NEWTON — Local law firm Hollander, Strelzik, Pasculli, Pasculli, Hinkes, Wojcik, Gacquin, Vandenberg & Hontz is celebrating its 50th year of service to northern New Jersey residents.
The law firm was founded in 1964 by current partner Sanford Hollander, along with Albert Trapasso, and Frank Dolan. It originally employed five other staff members in addition to the three partners.
The firm was originally housed within the Sussex & Merchants National Bank Building on Spring Street. A short time later, the business moved across the Newton Town Square to 40 Park Place, the site it has occupied ever since.
According to Hollander, the keys to the firm’s success have been its ability to evolve as the law has evolved, and by taking advantage of the opportunity to hire attorneys who are specialists in their fields. “In the beginning, we were generalists, as were most lawyers,” Hollander said. “Although Frank Dolan was a superior trial lawyer. When I came back to Sussex County there must have been 35 lawyers in the entire county. There were more cows than people.”
Hollander says law has changed with the expanding role of government creating rules and regulations.
“It’s incomprehensible how much they have proliferated over the past 50 years,” Hollander said.
He specializes in real estate transactions, estate planning and administration. The firm has continued to expand and now numbers 10 attorneys, along with 10 support staff. Each attorney is able to focus on an area of specialty, such as family law, elder law, workman’s compensation, personal injury, land use, bankruptcy, and other issues.
“There is a unique family spirit in this law firm,” Hollander said. “Everybody likes each other. We strive to serve the best interests of our clients and the public.” He is quick to add, “But that doesn’t mean that we’re not fierce advocates! We work very well with each other and with our clients. We’re always looking for lawyers who will be compatible with us and fit into our culture and philosophy.”
As Utility Auditors, we see this kind of outrageous over-billing often. $115 million, in this instance, will be refunded thanks to rarely seen sanctions against this type of behavior.
If you believe your business or investment property has been overbilled – on any utilities – do not hesitate to contact a Professional Utility Auditor – Immediately. Applied Utility Auditors offers no – risk services. We only get paid if you get a refund. Don’t get over your head in overhead.
March 18, 2015 Last updated: Wednesday, March 18, 2015, 5:29 PM
By DAVE SHEINGOLD
Staff Writer |
Electricity users in six Passaic County communities and all of Morris County will see their rates drop slightly in the next few months following a ruling Wednesday by state regulators that sanctioned Jersey Central Power & Light for overbilling customers, but also let the company recoup money spent repairing damage from major storms.
In a unanimous vote at a meeting in Trenton, the Board of Public Utilities ordered JCP&L to refund $115 million to customers through the rate reduction, mostly to cover overcharges for power grid maintenance throughout its northern and central New Jersey territory from 2008 to 2011.
But the board also ordered that ratepayers pay for $736 million JCP&L spent restoring power following Superstorm Sandy and other bouts of severe weather since then that caused blackouts of up to two weeks.
The net result of formulas that parcel out those expenses over varying periods of time will be a $34 million cut in the company’s annual revenue and a drop of 1.2 percent, or $1.68, in its average residential monthly bill, according to the board. The exact month when bills will drop has not been set, but should come this spring, said BPU spokesman Greg Reinert.
JCP&L’s 1.1 million customers include 15,400 in six Passaic County municipalities – Wayne, West Milford, Wanaque, Pompton Lakes, Bloomingdale and Ringwood – and 197,000 in Morris County.
“Today’s order ensures that JCP&L is providing safe and proper service at just and reasonable rates, while also securing and being mindful of the company’s financial integrity,” said BPU President Richard Mroz.
The decision represents a middle-ground between a $207.5 million revenue reduction sought by a state consumer advocacy office and a request by JCP&L for a rate hike to cover increased expenses and storm-related costs.
In January, a state administrative law judge largely sided with claims by the office, known as the Division of Rate Counsel, that JCP&L used complex accounting techniques to return too much profit to its parent company, FirstEnergy Corp. of Akron, OH. The judge said the issue of storm costs should be addressed in a separate proceeding.
The BPU, however, combined both matters into one.
The ruling was criticized by Stefanie Brand, director of the Rate Counsel’s office, for rejecting the office’s request for retroactive rate cuts and postponement of storm-cost repayment.
“I’m disappointed,” she said. “It’s still a reduction. But I think they should have taken into account the fact that ratepayers had been paying too much for a number of years. They could have phased this in.” She declined to say if the order would be appealed.
Ronald Morano, a spokesman for JCP&L, said the company would review the order before commenting, but noted that it planned $254 million in improvements this year. Those include new circuits, upgraded utility poles, flood-proofing around power transfer stations and tree-trimming around power lines. The latter effort is aimed at a key problem in the company’s largely suburban and rural territory.
Wednesday’s ruling ends an unusually long-running case involving claims that disputed, in highly arcane terms, the write-offs, equipment depreciation and other accounting techniques used to set rates that generate JCP&L’s revenues. A key issue was whether JCP&L collected too much to cover its federal taxes and then used that money to offset taxes owed by other FirstEnergy subsidiaries.
Brand’s office also accused the company of improperly cutting costs, especially on grid maintenance and tree-trimming. JCP&L responded with a case of its own, seeking rate hikes.
As many New Jerseyans, Pennsylvanians and New Yorkers have come to discover over the winter, the relatively new marketplace for third party suppliers of electricity has not been as great in practice as it may have been in theory.
Many third party suppliers, it seems, have been inexplicably driving up prices on consumers, claiming increased costs due to winter weather — in spite of the non-inflated prices from the primary supplier. A Forbes Contributor went so far as to proclaim this trend a “new scam.”
How are they getting away with this dodgy practice? The marketplace, after all, allows customers to switch suppliers, right?
Unfortunately, switching suppliers can take months to finalize, and some of these companies seem to be exploiting that fact while banking on the docility of others. Late notices for bills threaten power shut-offs and this can also serve in the interest of these price-jackers as people are afraid to take any corrective action.
“U.S. top court declines to revive New Jersey sports betting law” reads a recent Reuters Article
The Federal Court pointed to a federal law which grandfathered only a few states into maintaining their sports betting practices back in 1992 – while giving other states one year to opt in.
Well, who is surprised that NJ fell asleep at the wheel on that one. In the Pre-Pocono-Casino era, NJ was happy as thin-crust pizza-pie to stick with what they were already best at in AC. Years later, with the gamblers flooding to newer out-of-state casinos, NJ finds itself up against the Federal Government wagging their finger in a confirmed “No.” And are only left to cry in Paula Cole fashion, “Where did all the gamblers go?”