PRINCETON: Town officially hires new attorney in property tax exemption lawsuit

By Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
The Princeton Council on Monday voted to hire a new lawyer to represent the town in the lawsuit that four residents have filed challenging Princeton University’s property tax exemption, a case the town is technically a defendant in.
Martin Allen, a partner in the law firm of state Sen. Kip Bateman (R-16), replaces attorney Harry Haushalter, who had been handling the case. Mr. Allen notably represented Morristown in the recent lawsuit challenging the tax exemption of Morristown Medical Center, a case that community won and reached a $15 million settlement with the hospital.
Princeton officials have said their decision to hire Mr. Allen did not reflect a change in its legal strategy, which has been to remain neutral.
“We feel that he has something to contribute to our position,” said Council President Bernard P. Miller on Monday without elaborating. “We feel that (Morristown) case is important enough that we should have an attorney who focuses on that.”
Mr. Miller said the town notified university vice president and secretary Robert K. Durkee, as “a matter of courtesy,” that it was hiring Mr. Allen.
“We look forward to working with him. We are, after all, co-defendants,” Mr. Durkee said by phone Tuesday.
Mr. Allen will bill the town at a rate of $200 an hour.