Poop made superintendent famous. Now he wants millions from cops
A Monmouth County man has filed a federal lawsuit that claims Holmdel police misconduct, nearly a year to the day that his infamous mugshot went viral.
That mugshot and the story behind it -- his pattern of pooping alongside a high school running track -- made him famous as the media-dubbed "pooperintendent."
Thomas Tramaglini then lost his job in Union County as Superintendent of Kenilworth schools.
Tramaglini was issued three summonses and in late October 2018, pleaded guilty to a single non-criminal municipal offense of defecating in public.
Attorney Matthew Adams said it’s a violation of New Jersey law to photograph anyone cited for non-criminal, municipal ordinances. He said it’s a separate violation of state law to release such images into the media to "plainly harm someone, whether out of amusement or a vendetta" -- as he alleges Holmdel police did.
The lawsuit names Holmdel township and several members of law enforcement as defendants, but others will be added "without a doubt."
"The public will be alarmed shocked and appalled at the levels to which people went to tarnish a good man, who had nothing else happen to him other than a bathroom emergency at 5 a.m. while running, which could happen to anyone of us," Adams said.
On April 30, 2018, Tramaglini was charged with lewdness, littering and defecating in public after a Holmdel High School employee investigated a report of human feces being found on or near the track on a daily basis. Police said their investigation using surveillance video identified Tramaglini as the person responsible for the incidents.
The footage has not been made available to the public and Open Public Records Act requests from New Jersey 101.5 and other media outlets have been rejected.
The suit names members of the media specifically with NJ.com and Asbury Park Press numerous times, saying staffers had said they were instructed to "have fun" with the case and use the mugshot multiple times on various stories, even between any courtroom activity.
Damages being sought are in the multi-million dollar range, Adams said, as the suit looks to recoup "losses of income, pensions and benefits" as well as result in payment for "malicious damage that’s been caused."
When Tramaglini filed notice in July announcing his intention to sue Holmdel police, it said he earned $146,500 a year as superintendent and another $5,658 a semester teaching graduate school education courses at Rutgers University.
In response to a request for comment, the law firm representing Holmdel and members of local law enforcement in the suit said "Please be advised that the Township does not comment on matters of pending litigation."
— Includes previous reporting by Sergio Bichao and Dan Alexander