FOX 29 Investigates: SEPTA Exec's Neighbor Dispute

FOX 29 Investigates has obtained video of a top SEPTA executive threatening to "beat up" his neighbor's wife. The executive says she provoked him.

And, now, the ugly incident that happened in North Wildwood has landed both sides in front of a judge, Jeff Cole reports.

In the beach town of North Wildwood, New Jersey, on a quiet avenue there's an ugly dispute. They're neighbors at war: Bill and Denise Teichman of West 13th Avenue versus Francis and Michelle Kelly, their next-door neighbors.

Bill Teichman: "Neighbors from hell, man."
Fran Kelly: "I'm gonna cut it."
Bill Teichman: "Just f---ing move, man."
Fran Kelly: "No, you move, you a--hole."

A fence divides their beach properties along with the conflict that exploded in anger Memorial Day weekend.

"The neighbor went ballistic, screaming and cursing and carrying on," Denise Teichman said. "My son and I looked over the balcony in the back and we were like, 'Oh my gosh.'"

Francis Kelly told us, "Do you know that … his wife said that she was going to smack every person in my house? Including, I have a guy in a wheelchair at my house, what, is she gonna smack him?"

Denise Teichman denies she threatened anyone.

Kelly is more than just another Philly guy with a shore home. He was the lead judge of the defunct Philadelphia Traffic Court who is now the Assistant General Manager for Government and Public Affairs for Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, the region's public transit giant. Hired as a lobbyist by SEPTA's prior general manager several years ago, the non-lawyer earns $182,000 a year.

Bill Teichman describes himself as an IT guy who works in the Philadelphia area but tries to spend most of his time at the condo he and his wife bought about a decade ago.

As his son recorded with a cell phone, Teichman and Kelly got heated mid-day May 29th - over a garden hose.

"I'm telling you get this hose out of here or else I'm cutting it," Fran Kelly says on the video.

That's right, a garden hose! Teichman is closest to the camera. Kelly is on the other side of the fence.

Teichman: "F--- you!"
Kelly: "Come on over here. You want me to go get my sneaks on?"
Teichman: (Laughs.)
Kelly: "I'll punch the shit out of you!"
Teichman: "You're not worth it, you punk!"
Kelly: "Yeah, you're a punk. I'll beat the whole family up, including your wife!"
Teichman: "Wow!"
Kelly: "Everybody in the house. Bring them out!"

You read that right: SEPTA executive Francis Kelly threatens to "beat up" his neighbors' wife. We got the tape from the Teichmans. They called Kelly a "disgrace" and wrote he should be "removed from office."

But Kelly argues the video shows only part of the story. He claims the dispute was long simmering and really centers on the Teichmans dumping water on his property and other violations.

Denise Teichman, who Kelly claims made the first threat, lives full-time in her shore home. She says Kelly's words scared her.

Cole: "Are you frightened?"
Denise Teichman: "Yes, yes, I am. I'm scared. I'm very scared to be here by myself."
Cole: "Do you think he'll act on it?"
Denise Teichman: "To see him the way he was that day, I wouldn't put it past him."

When we spoke to Francis Kelly, he called it "a sensational Jeff Cole story."

Cole: "Well, listen, I'm not the guy who said I'm going to beat the s--- out of the family, including your wife. That was you."
Kelly: "You're not the woman who said you're going to smack my…"
Cole: "You're not going to attack a woman."
Kelly: "I would never."
Cole: "Come on, you're a big, fit guy. Come on. "
Kelly: "I would never."

We approached him after a recent SEPTA board meeting.

Kelly: "Do me a favor, why don't you shut the camera…"
Cole: "No, no, no. I'm going to roll. Because we have the videotape, Mr. Kelly, and we'd like you to explain it to us."
Kelly: "You don't have the whole videotape. Jeff, I'll be honest with you, to have this kind of cheap shot attack…"

Cole: "I'm asking you why it is you said, 'I'll beat the s--- out of your entire family, including your wife?"
Kelly: "Let me explain it to you."
Cole: "I'm ready to hear it."
Kelly: "The neighbor you're talking about buried a hose under my property. I asked to have it removed."

That the dispute is mostly about a garden hose is the only thing the neighbors agree on.

"So it runs down the entire property line, right inside the fence here," said Bill Teichman said, as he showed us how he ran the hose on his property from his hot tub out back.

He says he buried it under small stones at the end of the fence and ran it along the property line: "I could connect the extra hose over here, and there's a drainage thing for the sewer, right here."

He claims he only used the hose at the end of the season to drain the tub.

"The hose was dug under and hidden for years," said Kelly, who argues Teichman not only hid the hose on his land but chlorinated water was dumped on it last year, causing a flood and his walkway to heave.

He says Teichman told him not to worry, he was simply draining his hot tub.

"I thought that it was a broken waterline on my property," Kelly said. "No, it was them draining it. But I didn't know to dig down because I didn't know that they buried it four inches under my stones."

Kelly says when he found the hose Memorial Day weekend, he "politely" told Teichman to remove it immediately, but he didn't.

The video does not show Kelly's claim that he asked nicely, only the argument.

"It's been there way too - two years too long! Move it right away," Kelly said, reiterating that Teichman, "should have moved it."

Teichman claims Kelly lost it after he told him he'd take a look at the hose after a family barbecue.

Told that his son just called the North Wildwood police," Teichman says on the video, "Get 'em over here, quick."

He said of the dispute, "He ordered me like I was his worker or something, like I was beneath him."

Cole said, "You were angered by that because you can tell at some point you do swear at him."

"Oh yeah, he belittled me and told me that I had to do it now," Teichman said.

A North Wildwood police report shows officers did arrive on a complaint from Denise Teichman that Francis Kelly "was being disorderly." There were no arrests. The hose was moved, but now things have turned downright ugly.

In late June, Bill Teichman signed a criminal complaint against Kelly for the incident.

In early July, Kelly made a criminal complaint against Bill Teichman for threatening to assault him just before the video rolled.

At first, on the phone, Kelly's attorney said the threat occurred "a couple of weeks prior" to the hose incident.

Teichman says the claim that he threatened Kelly is a lie.

Now, they're battling over the location of the Teichmans' hot tub, the fence and more.

"Who do you think you are? You better - guess what, you better get this on video, too: Take the fence down, and move it back," Kelly says.

Kelly claims a big section of the Teichmans' fence is on his property. His lawyer says they've got a survey to prove it, and they're re-surveying to reconfirm.

Teichman says he'd never heard that complaint before the hose incident.

In a letter, North Wildwood's city attorney wrote Kelly's lawyer the fence is "a purely private matter" to be "litigated" in court.

Kelly's lawyer claims the hot tub was installed without a permit and it violates city ordinances by being too close to the property line.

North Wildwood's zoning official tells FOX 29 the tub is one foot too close to the line, and the Teichmans have agreed to move it that one foot. He says a zoning permit is not required.

And Kelly's attorney argues "the discharge of chlorinated water on Kelly's property is an illegal trespass" and may violate New Jersey environmental laws.

Teichman says any water on Kelly's property was a small amount from the hose hookup running to the drain with minimal chlorine because it was late in the season.

As for the threat caught on tape? When the Teichmans sent the video and police report to SEPTA's General Manager, the authority responded with an email from a customer service specialist calling it a "regrettable incident," but writing it was a "private matter that does not require any action by SEPTA."

Francis Kelly agrees.

Cole: "You're the head of government affairs for this huge Southeastern Pennsylvania railroad administration, and no matter what they said you can't, as a public person threaten your neighbor, right? Isn't that truly…"
Kelly: "That was wrong."
Cole: "What, the threat was wrong?"
Kelly: "Reacting the way I did was wrong. I'm sorry I did it."
Cole: "And so to threaten her was wrong?"
Kelly: "How many times do you want me to say it?"

North Wildwood neighbor Vincent Karcher - claiming nobody asked him to call us - says he heard Denise Teichman threaten to slap everyone in Kelly's home.

She says it never happened.

FOX 29 has learned that Kelly has called at least two SEPTA board members to tell his side of the incident.

On Friday, Teichman and Kelly met in a New Jersey court to have their competing criminal complaints heard. They've agreed to try to settle them in mediation later this month, Cole reported.

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