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The Associated Press
4/17/01 7:50 PM

The following are excerpts from a 1998 letter by two attorneys hired by Scotch Plains to examine business and legal dealings by Acting Gov. Donald T. DiFrancesco.

At the time, DiFrancesco was the town's attorney and involved in several business projects in Scotch Plains. Those deals included one real estate deal where the property was foreclosed and involved developer K. Hovnanian. The letter was obtained by The New York Times and posted on its Web site Tuesday.


"No attorney can serve two masters. If Mr. DiFrancesco felt the need to act on behalf of his mother's estate or to support other family members in their attempt to overturn the foreclosure judgment, he should have immediately tendered his resignation."


"Mr. DiFrancesco advanced his own position and ignored his client's. Mr. DiFrancesco's acceptance of the money and failure to advise council of same was an egregious ethical breach. The reason for the payment from Hovnanian to Mr. DiFrancesco is obvious. The payment was made at a time when Hovnanian had an interest in three separate parcels in Scotch Plains, two of which were before land use boards."


"Mr. DiFrancesco must be told to resign immediately as township attorney. If he refuses to do so, it is our opinion that he must be discharged by the council. His actions are clearly improper and in violation of RPC 1.7. The entire matter as outlined above presents an egregious appearance of impropriety."


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