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5 N.J.A.R. 103

Cash Services, Inc., v. Banking, The Department of
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Citation: 5 N.J.A.R. 103
Decision Date: 1981
Synopsis: Cash Services, Inc. sought approval of its application for a check cashing license pursuant to N.J.S.A. 17:15A-1 et seq. The Department of Banking rejected the application based on the failure of Robert Santoro, the corporation president, to disclose his arrest and indict- ment for narcotics and bookmaking offenses. The Department main- tained that this failure to disclose reflected adversely upon the charac- ter of one of the corporation officers. The administrative law judge found that although Santoro had failed to disclose the information, the failure was unintentaional and not motivated to deceive the Department of Banking. The judge found that credible evidence established that Santoro had made arrange- ments with an attorney (including the payment of a fee) for the expungement of his record. Although Santoro was unaware of it, the attorney became ill and never completed the expungement. While the judge observed that the failure to verify the expungement was less than prudent, he found that Santoro made a good faith assumption that the expungement had been completed. The administrative law judge concluded that Santoro was not statu- torily disqualified by his failure to disclose and had established his qualifications and fitness by affirmative character evidence. Accord- ingly, the judge ordered that Cash Service, Inc. be licensed. This decision was remanded to the Office of Administrative Law by the Commissioner of Banking with directions to expand the record based on information it had concerning the alleged criminal involve- ment of the husband of the corporations's secretary-treasurer who had, at one time, acted as an officer for the corporation. On remand, the administrative law judge found that the Department of Banking was aware of this knowledge at the time of the original hearing. Based on N.J.A.C. 1:1-16.5 which prohibits an agency party from remanding a case of the Office of Administrative Law to develop proof that, in the exercise of reasonable diligence, could have been presented by the agency at the original hearing, the administrative law judge concluded that the remand was improper since the Department had had ample opportunity to develop proofs at the prior hearing. Accordingly, the judge rejected the remand. Salvatore T. Alfano, Esq., for petitioner Mark S. Rattner, Deputy Attorney General, for respondent (James R. Zazzali, Attorney General of New Jersey, attorney)