The story Atlantic County Prosecutor Recommends that Victim Commit Suicide created quite a buzz, so we caught up with the victim of the incident and he granted us an interview.
Here’s the back story to that article.
Mike Mchale: Jim, I’m not even sure where to start. Would you give a us a little background on yourself?
Jim Vuocolo: Well it’s definitely a very long story. It’s odd for me, everyone has been going crazy about how outrageous that prosecutor recording is, but in actuality, it’s one of the mildest violations that government officials committed against me, and it’s certainly not the only one from the Atlantic County Prosecutor. I spent hours pleading to their Official Corruption Unit, and they actually laughed at me.
Mike Mchale: So it says that you were a State Law Enforcement Officer, how so?
Jim Vuocolo: Yes. I was a New Jersey Weights and Measures Officer and my jurisdiction was Atlantic County, so I was employed by the Atlantic County Dept. of Law.
Mike Mchale: Got it, although I didn’t realize that Weights and Measures were law enforcement, frankly, most people don’t even know what Weights and Measures is.
Jim Vuocolo: Very true, and I’m sure that didn’t help me much! But yes, New Jersey Weights and Measures Officers have had the power to arrest since 1911, although, the only arrest that I’m aware of in the last 50 years, is when the Acting Superintendent of Atlantic County Weights and Measures was arrested a year or so ago. So not exactly what you wanted to hear I’m sure.
Mike Mchale: No… But this is New Jersey, so it’s highly believable. Who was the Acting Superintendent that got arrested, and what was he arrested for?
Jim Vuocolo: That’s another long horror story in itself, and probably best saved for another day. But I will say that he was sent to Atlantic County in order to cover up all of the official corruption that I reported. I don’t think that it worked out the way that they wanted it to.
Mike Mchale: So I guess the Atlantic County Officials hated you?
Jim Vuocolo: Oh no, far from it. I was extremely close with the County Executive Dennis Levinson, as well as the Director of Consumer Affairs Robert Howie, and the Atlantic County Counsel James Ferguson. We were great friends and I admired them all very much.
Mike Mchale: Okay now I’m lost. I thought that they were the reason that the Atlantic County Prosecutor was harassing you?
Jim Vuocolo: It’s very hard for me to talk about. I loved these men and I respected them, and all I wanted to do was honor them with my dedication and success, but after all of my hard work, without hesitation, they joyfully crucified me as a political favor. Not a one expressed any remorse to anyone.
Mike Mchale: If you were such a great worker, why weren’t you rewarded instead of being harassed?
Jim Vuocolo: Well I was rewarded when I did their bidding. All of my reviews were outstanding, and according to the other employees, I had more perks, and I got larger raises, faster than any other employee in the Law Dept. Of course that all ended the day that I filed my complaint.
Mike Mchale: Okay so what did you complain about?
Jim Vuocolo: Well, they were already becoming a little upset with me, because my supervisor from the New Jersey Office of Weights and Measures, ordered me to deal with the falsified documents coming out of our office, but that wasn’t what caused the problem. It was when I warned Atlantic County Counsel James Ferguson that he was being investigated for sexual harassment. That’s what destroyed my life and career.
Mike Mchale: How did that unfold?
Jim Vuocolo: Well Ferguson was obsessed with a few of the girls in the office, but he made two very uncomfortable. They’d constantly complain to the County Administration and EEO Officer about it, but they were always ignored or mistreated afterward. One of the girls was really upset by it. She constantly reported that Ferguson was always staring at her, and he constanly called her after hours on her personal cell as well.
At this point, he and I were very close friends, and so I rolled the dice and tried to put an end to it all. I pulled him to the side and told him that Deputy Administrator Diana Rutala was investigating him for sexual harassment, which she was. I was hoping that it would scare him into leaving the girls alone, but boy did it backfire on me.
Mike Mchale: Really? Why?
Jim Vuocolo: Because instead of leaving the girls alone, he ran right across the hall to the Executive Office and told them what I said. They replied, “get rid of Vuocolo”, or so that’s what I was told.
Mike Mchale: What happened next?
Jim Vuocolo: My civil rights completely disappeared on that day, and I’ve been scavenging to cling on to scraps of freedom ever since. They put GPS on me, they assigned their Chief of Security to follow me and investigate me, they put an Assistant County Counsel on me, and he berated me daily… he was so harsh, abusive, and relentless.
Mike Mchale: How so, what did he do?
Jim Vuocolo: He’d threaten me like a child and force me to agree with him or he would punish me, he made all of my reviews poor, he threatened to sick government agencies on me, he insulted me, demeaned me, told others that I was pitiful and pathetic, and he forced me to reveal the details of my civil suit to him, even though I was protected by attorney client privilege.
Mike Mchale: Holy Cow! How did you survive and defend yourself?
Jim Vuocolo: Fortunately I anticipated their response, so I’d already started wearing a wire and collecting emails, letters, and documents to prove that I was innocent.
Mike Mchale: Everyone thinks it’s illegal to record a conversation, but it’s not, so long as one of the parties is aware of it, but what about the county policy on recording?
Jim Vuocolo: Well Atlantic County’s recording policy states that county employee’s are not allowed to record, except for certain law enforcement in the course of their duties… And since I was law enforcement and they were violating the laws that enforced… I did it. Of course, they wrote me up for it and then my supervisor tortured and threatened me even more.
Mike Mchale: So now we know how the Atlantic County Government feels about you, but what led to the infamous conversation with the prosecutor?
Jim Vuocolo: That was a dark, haunting day in my life. At that time, I was frequently awake all night, worrying, suffering from nightmares, scared, and disturbed by my supervisors threats. So I called out sick in the morning, and they used it as an opportunity to nail me. They called the local police and told them that I was “a suicidal no show”. Since the police received the information from such a credible source, they never bothered to doubt it. So, I was treated as a suicidal person with firearms in his possession, and I was carted off to the hospital against my will.
I was evaluated by the staff at the hospital, including their psychiatrist, and along with my own doctors, everyone agreed that I was not suicidal, and that any unusual behavior, was purely due to my being harassed by the Atlantic County Government.
Mike Michale: That sounds like a slippery slope to me. How did it play out?
Jim Vuocolo: Well we’re all innocent until proven guilty, so the burden of proof was on them. It’s a little hard to prove that someone is suicidal, when they’re not committing suicide. Plus, as the article said, my girlfriend was a 20-year investigator for the Law Dept., and she told everyone that they were retaliating against me.
Mike Mchale: Is that the excuse that they used to try and take your guns away from you?
Jim Vuocolo: Yes.
Mike Mchale: So you were forced from your home, violating your right to privacy and freedom, they tried to remove your right to bear arms, and now you’ve been denied your right to trial as well?
Jim Vuocolo: Yes. Superior Court Judge James Savio took a two-foot pile of emails, witness testimony, journals, audio, and certified letters, and he dismissed it all without my ever appearing in court… Of course, he made sure to wait ten years before doing so.
Mike Mchale: Ten years! Why so long?
Jim Vuocolo: That’s their game. It’s standard procedure, because the government has all of the time and money. Remember, you’re fighting them on your time with your money, but they’re fighting you on taxpayer time, with taxpayer money. They want you to go poor or kill yourself before the trial, so they drag it out the maximum amount of time allowable by law, and that’s about ten years.
Mike Mchale: What happens if you last the ten years?
Jim Vuocolo: Like I said, Judge Savio throws it out.
Mike Mchale: This is unbelievable… Now I see why we’ll have to go back to these side stories later… So back to the prosecutor incident… The article says that the police apologized, but why and how did you forgive them?
Jim Vuocolo: Because the police had been lied to, and they were merely acting how they thought they should, given the erroneous details that they were fed by the Atlantic County Counsel. But after awhile, we knew that something was fishy.
Mike Mchale: Why is that?
Jim Vuocolo: Because my superior said that he was so worried for my life when he received my email, but instead of calling 911, he took a detour and went to the defendants in my civil suit! They called the police and specifically used their official positions to get an “elevated action and response”. Not exactly the course of action that a person takes in an emergency.
Mike Mchale: Yeah that’s like a fire truck stopping at Wawa on the way to a fire… but wait a minute… I just realized, by the time that the Atlantic County Prosecutor was trying to take away your firearms and ID card, you had already been cleared by several psychiatrists. So what were they basing it on?
Jim Vuocolo: Well if you listen to the rest of my calls with them, you’d know, but in the interest of the professional courtesy that no one ever gave me, I’ll say that it’s a question for Mr. Tyner. I don’t know the man, so I can believe that he was unaware of it.
Mike Mchale: Confidentiality agreements are a hot topic right in New Jersey right now, and they’re talking about banning them. Would you sign one?
Jim Vuocolo: I don’t think so. They never offered me one so I can’t really say. They just hate me too much to let it go.
All I wanted was to enjoy the pursuit of happiness and to make this community a better place, but those days are long gone. Atlantic County officials are known for their vindictive behavior, so even though this could all be resolved for free, they’ll drain the county budget ten times over and put us all in the poor house long before they ever give in.
Mike Mchale: So now what?
Jim Vuocolo: Well there’s no chance that the public will ever get to see these officials up on trial, because before Judge Savio had my case, Judge Donna Taylor did, and she was actually one of my defendants! The Appellate court has it now, but I have no doubt that they’ll throw it out too.
One of the Appellate Judges is the ex Atlantic County Counsel, so I’m not confident, but I don’t know him… I only know that they all gave each other their jobs and that they’re all very close friends.
Mike Mchale: So it sounds like we have a lot more to talk about. A lot. So lets continue another time?
Jim Vuocolo: Sounds good. It feels good to get some of this off my chest… I’ve long since been abandoned by the local justice system.
Mike Mchale: It sure sounds that way. Which brings up a good point… why the pen name?
Jim Vuocolo: Yes I saw a person or two squawking about that… So I’ll say this… I am a victim. Everyone in this community has paid for this mess and they’re all victims as well. Until these men are stopped, you could be next. They will lie, cheat, and steal in order to win and deceive the public, and we will always fail, because we must follow the rules.
I’m no journalist… I’m your neighbor.
It must be nice to sleep at night, and to perceive that you have rights, but when the gestapo invades your home, violates you and your loved ones, and then brags about how they defiled you… I’ll stand up for you, and I promise not to care more about your pen name than the eggregious and malicious crime that’s being committed.