One of the most talked-about lawsuits in America right now is 18-year-old Rachel Canning’s attempt to legally force her parents to pay for her college tuition. On March 4, a judge in Morristown, New Jersey, threw out the case but promised to revisit it in April.
What’s less reported upon is the fact the man funding Canning’s legal battle is Governor Chris Christie’s friend and prominent New Jersey lawyer, John Inglesino. Since leaving home in November 2013, Canning has been living with the Inglesino family.
Here’s what you need to know about him:
1. Rachel’s Parents Say the Inglesinos Hosted Booze Parties for Teens
Rachel Canning’s parents, Sean and Elizabeth, contend that the Inglesino family is very liberal when it comes alcohol. Sean Canning — the former police chief of Lincoln Park, New Jersey — says his daughter, then 15, got plastered on vodka during a sleepover at the Inglesino house. When he picked her up the next morning, to take her to play in a basketball game, his daughter was so hungover she had to vomit into a garbage can.
Another incident occurred during Inglesino’s daughter’s 15th birthday party, when the lawyer’s wife allegedly let Canning and a group of teenagers drink wine coolers en route to a party in New York City. The Cannings say that some of the problems with their daughter began when they refused to host an alcohol party.
2. Inglesino is Politically Connected to Chris Christie
The Task Force was commissioned by Governor Christie to take an unflinching and candid look at how well New Jersey’s education system was meeting its primary goal of helping all students graduate from high school ready for college and career.
His only public comments on the Canning case came in a court submission where he justified his involvement. He wrote:
Rachel is likable, communicates exceptionally well and is highly motivated to attend and excel at a college appropriate for her. That is why my wife and I have decided to fund this lawsuit personally.
We know that if Mr and Mrs Canning are not required to fulfill their legal obligations as parents, that Rachel’s ability to fulfil her potential will be greatly diminished.
To which Sean Canning responds:
The Inglesinos, while purporting to help, have actually been a tremendous hindrance in family healing….
The fact that she (Rachel) decided to run away and not abide by household rules is of her own volition and enabled by the Inglesino family who have arrogantly stated that their brand of parenting is somehow superior.
The fact the Inglesino family has subsidized a lawsuit, rather than providing responsible guidance in abiding by a parent’s ruled is not an acceptable society norm.
3. He’s One of the 100 Most Powerful People in New Jersey
Inglesino in a partner at the firm Inglesino, Wyciskala & Taylor, LLC, in Parsippany, New Jersey. On his profile on the law firm’s website it reads:
Mr. Inglesino was recently named one of the Top 100 “powerful people” in New Jersey by Politicker NJ for 2013. He was also recently named in the “Power 100” list by NJBIZ. Mr. Inglesino‘s name appears in “Best Lawyers in America”, 2013 and 2014 editions.
4. He’s a Former Mayor in New Jersey
Inglesino boasts a long and storied political career. Between 1996 and 2002 he served as mayor of Rockaway Township and on the town’s council before that. Inglesino helped found the Morris County Improvement Authority and is a member of the board of the New Jersey Public Broadcast Authority.
In this video, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is asked about his association with John Inglesino:
During Christie’s 2009 gubernatorial campaign, Inglesino served as counsel to Christie’s campaign contribution board. During the election, Inglesino and his wife, Amy, both made the maximum $3,400 contribution. During his time on the trail for Christie, Inglesino was paid $325 per hour, reports The New York Times.
5. He Has 2 Teenage Daughters
Inglesino has a law degree from Seton Hall. He also has a degree in Business Management from Ithaca College. Together with his wife, Amy, he has two daughters, Lauren and Jaime. On Facebook, Lauren Inglesino and Rachel Canning list each other as “sisters.”