Brick News

Five Brick Democrats Charged with Violating Campaign Finance Laws

BRICK, NJ-Even in Phil Murphy’s patronage pit, rife with political corruption, nepotism and patronage, sometimes too much is too much.  That’s the case in Brick Township where five Democrats are now facing charges by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission for election finance violations by the Murphy Administration.

The state brought charges on June 29th against Stephanie Wohlrab, the current school board president; current board member Victoria Pakala; former board member George White; former board member John Lamela and campaign treasurer Joseph Nezgoda, all Democrats.

Brick Township Board of Education President, Democrat Stephanie Wohlrab charged by state for violating campaign finance laws.

They were part of the “Clean Slate Team” that ousted Republicans in both the township council and the local school board, now they are facing charges for not reporting campaign contributions properly.

Nezgoda, who served as campaign treasurer is the husband of school board member Victoria Pakala.   A hearing will be held by the commission to determine whether or not the five Democrats failed to comply with New Jersey Campaign Contributions and Expenditure Reporting.

The commission charges the five Democrats with seven counts of violating campaign finance law for their actions during the 2015 election cycle. Those charges involve the failure to report and identify tens of thousands of dollars donated to the campaign during that election.  New Jersey law states that campaign contributions in excess of $300 must be fully reported by the campaign to declare the source of the contribution.

The commission charges that the Democrats did not file their campaign finance reports in a timely manner and as of the filing of the charges some four years later have still not filed the legally required forms with the commission.

Wohlrab, according to the commission is also in of several dozen professional campaign fundraisers throughout New Jersey, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for Demcorat candidates across the state.

—- charges —-

NEW JERSEY ELECTION LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMISSION P.O. Box 185 Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0185

NEW JERSEY ELECTION LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMISSION,

Complainant,

v.

JOHN LAMELA, VICTORIA PAKALA, STEPHANIE WOHLRAB, and GEORGE WHITE, Candidates for School Board, Brick Township, Ocean County,

and JOSEPH NEZGODA Treasurer, Respondents.

COMPLAINT AND NOTICE OF OPPORTUNITY FOR A HEARING

C-B 1507 06 04-E2015 C-B 1507 09 04-E2015 C-B 1507 08 04-E2015 C-B 1507 07 04-E2015

PLEASE TAKE NOTICE that the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission
(Commission) hereby files a Complaint against John Lamela (Respondent Lamela), Victoria Pakala
(Respondent Pakala), Stephanie Wohlrab (Respondent Wohlrab) and George White (Respondent White),
(collectively, Respondent Candidates) and Joseph Nezgoda (Respondent Treasurer) (collectively,
Respondents) and offers Respondents an opportunity for a hearing pursuant to the Administrative
Procedure Act, N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 et seq., to determine whether Respondents failed to comply with the New
Jersey Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting Act, N.J.S.A. 19:44A-1 et seq. (Campaign
Act) and N.J.A.C. 19:25-1 et seq., (Commission Regulations), and whether penalties provided by the
Campaign Act should be imposed.
The Commission by way of Complaint alleges:

2

COUNT ONE
PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT:
1. Respondent Candidates sought election for school board in Brick Township, Ocean County, in
the 2015 general election held on November 3, 2015 (general election).
2. On September 2, 2015, Respondent Pakala and Respondent Treasurer opened the campaign
depository “Clean Slate for Brick BOE” at Santander Bank, 614 Route 70, Brick, NJ 08723.
3. On November 25, 2015, Respondent Candidates filed a Joint Candidates Committee –
Certificate of Organization and Designation of Campaign Treasurer and Depository (Form D-2) reporting
the establishment of the joint candidates committee “Clean Slate for Brick BOE” for the general election,
and designating the account described in paragraph 2 as the campaign depository account (campaign
account).
4. The Form D-2 named Respondent Treasurer as the campaign treasurer. All Respondents
certified the Form D-2.
PROPOSED CONCLUSIONS OF LAW:
5. At all times relevant to this Complaint, Respondent Candidates were candidates in the general
election, as defined by N.J.S.A. 19:44A-3c, and were therefore subject to the requirements of the Campaign
Act and Commission Regulations.
6. Respondent Treasurer was at all times relevant to Counts One through Three of this Complaint,
the campaign treasurer for the joint candidates committee “Clean Slate for Brick BOE,” and was therefore
subject to the requirements of the Campaign Act and Commission Regulations.
7. Respondent Candidates were required by N.J.S.A. 19:44A-9 and N.J.A.C. 19:25-4.2 to file
Form D-2 for the election no later than September 12, 2015, that is within ten days of receiving their first
contribution.
8. Respondent Candidates violated N.J.S.A. 19:44A-9 and N.J.A.C. 19:25-4.2 by filing Form D-2
on November 25, 2015 (74 days late).
3

9. Respondent Candidates are each subject to imposition of the penalties prescribed by N.J.S.A.
19:44A-22 and N.J.A.C. 19:25-17.1 et seq., which may not be more than $7600 for each violation of the
Act or Commission regulations.
COUNT TWO
PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT:
10. The Proposed Findings of Fact contained in Count One are repeated and incorporated herein.
11. On September 18, 2015, Respondents deposited four contributions in excess of $300.00,
totaling $6400.00, into the campaign account.
12. On November 25, 2015, Respondents filed a Supplemental Contributor Information (Form C
1) reporting receipt of the four contributions described in paragraph 11.
PROPOSED CONCLUSIONS OF LAW:
13. The Proposed Conclusions of Law contained in Count One are repeated and incorporated
herein.
14. Respondents were required, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:44A-16, N.J.A.C. 19:25-8.4(c) and 19:25
10.2, to report on October 5, 2015, all contributions in excess of $300.00 received from June 20, 2015
through October 2, 2015 (29-day reporting period).
15. For each contribution in excess of $300.00, Respondents were required to report the (1) date
of receipt; (2) contribution amount; and (3) contributor’s name and address pursuant to N.J.A.C. 19:25
8.4(c) and 19:25-10.2. Where the contributor was an individual, N.J.A.C. 19:25-10.2A required
Respondents to report (4) his or her occupation and (5) the name and address of his or her employer.
16. Respondents violated N.J.S.A. 19:44A-16, N.J.A.C. 19:25-8.4(c) and 19:25-10.2 by reporting
the contributions described in paragraph 11 on November 25, 2015 (51 days late).
17. Respondents are each subject to imposition of the penalties prescribed by N.J.S.A. 19:44A-22
and N.J.A.C. 19:25-17.1 et seq., which may not be more than $7600.00 for each transaction which has not
been reported in the manner or in the time prescribed by the Campaign Act or Commission Regulations.

4

COUNT THREE
PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT:
18. The Proposed Findings of Fact contained in Counts One and Two are repeated and incorporated
herein.
19. On November 12, 2015, Respondents deposited five contributions in excess of $300.00,
totaling $4157.80, into the campaign account.
20. As of the date of this Complaint, Respondents have not reported receipt of the contributions
described in paragraph 19.
PROPOSED CONCLUSIONS OF LAW:
21. The Proposed Conclusions of Law contained in Counts One and Two are repeated and
incorporated herein.
22. Respondents were required, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:44A-16, N.J.A.C. 19:25-8.4(c) and 19:25
10.2, to report on November 23, 2015, all contributions in excess of $300.00 received from October 21,
2015 through November 20, 2015 (20-day reporting period).
23. For each contribution in excess of $300.00, Respondents were required to report the (1) date
of receipt; (2) contribution amount; and (3) contributor’s name and address pursuant to N.J.A.C. 19:25
8.4(c) and 19:25-10.2. Where the contributor was an individual, N.J.A.C. 19:25-10.2A required
Respondents to report (4) his or her occupation and (5) the name and address of his or her employer.
24. Respondents violated N.J.S.A. 19:44A-16, N.J.A.C. 19:25-8.4(c) and 19:25-10.2 by failing to
report the contributions described in paragraph 19 on November 23, 2015.
25. Respondents are each subject to imposition of the penalties prescribed by N.J.S.A. 19:44A-22
and N.J.A.C. 19:25-17.1 et seq., which may not be more than $7600.00 for each transaction which has not
been reported in the manner or in the time prescribed by the Campaign Act or Commission Regulations.

5

COUNT FOUR
PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT:
26. The Proposed Findings of Fact contained in Counts One through Three are repeated and
incorporated herein.
27. On September 8, 2015, Respondent Lamela opened the campaign depository “Lamela for Brick
BOE” at Santander Bank, 614 Route 70, Brick, NJ 08723, and made an initial deposit into the account.
28. On November 25, 2015, Respondent Lamela filed a Single Candidate Committee – Certificate
of Organization and Designation of Campaign Treasurer and Depository (Form D-1) reporting the
establishment of the single candidate committee “Lamela for Brick BOE” for the general election, and
designating the account described in paragraph 27 as the campaign depository account (Lamela campaign
account).
29. The Form D-1 named Respondent Treasurer as the campaign treasurer for “Lamela for Brick
BOE.” Respondent Lamela and Respondent Treasurer certified the Form D-1.
30. On October 23, 2015, Respondent Lamela and Respondent Treasurer deposited a $750.00
contribution into the Lamela campaign account.
31. As of the date of this Complaint, Respondent Lamela and Respondent Treasurer have not
reported receipt of the contribution described in paragraph 30.
PROPOSED CONCLUSIONS OF LAW:
32. The Proposed Conclusions of Law contained in Counts One through Three are repeated and
incorporated herein.
33. Respondent Treasurer was at all times relevant to Count Four of this Complaint, the campaign
treasurer for the single candidate committee “Lamela for Brick BOE,” and was therefore subject to the
requirements of the Campaign Act and Commission Regulations.
34. Respondent Lamela was required by N.J.S.A. 19:44A-9 and N.J.A.C. 19:25-4.2 to file Form
D-1 for the election no later than September 18, 2015, that is within ten days of receiving his first
contribution.
6

35. Respondent Lamela and Respondent Treasurer were required, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:44A-16,
N.J.A.C. 19:25-8.4(c) and 19:25-10.2, to report on November 23, 2015, all contributions in excess of
$300.00 received during the 20-day reporting period.
36. For each contribution in excess of $300.00, Respondent Lamela and Respondent Treasurer
were required to report the (1) date of receipt; (2) contribution amount; and (3) contributor’s name and
address pursuant to N.J.A.C. 19:25-8.4(c) and 19:25-10.2. Where the contributor was an individual,
N.J.A.C. 19:25-10.2A required Respondent Lamela and Respondent Treasurer to report (4) his or her
occupation and (5) the name and address of his or her employer.
37. Respondent Lamela violated N.J.S.A. 19:44A-9 and N.J.A.C. 19:25-4.2 by filing Form D-1 on
November 25, 2015 (68 days late).
38. Respondent Lamela and Respondent Treasurer violated N.J.S.A. 19:44A-16, N.J.A.C. 19:25
8.4(c) and 19:25-10.2 by failing to report the contribution described in paragraph 30 on November 23, 2015.
39. Respondent Lamela and Respondent Treasurer are each subject to imposition of the penalties
prescribed by N.J.S.A. 19:44A-22 and N.J.A.C. 19:25-17.1 et seq., which may not be more than $7600.00
for each transaction which has not been reported in the manner or in the time prescribed by the Campaign
Act or Commission Regulations.
COUNT FIVE
PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT:
40. The Proposed Findings of Fact contained in Counts One through Four are repeated and
incorporated herein.
41. On September 2, 2015, Respondent Pakala opened the campaign depository “Pakala for Brick
BOE” at Santander Bank, 614 Route 70, Brick, NJ 08723, and made an initial deposit into the account.
42. On November 25, 2015, Respondent Pakala filed a Form D-1 reporting the establishment of
the single candidate committee “Pakala for Brick BOE” for the general election, and designating the
account described in paragraph 41 as the campaign depository account (Pakala campaign account).
7

43. The Form D-1 named Respondent Treasurer as the campaign treasurer. Respondent Pakala
and Respondent Treasurer certified Form D-1.
44. On October 23, 2015, Respondent Pakala and Respondent Treasurer deposited a $750.00
contribution into the Pakala campaign account.
45. As of the date of this Complaint, Respondent Pakala and Respondent Treasurer have not
reported receipt of the contribution described in paragraph 44.
PROPOSED CONCLUSIONS OF LAW:
46. The Proposed Conclusions of Law contained in Counts One through Four are repeated and
incorporated herein.
47. Respondent Treasurer was at all times relevant to Count Five of this Complaint, the campaign
treasurer for the single candidate committee “Pakala for Brick BOE,” and was therefore subject to the
requirements of the Campaign Act and Commission Regulations.
48. Respondent Pakala was required by N.J.S.A. 19:44A-9 and N.J.A.C. 19:25-4.2 to file Form D
1 for the election no later than September 12, 2015, that is within ten days of receiving her first contribution.
49. Respondent Pakala and Respondent Treasurer were required, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:44A-16,
N.J.A.C. 19:25-8.4(c) and 19:25-10.2, to report on November 23, 2015, all contributions in excess of
$300.00 received during the 20-day reporting period.
50. For each contribution in excess of $300.00, Respondent Pakala and Respondent Treasurer were
required to report the (1) date of receipt; (2) contribution amount; and (3) contributor’s name and address
pursuant to N.J.A.C. 19:25-8.4(c) and 19:25-10.2. Where the contributor was an individual, N.J.A.C.
19:25-10.2A required Respondent Pakala and Respondent Treasurer to report (4) his or her occupation and
(5) the name and address of his or her employer.
51. Respondent Pakala violated N.J.S.A. 19:44A-9 and N.J.A.C. 19:25-4.2 by filing Form D-1 on
November 25, 2015 (74 days late).
52. Respondent Pakala and Respondent Treasurer violated N.J.S.A. 19:44A-16, N.J.A.C. 19:25
8.4(c) and 19:25-10.2 by failing to report the contribution described in paragraph 44 on November 23, 2015.
8

53. Respondent Pakala and Respondent Treasurer are each subject to imposition of the penalties
prescribed by N.J.S.A. 19:44A-22 and N.J.A.C. 19:25-17.1 et seq., which may not be more than $7600.00
for each transaction which has not been reported in the manner or in the time prescribed by the Campaign
Act or Commission Regulations.
COUNT SIX
PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT:
54. The Proposed Findings of Fact contained in Counts One through Five are repeated and
incorporated herein.
55. On September 8, 2015, Respondent Wohlrab opened the campaign depository “Wohlrab for
Brick BOE” at Santander Bank, 614 Route 70, Brick, NJ 08723, and made an initial deposit on September
10, 2015.
56. On November 25, 2015, Respondent Wohlrab filed a Form D-1 reporting the establishment of
the single candidate committee “Wohlrab for Brick BOE” for the general election, and designating the
account described in paragraph 55 as the campaign depository account (Wohlrab campaign account).
57. The Form D-1 named Respondent Treasurer as the campaign treasurer. Respondent Wohlrab
and Respondent Treasurer certified Form D-1.
58. On October 23, 2015, Respondent Wohlrab and Respondent Treasurer deposited a $750.00
contribution into the Wohlrab campaign account.
59. As of the date of this Complaint, Respondent Wohlrab and Respondent Treasurer have not
reported receipt of the contribution described in paragraph 58.
PROPOSED CONCLUSIONS OF LAW:
60. The Proposed Conclusions of Law contained in Counts One through Five are repeated and
incorporated herein.
61. Respondent Treasurer was at all times relevant to Count Six of this Complaint, the campaign
treasurer for the single candidate committee “Wohlrab for Brick BOE,” and was therefore subject to the
requirements of the Campaign Act and Commission Regulations.
9

62. Respondent Wohlrab was required by N.J.S.A. 19:44A-9 and N.J.A.C. 19:25-4.2 to file Form
D-1 for the election no later than September 20, 2015, that is within ten days of receiving her first
contribution.
63. Respondent Wohlrab and Respondent Treasurer were required, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:44A
16, N.J.A.C. 19:25-8.4(c) and 19:25-10.2, to report on November 23, 2015, all contributions in excess of
$300.00 received during the 20-day reporting period.
64. For each contribution in excess of $300.00, Respondent Wohlrab and Respondent Treasurer
were required to report the (1) date of receipt; (2) contribution amount; and (3) contributor’s name and
address pursuant to N.J.A.C. 19:25-8.4(c) and 19:25-10.2. Where the contributor was an individual,
N.J.A.C. 19:25-10.2A required Respondent Wohlrab and Respondent Treasurer to report (4) his or her
occupation and (5) the name and address of his or her employer.
65. Respondent Wohlrab violated N.J.S.A. 19:44A-9 and N.J.A.C. 19:25-4.2 by filing Form D-1 on
November 25, 2015 (66 days late).
66. Respondent Wohlrab and Respondent Treasurer violated N.J.S.A. 19:44A-16, N.J.A.C. 19:25
8.4(c) and 19:25-10.2 by failing to report the contribution described in paragraph 58 on November 23, 2015.
67. Respondent Wohlrab and Respondent Treasurer are each subject to imposition of the penalties
prescribed by N.J.S.A. 19:44A-22 and N.J.A.C. 19:25-17.1 et seq., which may not be more than $7600.00
for each transaction which has not been reported in the manner or in the time prescribed by the Campaign
Act or Commission Regulations.
COUNT SEVEN
PROPOSED FINDINGS OF FACT:
68. The Proposed Findings of Fact contained in Counts One through Six are repeated and
incorporated herein.
69. On September 8, 2015, Respondent White opened the campaign depository “White for Brick
BOE” at Santander Bank, 614 Route 70, Brick, NJ 08723, and made an initial deposit into the account.
10

70. On November 25, 2015, Respondent White filed a Form D-1 reporting the establishment of the
single candidate committee “White for Brick BOE” for the general election, and designating the account
described in paragraph 69 as the campaign depository account (White campaign account).
71. The Form D-1 named Respondent Treasurer as the campaign treasurer. Respondent White and
Respondent Treasurer certified Form D-1.
72. On October 23, 2015, Respondent White and Respondent Treasurer deposited a $750.00
contribution into the White campaign account.
73. As of the date of this Complaint, Respondent White and Respondent Treasurer have not
reported receipt of the contribution described in paragraph 72.
PROPOSED CONCLUSIONS OF LAW:
74. The Proposed Conclusions of Law contained in Counts One through Six are repeated and
incorporated herein.
75. Respondent Treasurer was at all times relevant to Count Seven of this Complaint, the campaign
treasurer for the single candidate committee “White for Brick BOE,” and was therefore subject to the
requirements of the Campaign Act and Commission Regulations.
76. Respondent White was required by N.J.S.A. 19:44A-9 and N.J.A.C. 19:25-4.2 to file Form D
1 for the election no later than September 18, 2015, that is within ten days of receiving his first contribution.
77. Respondent White and Respondent Treasurer were required, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 19:44A-16,
N.J.A.C. 19:25-8.4(c) and 19:25-10.2, to report on November 23, 2015, all contributions in excess of
$300.00 received during the 20-day reporting period.
78. For each contribution in excess of $300.00, Respondent White and Respondent Treasurer were
required to report the (1) date of receipt; (2) contribution amount; and (3) contributor’s name and address
pursuant to N.J.A.C. 19:25-8.4(c) and 19:25-10.2. Where the contributor was an individual, N.J.A.C.
19:25-10.2A required Respondent White and Respondent Treasurer to report (4) his or her occupation and
(5) the name and address of his or her employer.
11

79. Respondent White violated N.J.S.A. 19:44A-9 and N.J.A.C. 19:25-4.2 by filing Form D-1 on
November 25, 2015 (68 days late).
80. Respondent White and Respondent Treasurer violated N.J.S.A. 19:44A-16, N.J.A.C. 19:25
8.4(c) and 19:25-10.2 by failing to report the contribution described in paragraph 72 on November 23, 2015.
81. Respondent White and Respondent Treasurer are each subject to imposition of the penalties
prescribed by N.J.S.A. 19:44A-22 and N.J.A.C. 19:25-17.1 et seq., which may not be more than $7600.00
for each transaction which has not been reported in the manner or in the time prescribed by the Campaign
Act or Commission Regulations.

12

OPPORTUNITY FOR HEARING:
Pursuant to N.J.A.C. 19:25-17.1, Respondents shall have the opportunity for a hearing pursuant to
the Administrative Procedure Act, N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 et seq., and 52:14F-1 et seq., and N.J.A.C. 1:1.
Respondents may appear personally or by attorney. However, if Respondents fail to file a written answer
with the Commission within 20 days after service of the Complaint, the Commission may enter a Final
Decision including imposition of a monetary penalty, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 19:25-17.1A.

NEW JERSEY ELECTION LAW ENFORCEMENT COMMISSION

BY: ________________________ Theresa J. Lelinski, Esq. Assistant Legal Counsel

DATE: June 26, 2019

John Lamela, Candidate CERTIFIED MAIL NO.: 7009 3410 0001 8440 9679 RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED

Victoria Pakala, Candidate CERTIFIED MAIL NO.: 7009 3410 0001 8440 9686 RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED

Stephanie Wohlrab, Candidate VIA REGULAR MAIL

George White, Candidate CERTIFIED MAIL NO.: 7009 3410 0001 8440 9693 RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED

Joseph Nezgoda, Treasurer CERTIFIED MAIL NO.: 7009 3410 0001 8440 9709 RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED

 

 

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