Published Reports Claim Bolger Might Retract Gifts to Village Totaling $1.2 Million

In Uncategorized on August 11, 2008 at 10:41 am

A front page, above the fold article in the August 8th Ridgewood News claims that local philanthropist David Bolger might retract approximately $1.2 million in gifts to the Village of Ridgewood if Village Council members move forward and approve a controversial ordinance that establishes certain parameters on the acceptance of such gifts in the future.

Bolger had promised to fund a closed circuit television security system for the central business district ($450k minimum) and renovations to the Pease Library Building ($700k minimum).

Speaking through his attorney Thomas Wells of Paramus, Bolger indicated his disappointment with published remarks made by Councilwoman Anne Zusy, who cited Bolger’s name when explaining the need for an ordinance which would prescribe conditions under which Village Council members could not accept gifts intended for Village use.

During an interview with a Ridgewood News reporter, Zusy indicated that the new ordinance was prompted by an situation this April in which one of Bolger’s real estate development companies received formal Zoning Board of Adjustment approval of a large scale building project, that required several significant variances, just one day after Bolger made formal his promise to fund the Pease Library Building renovation project.

Both Zusy and Deputy Mayor Keith D. Killion claim that the new ordinance neither names nor targets Bolger specifically. Killion further stated that the new ordinance will “eliminate any future misunderstandings” and “put all rumors aside.”

Here’s the new ordinance in its entirty:


The ordinance published herewith was introduced and passed upon first reading at a meeting of the Village Council of the Village of Ridgewood, in the County of Bergen, New Jersey held on July 16, 2008. It will be further considered for final passage, after public hearing thereon, at a Regular Public Meeting of said Village Council to be held in the Courtroom of the Ridgewood Village Hall 131 N. Maple Avenue, Ridgewood, NJ 07450 on August 13, 2008 at 8:00 PM., and during the week prior to and up to and including the date of such meeting, copies of said ordinance will be made available at the Clerk’s Office in said Village Hall, 131 N. Maple Avenue, Ridgewood NJ to the members of the general public who shall request the same. Heather A. Mailander



WHEREAS the Village Council is sensitive and concerned to taking the necessary steps to ensure that open and communicative government is the foundation for all its decisions and that its actions earn the trust of members of the community; and

WHEREAS the Village Council is aware and grateful for the many benefactors among the village community who work as volunteers and donate time and money to enhance the quality of Village life; and

WHEREAS the contributions provided by community members may in certain instances raise reasonable concerns or present potential conflicts that may cause a perceived influence on formal actions taken by the Village Council, its development boards and/or other agencies within the Village Government; and

WHEREAS the Village Council seeks to adopt a legislative decree to emphasize the openness and transparency of its actions; and

WHEREAS nothing in this endeavor is intended to impair the rights of an individual applicant, benefactor or other entity to exercise its constitutionally-guaranteed rights;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT ORDAINED by the Village Council of the Village of Ridgewood, Bergen County, New Jersey, that a new Chapter of the Code of the Village of Ridgewood is hereby established as follows:


Section 1:

a. Definitions:

i. Contributions, gifts and other donations: the free and voluntary presentation by any person to the Village Council of any sum of money or other item of value, the acceptance of which requires a resolution;

ii. Person: any individual, partnership, joint venture, corporation, group, association, government, governmental agency or any other entity, affiliate, subsidiary or related company of that entity;

b. Any person who has filed an application, request for permit or other relief with the Village or any of its agencies or Boards, or taken any action seeking specific relief from the Village Council or any of its boards or agencies, will be prohibited from offering or presenting a gift, donation or contribution to the Village Council for a period of ninety (90) days from the date of final action taken on the application, request for a permit or other relief

c. Any person or entity that seeks Village Council acceptance of a gift or other donation shall represent to the Village Council that it is not a party, an objector or have some such other personal or financial interest in any pending application, request for a permit or other relief from the Village or any of its boards or agencies, and that it shall not file an application, request for permit, or seek other relief or take any action seeking specific relief from the Village Council or any of its boards or agencies for a period of ninety (90) days after the Village Council’s acceptance of the gift, contribution or donation.

d. Upon the acceptance of a gift, contribution or donation by the Village Council, the Village reserves the right to determine without qualification any process, conditions or other specifications on the gift and its utilization by the Village for the purpose for which said gift is intended and accepted.

This Ordinance shall take effect immediately upon passage and publication, as required by law.


  1. Looking a gift horse in the mouth?

    Oh well, I for one hope that Bolger NOW gives his money to other towns that would accept his generosity and use the funds for worthwhile projects.

    Hey Dave, how about more Clowns, or Big Tooth projects in Sarasota.

  2. Ridgewood will be just fine without big daddy.

  3. So, he wants to hold our VC hostage???? Please council members let him take his money and LEAVE. The more I read about that man the less I like or trust his motives.

  4. He’s nothing if not a bully. All of his gifts come with strings attached. Who need him.

  5. The town will survive without his “gifts,” thank you very much.

  6. The more I learn about David Bolger the Philanthropist, the more I believe that his gifts, no matter how generous, i.e., Valley Hospital, always ultimately benefit him or someone he knows more than the recipient. And, his foul-mouthed bully of an attorney should go back to Vermont and pave over his own town. Wells traded Ridgewood for Vermont many years ago so he should stay the heck out of our business!


  8. 1:43 has the right idea. Wells should bring Bolger and his brothers back to VT to do their developing up there where he lives! He’s not a member of this community and Bolger’s primary residence is in Florida. Leave Ridgewood (and the rest of Bergen County)alone!

  9. Anyone thinking of Mr Potter from “Its a Wonderful Life?”

    I, for one, appreciate this man giving so much money to this Village. Why? Because I dont have his deep pockets. Yes, he can do with his money whatever he wants.. and, to some extent, everyone “gives” to causes that are important to them or promote their own ideas of social or political reform. BUT…..

    He has ONE vote in the local elections. He speeds through town? He’s supposed to get ONE ticket. He casts ONE opinion on what should be done with Valley Hospital.

    Using that example… what would happen if the Village residents band together and block the Valley expansion. He refuses to give his $30mio, and the hospital cries foul??? TOO BAD.

    Again… I want his money. Sure, it comes with some strings.. but every once in a while… even the very rich need to be smacked on the nose with a rolled-up newspaper. This has gotten out of hand… Pease Library? Sure… I’ll give you $$$… but on the condition that you do exactly what I tell you to do. He tried to do the same stunt with the RHS field renovations.. and the sports groups walked away from him.

    Hey… there’s an idea. Can you help fix up RHS… its falling apart. How about a donation there? Then you can tell the failing school board how to run the district.

    Again, I dont have his deep pockets. But imagine the uproar if I had an appliation before the Zoning or Planning Board and I “gifted” a new SUV to our Village Zoning Officer. No strings attached. How would that fly????

    Thanks, but no thanks, Mr Potter.

  10. Don’t his threats just prove the Council right? Give him back his money and revoke approval of his unnecessary storage eyesore!

  11. tell moneybags we support the council..and make sure the door doesnt hit him in the a$$ on the way out….take your money and go feed your ego elsewhere

  12. Well, we’ll see if the council rolls over or stands up to him.

  13. Council Wrong, Wrong, Wrong on this one… Any gift should be reviewed for potential use. If it has merit … ??. Then accept it… if not then don’t. Don’t attempt to blackmail the gift giver!… Can and should be reviewed first in closed session.

  14. Have to give the Zusy devil her due on this one. Seems Mr. Bolger is a wee bit of a bully. To my mind, this can’t help but cast a pall on his public reputation as a philanthrope.

  15. The attached strings have been pulled and the gift giving has come full circle. Now we know the limits of the giver’s generosity. Ann Zusey had the guts to tell the “philanthropist” to peddle his gifts elsewhere and apply for his variances just like any one else!

  16. I am grateful that we have someone on the Village Council who has integrity and ethics to stand up to special interests. Thank you Anne Zusy for standing up to individuals paying for favors and receiving a variance in the process. This has gone on too long in Village Hall. Maybe an examination of other offices within the Village Hall is needed.

  17. So a year of going through the planning board hoops doesn’t qualify as paying due to get a project approved. I hope instead of a self storage with limited hours, he opens a warehouse, that by code can run 24/7. You all need to research what can go in on Chestnut before you run your mouths! How bout a nice big chunk of low income housing????? would that make you happy?

  18. you know the best part. Bolgers gifts will still happen. Previous council already alledgedly accepted them. so what does this ordinance really stop…. Future gifts? It didn’t stop Pease or Cameras. Guess we’ll have to see how big Ann Zusys balls really are!

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