On Friday, August 10, 2012, the New Jersey Appellate Division of Superior Court ruled that the Governor’s administration is not authorized to take the more than $142 million in the municipal housing trust funds from local communities. The “raid” was to have started Monday, August 13, 2012.
“The authorization for such a turnover must come from the COAH Board,” the court said.
“The COAH board, as it must now be constituted to comply with our March 8, 2012 judgment, has not met and has not authorized the demand imposed on the municipalities by the letters sent at the direction of the Acting Executive Director of COAH on July 24, 2012.
“Accordingly, the Active Executive Director and COAH staff are hereby enjoined from seeking a turnover from any municipality of affordable housing trust funds, and any funds that have been turned over shall be returned to the municipality forthwith,” the court ruled.
“The governor has overstepped his proper role again,” said Kevin D. Walsh, an attorney with Fair Share Housing Center. “The law entrusts the independent COAH Board with the power to implement the Fair Housing Act. The governor is not a king. He has to comply with the laws on the books. We have worked with municipalities and other advocates to push back against the administration’s unfair raid on municipal trust funds. The issue will now be decided in public by a vote of the independent board rather than behind closed doors and under the direction of the governor.”
Please click here for more information on the Fair Share Housing Center’s blog, including a link to the panel’s decision.