KIYC: NJSPCA attorney trying to block release of state investigation results

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The attorney for the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is suing a state investigative agency in an effort to block the release of the results of a state investigation into his client.

Legal documents obtained by Kane In Your Corner show the attorney, Harry Levin, filed the lawsuit against the New Jersey Commission of Investigation just hours after NJSPCA President Steve Shatkin proclaimed at a public meeting that “the SCI looked under every rock and quite frankly found no illegality, no corruption, no stealing, no fraud, no nothing.”

Critics find the timing suspicious. 

“If someone's trying to suppress a report, there must be something in that report that is of concern to that person,” says David Gaier, a former NJSPCA trustee who resigned last fall because of concerns about the agency’s practices. 

In his lawsuit, Levin claims the portions of the SCI report that he was allowed to see were “untrue, misleading, included ridicule for matters unrelated to the investigation and drew conclusions about Plaintiff’s billing records without having performed a full and detailed review.”

Kane In Your Corner first exposed concerns about Levin’s billing practices in April. Records showed Levin billed the NJSPCA for nearly $720,000 over a three-year period, and the animal welfare group said it had no invoices explaining the bills.

Some in the animal welfare community also have concerns about possible conflicts of interest involving Levin. In addition to representing the NJSPCA, Levin is the attorney for Associated Humane Societies, whose Newark shelter was recently cited for multiple state health violations.

“If Harry is representing the New Jersey SPCA and the AHS Newark is the subject of potential criminal or civil violations that could be or would be enforced by the NJSPCA, it's an obvious conflict of interest,” Gaier says.

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