Case involving Phillipsburg mayor continues to drag on in municipal court


A New Jersey judge says it is taking too long to hear a case about the mayor of Phillipsburg allegedly harassing a resident.

It has been more than 365 days since Priaya Amador claims Phillipsburg Mayor Steve Ellis shouted racial slurs at her, and the case still drags on in municipal court.

Amador says the two got into an argument over allotted space for a community garden. Ellis has pleaded not guilty and denies any wrongdoing.

During a hearing on Tuesday, both sides told the judge they are still waiting on multiple pieces of evidence from the Warren County prosecutor's office.

Amador filed similar harassment complaints with the Warren County Prosecutor's office last year, but after a lengthy investigation the office declined to press charges.

"I just feel that this has been dragging out way too long. It's been over a year. I feel that the Warren Co. prosecutors office has colluded with the mayor and not only tolerated but encouraged this behavior," Amador said.

John Zaiter, Mayor Steve Ellis' attorney, says he's confident the municipal court, like the prosecutor's office, will find Amador's claims without merit.

"He [Ellis] wants to put this behind him, set the record straight and move forward," Zaiter said. I think the citizens of Phillipsburg announced that they don't believe this either…he won the primary election by a considerable landslide."

A new court date has been scheduled for August.