Former cop files lawsuit against Choi, officials

Adam Tietchen pleaded guilty to disorderly person’s offense last May

BY DAN NEWMAN Staff Writer

Aformer police officer who received a year’s probation for lying to officers has filed a federal discrimination lawsuit against the former Edison Township mayor, business administrator and police officials.

In a 16-page, seven-count complaint, Adam “Buddy” Tietchen says he was demoted, harassed and forced into retirement because of his age and political affiliations. The 29-year veteran of the Edison Police Department filed his lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Newark against former Mayor Jun Choi, former township Business AdministratorAnthony Cancro, former township Police Director Brian Collier, Police Chief Thomas Bryan, former Deputy Chief Mark Anderko, Capts. Patrick Kelly and Matthew Freeman, and Sgt. Anthony Marcantuono.

“My client was demoted because it was all about political retaliation and age discrimination,” Gerald Gordon, Tietchen’s attorney, said. “Mr. Tietchen will be seeking millions of dollars in compensatory and punitive damages.”

The lawsuit alleges that the defendants’ actions were “vindictive and retaliatory” because Tietchen, 65, openly supported Choi’s opponents in the 2005 and 2009 campaigns. The lawsuit also says that Tietchen complained about the demotion but that his superiors told him, “If he did not keep his mouth shut, he would suffer consequences.”

Tietchen says he was eventually replaced by an officer who was about half his age and only had three years on the force at the time of his demotion.

When asked if he thought his client was demoted because of his guilty plea in May of last year to a disorderly person’s offense of obstruction of the administration of law, Gordon said his client “pleaded guilty to a minor thing.”

“I was not his lawyer on that particular item, but it just seems to me that it was very minor,” Gordon said. “It didn’t seem like a big deal at all. But still, he was demoted and forced into retirement, and it’s just not right.”

Tietchen admitted that he provided false and misleading information to police during an investigation of Birnwell Apparel, a company where Tietchen performed security work during his off hours. He was suspended without pay when he was charged, and he retired five days after he entered his guilty plea.