if state and county agencies deny applications. That is why we said we will stay there until they receive the amount of the money they paid us. They are sick. They have political battles there."
Bruno said his company's record is unassailable.
"We have gotten over $400 million for our clients," Bruno said. "Linden has received at least $5 million."
Bergen said poor results caused the relationship with Bruno and his company to go sour.
"It was his fault, not the township's fault," Bergen said. "Other than this one grant, there is noth ing. This could go on forever.
"I don't care how much money he has gotten for somebody else. Springfield is what I care about."
Judith Lucas covers Union County Courthouse. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (908) 527-4011
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- Plainfield resident since 1983. Retired as the city's Public Information Officer in 2006; prior to that Community Programs Coordinator for the Plainfield Public Library. Founding member and past president of: Faith, Bricks & Mortar; Residents Supporting Victorian Plainfield; and PCO (the outreach nonprofit of Grace Episcopal Church). Supporter of the Library, Symphony and Historic Society as well as other community groups, and active in Democratic politics.