This is why the Monmouth County Republican Freeholders wouldn’t tell us if they received any money from Birdsall- because they did!

It was reported today that all of the current Ocean and Monmouth (Republican) county Freeholders received money from the indicted Birdsall organization. The records show that Monmouth politicians got over $66 thousand dollars and Birdsall received over $4 million in contracts.

In Birdsall’s home of Monmouth County the Freeholders (Arnone, DiMaso, Burry, Curley, and Rich) received $18,200 from 2008 to early 2012. In addition Sheriff Shaun Golden, Clerk Claire French, and various Monmouth Republican organizations received Birdsall funds. Arnone and DiMaso also received donations when serving as municipal officials.

Sources said that donors understood the message to be ‘if you want to work, you better pay up’. And a Birdsall executive admitted that these illegal donations were given to "curry favor" with officials and "gain a competitive advantage" and that they "regularly won contracts" for the company. One article on the subject said that “(s)ecret donations flowed every year like free wine from Birdsall.”

For example “(i)n November 2011, at a fundraiser hosted by Birdsall, the company wrote Monmouth County Freeholders Gary Rich Sr. and Lillian Burry corporate checks for $300 each, then gave Burry another $1,200 and Rich $900 in secret checks.”

And while critics and campaign experts have said that the Birdsall money should be given back, some politicians are responding that the money has already been spent.   

 Interestingly, Birdsall also gave substantial donations to Manalapan Committeeman and former Mayor Andrew Lucas who was involved in a recent controversy along with the Freeholders. The Freeholders awarded Lucas over $1 million for some land preservation rights. That transaction was widely and highly criticized.

In November the voters’ broom will sweep clean the Freeholder/Birdsall mess.    

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Joe DiBella June 23, 2013 at 08:47 PM
Mr. Froehlich, perhaps you did not read the whole story in Today's Ledger. There is no way the recipients of the donations knew the money was being contributed illegally. Also, the amount of money contributed was pretty equal Democrats and Republicans. So are you demanding that any Democrat that also received contributions from Birdsall should also be swept out of office? The voters will see through your obvious transparent comments. Your supposed outrage is -- well -- a bit shallow. Respectfully, Joe DiBella Mayor, Howell Township, 2005-2008 joedibella@ymail.com
Lucretia B June 24, 2013 at 09:49 AM
So who is the politician in this article and why has he slipped across the board and onto this news reel? Leave it to total politicians to throw mud at other people one minute and praise himself the next. Not to mention finding sneaky ways to get his name before the public.
Brian Froelich, Freeholder Candidate June 24, 2013 at 11:39 AM
Actually the article is clear that the donors (under oath) understood that they had to pay to play, that that they got an advantage from paying, and that those advantages got them contracts. The only thing left is the politician’s denials that they didn’t give them any advantage. Your premise that the politicians didn’t know it was illegal is ludicrous. You presume that people that paid a lot of money to politicians for something never informed the politician who gave them the money and why the money was given. A Freeholder tried that line with me. But, when I reminded him that politicians are required to get the employer name for all donors, he quickly changed his line. You are free to criticize others (e.g. Democrats) who got money. But trying to defend the actions of these (Republican) Freeholders is insulting to the voters and shameful on your part. Finally, Mr Dibello (former Mayor of Howell), you may want to check the results for your hometown of Howell where the Republicans received the vast majority of the money illegally donated. Perhaps that is the real reason for your shameful defense.
Joe DiBella June 24, 2013 at 02:15 PM
Mr. Froehlich, You can see clearly how to spell my name so please stop with the cute "swipes" at me by the misspelling it. It is unbecoming of a candidate for office. So let me go back to my question to you -- are you as outraged over Democrats who took such donations? Do you feel as scornful towards Mayor Booker and other prominent democrats? I doubt it. Your transparency is eye-opening. When I see your outrage communicated on a bi-partisan basis then maybe we'll take your remarks more seriously. Respectfully, (see spelling) Joe DiBella Mayor Howell Township - 2005-2008
Brian Froelich, Freeholder Candidate June 24, 2013 at 02:32 PM
Mr DiBella, 1) I apologize for inadvertently misspelling your name (but note that you misspelled mine twice in this blog post.) 2) You asked me the same question previously in another blog post (where you also misspelled my name) so I won’t keep repeating myself (since you obviously don't really care about the answer.). 3) Have a nice day.
Joe DiBella June 24, 2013 at 06:47 PM
Mr. Froelich, My regrets for any misspelling. It was not intentional. I do care about the answer and my question. Let the record reflect that you are a partisan on this issue. That is, when forced to condemn members of your own party, Democrats like Mayor Booker who took donations from Birdsall -- you punted. Consequently, you have no credibility on this issue. That's unfortunate. To be clear, your days of blatantly spewing falsehoods on this site are over as many of us who care about the truth shall challenge you and hold you accountable. Good luck. Respectfully, Joe DiBella Mayor Howell Township, 2005-2008
anonymous June 24, 2013 at 07:57 PM
Mr. DiBella, If I recall on these blogs, you criticized Mr. Froelich for questioning the pension scam of former sheriff Kim Guadagno. You railed to say how much of an upstanding citizen she is and you were not familiar with the case. The case was publicized for your comment and all of a sudden you went into a self-imposed exile. Here it is for your familiarization. Please read and tell us now if you think her scam, costing the taxpayer's of this state untold thousands, still garners Ms. Guadagno your accolades. http://newjersey.watchdog.org/2010/10/20/1440/
anonymous June 24, 2013 at 08:47 PM
Oh, one thing I forgot Mr. Dibella, Do you feel after you gotten yourself "acquainted" with the Watchdog article, that a full scale criminal investigation is warranted?
Tired Taxpayer June 24, 2013 at 08:56 PM
Have either of you thought about the taxpayers that are the true victims of both Republican and Democrat Greed? Mr. Froelich, I understand you are running for office, but as a voter I would like to see the whole story. You continue to think you can sway voters by playing partisan politics and it's getting old. Please do not think we the taxpayers do not do our homework and see this. You have some valid points but they get lost when people never know if it is only half truths. Mr. DiBella, I don't know if you are coming or going in politics but you are absolutely correct to ask Mr. Froelich to condemn the Democrats as he has the Republicans. So I will ask you the same question. Do you condemn all Howell politicians which include Democrats, Independents and Republicans, although it is mostly Republicans who accepted these contributions? And should action be taken if pay to play laws were broke? I do believe you were Mayor when these pay to play laws were added. We the voters and the taxpayers deserve more then what I have been reading here. I am so tired of the fingerpointing and name calling on both sides. We have serious problems in this country and you guys are counting posts and arguing over how many times you mispelled each others names. The taxpayers are hurting, we are having a hard time paying property taxes and getting jobs so this little episode of bantering and half truths appalls me as I hope it does most voters. If given the choice I wouldn't vote for either of you. Anonymous, you are not helping posting articles from 2010. If Guadagno was wrong then so was the Democrats Sheriffs in Essex and Union counties that have done the same thing. There is a problem with the system. I think everyone will agree. There is no story here...Just a bunch of partisan people wearing blinders that could care less about the average taxpayer.
Stop the insanity June 24, 2013 at 10:03 PM
Fortunately, Monmouth voters are smart enough to see through mr. Forelock's blatant hypocrisy. Mr. f
Stop the insanity June 24, 2013 at 10:09 PM
Mr Froelich, you must learn and understand pandering and hypocrisy is no substitute for substance and integrity. Hypocrisy seems to be what you are doing best on this matter.
Joe DiBella June 25, 2013 at 06:40 AM
My point on the Birdsall issue is that there is no way any recipient of these contributions -- Democrat or Republican -- could have known that someone was being illegally reimbursed by their employer for the amount of the contribution. Mr. Froelich knows that but is trying to make this some sort of Republican scandal. Its not. The problem with his logic is that his outrage is imbalanced when he only points it only to Republicans. His logics illustrates his obvious transparency. On the issue with the various Sheriffs, state wide reform is required on this issue to address the system. It is not an isolated issue but something that needs to be addressed via the law. Much in the way the Governor and the Legislature worked on a bi-partsan basis to address benefit and pension reform, other reforms are also needed. But on the issue that Mr. Froelich raised -- the Birdsall issue -- and he raised it -- t is clear he is insincere and has been exposed. Joe DiBella Mayor, Howell Township - 2005-2008
Jim Sage June 25, 2013 at 09:53 AM
Dear Mayor DiBella, I am watching this interesting exchange between yourself and Mr. Froelich. I must say it is an interesting debate, and I do enjoy both give and take on the corruption scandals affecting both parties here in Monmouth County. However, the Sheriff's Department pension fraud has gotten very interesting. If I recall correctly, you mentioned in a post that you were unfamiliar with finer points of the investigation. I forwarded them to you to your private e-mail address (I do hope you received them) for your "familiarization." Unlike the events happening in other sheriff's departments--which include "double-dipping"-- which by the way is not illegal; Ms. Guadagno, according to the New Jersey Watchdog report, utilized FRAUD to permit one of her high-ranking employees, to receive both a pension and a county salary to circumvent pension laws. The position this high-ranking offical was employed in, was a non-existent, fictitious position. It was eliminated from the Sheriff's Department one week before he was employed. You criticize Mr. Froelich (In MoreMonmouthMusings) for not condemning members of his own party. It seems your doing likewise. Wouldn't you say a criminal investigation is warranted just based on the information obtained by the award winning investigative reporter Mark Lavergkist? Members of both parties in the Birdsall campaign contributions need to be criticized. Most contribution reports state the status of the contributor and his/her employer. Don't you think "Birdsall" was coming up a little to frequently?? I look forward to your reply.
Brian Froelich, Freeholder Candidate June 25, 2013 at 10:07 AM
I’m sure that you all would love to draw me off subject and have me comment on all sorts of things (e.g. what is or is not happening in Newark, Union County, Trenton, Washington etc.) Your tactics are very similar to the Freeholders. When I appeared at the Freeholder meeting I asked them to disclose whether or not they had received Birdsall payments (since, at the time, they were the only ones who knew the details.) They refused and tried to distract by saying that I should ask others (Democrats) instead, that they couldn’t know if the payments came from Birdsall (which is untrue), etc. Mr DiBella’s comments are the same as all the politicians and Freeholders who say that they never understood that people were trying to illegally influence them. (Although the defendants said that was what the politicians wanted, that is what they did, and that it worked.) My response to him is the same as it was to the Freeholders. Make the information public and let the public decide. The Freeholders refused. Now we have the details and the public will make their decision based on both the details and their failure to previously disclose them. I am running for Monmouth County Freeholder and against the existing Freeholders (and their administration) because of what THEY did or did not do here in Monmouth County. I won’t be drawn off topic regardless of any meaningless insults made. There is nothing you can say that will taint me with, or distract the public from, their misdeeds. Your defense of their actions actually says more about you then it does about me. Enjoy the warm weather.
anonymous June 25, 2013 at 12:53 PM
Mr. DiBella, You were asked whether or not a member of YOUR party warranted an investigation for committing pension fraud at the Monmouth County Sheriff's Department. Remember that one? where former sheriff, now current Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno placed a high-ranking employee in a fictitious non-existent position to permit him to receive BOTH a pension and a county salary. You obfuscated by saying something about other sheriff's departments throughout the state did this and did that. Again, I will ask you very slowly: Do you feel the facts and circumstances in the below hyperlink (you have to cut and paste it into your browser) warrant a criminal investigation? Mr. John Sierchio, a Bloomfield police sergeant and chairman of the PFRS pension system has called for one. Do YOU believe we should have an investigation? In my opinion. there is compelling, damning and overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing. Here is the link to "familiarize" yourself with the situation since you have stated your unfamiliar with the incident; yet, you support the former sheriff--baffling. http://newjersey.watchdog.org/2010/10/20/1440/
Joe DiBella June 25, 2013 at 01:12 PM
I am flattered you are interested in my view on that separate matter. This blog post by the candidate was on Birdsall. Once the tables were turned, he refused to condemn members of his own party. When he does so then maybe he'll be taken seriously. And if the goal is not to get off target, why is this blog now about a sheriff's position? Based on a partisan web site link, I do not have evidence to say one way or the other what's what. But back to he issue here -- posted by Mr. Froelich -- his outrage over Birdsall contributions is hollow. When he calls out people like Mayor Booker or other Democrats then we'll know if he is just another politician or if he really cares. Joe DiBella Mayor, Howell Township, 2005-2008
anonymous June 25, 2013 at 01:34 PM
Like Ronald Reagan use to say, "There you go again." New Jersey Watchdog is not a partisan web site. Can you give specific evidence it tilts towards on party or another? It has verified proof of fraud! It's embedded into the story. You have to click on each of the blue hyperlinks. Don't you think (again I ask you, since you have never answered my question) that it warrants an investigation? Yes or No?
Joe DiBella June 25, 2013 at 06:34 PM
I don't believe that based on one web site's allegations that an investigation is warranted. And as I recall, this blog post was about the so called outrage over Birdsall contributions. I am waiting for Mr. Froelich to condemn people like Mayor Booker the way he has his Republican opponents. Why do I doubt that is coming? Joe DiBella Mayor, Howell Township, 2005-2008
anonymous June 25, 2013 at 09:32 PM
So Mr. John Sierchio, a police officer and Christie appointee to the Police and Firemans Pension System (PFRS)--a man in the know--is making baseless accusations??? Puhleeze, Democrats are wrong for accepting money as are Republicans in the Birdsall matter. I'm sure if their treasurer's reports were subpoenaed, it would indicate that those mailing in the contributions worked at Birdsall. That was the quid pro quo to getting county and municipal contracts. And it was wrong!! For both parties. And you sir, are wrong for not demanding an investigation. Hey, if she (Guadagno) is not guilty of fraud, she would be exonerated. But first you have to have an investigation period! Serious accusations are being made. When you were mayor, you would launch an investigation into serious matters of police misconduct---wouldn't you????
Tired Taxpayer June 25, 2013 at 11:37 PM
oh my....you politicians are all the same...Republican...Democrat...doesn't matter... Mr. DiBella...Are you seriously trying to tell me that a successful multi-million dollar business such as Birdsall would throw it all away and contribute millions of dollars through their employees without any expectation that there is some sort of quid pro quo? They were just so generous that they didn't want any recognition for their millions of dollars worth of contributions? If you truly believe that all political parties involved were without any fault, then I also think you have been in exile too long. Then again after Walsh degraded you as Mayor and you turned around and nominated him for Freeholder I guess I shouldn't expect too much. Party ties are more important to you then self worth. Mr. Froelich...your determination to represent all the problems within New Jersey without given us your solution on how you would resolve it seems pointless. Trust me, the taxpayers of New Jersey know where the problems are, playing to your base is pointless, you already have their votes. You need to come out of your comfort zone and realize it will take more then partisan politics to win the race. We the voters....we just want to hear what your solutions are, we already know what the problems are. So until you realize that there is more then your left wing base, you will continue to get the same people voting that will not win you any elections. Anonymous...I hate to say this but your not completely wrong on your last post..(not sure how many anonymouses there are posting)....stop throwing the republicans under the bus and realize this is a dual party problem and you may find that you will have more people agreeing with you. The problems with government today isn't Democrat or Republican...it's all politicians in general. Anyone comfortable in there position will push the line. It's up to the voters to stay deligent and know when we are being played.
Tired Taxpayer June 26, 2013 at 12:03 AM
Hello Patch...are you scanning posts?? I just wrote a whole post and posted and it does not show.
Stop the insanity June 26, 2013 at 05:04 PM
Mr. Froelich, Since it’s been established that No candidate has committed any wrongdoing, either Republican or Democrat (both parties received contributions) and in this case the wrongdoers within the company are being held accountable by the judicial system, the question to you now is; Do you support campaign finance reform? What kind of reform would you propose? What are you telling the Democratic County Chairman regarding raising funds for democratic candidates like yourself? How do you plan on funding your campaign? Do you condone the unlimited cash flowing in from the mandatory dues "donations" from the public unions to the Democratic Party? You have been silent on your campaign platform. Perhaps this might be a good start for you.
anonymous June 27, 2013 at 08:06 AM
Hey Stop, I like to interject here. Your correct, neither candidate broke the law--they were just very generous recipients of the wrong doing of others--which, in my opinion makes that very unethical. The candidates had to know, based on campaign sheets the donors fill out, who they are employed by, and their respective profession within the organization they are employed by. Didn't this raise red flags? The recipients had to know Birdsall was skirting the election laws. More sadly, when candidate Froelich asked them about this, they refused to be candid about this. I am for full disclosure, truthfulness, and transparency. If these candidates can't be that--perhaps it's time to show them the door.


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