BRICK-Released public financial documents reveal a money trail of campaign contributions converted into lucrative public contracts in Brick Township.
While this is not quite a “Spartacus moment”, it highlights the influence of North Jersey Democrats in this shore town, now controlled by Democrats.
Pay to Play is a way of life in New Jersey, for the most part it is legal as long as the person or corporation doing the donating stays under a $2,600 contribution cap. Everyone in the game, knows the rules.
In the Garden State, if an entity donates over $2,600 to a political campaign, that entity cannot receive contracts after their candidate won. There are loopholes, such as using Political Action Committees to funnel the money from an individual or firm seeking a public contract to their desired candidate.
In recent weeks, disgruntled Brick Township Democrats upset with the status quo of North Jersey political influence in the Ocean County municipality triggered a Shore News Network investigation into campaign donors. What we found is essentially the new normal in Jersey politics, but an eye opening find that details how big business campaign funding in Brick Township turned into lucrative municipal contracts awarded to political donors.
For starters, Adams Rehmann & Heggan Associates, a Hammonton based civil engineering firm donated $1,500 to the political campaign to re-elect Mayor John Ducey. Since his re-election, the firm has been paid $230,000 in township funds for several projects.
Those projects included engineering work on the Police Department Special Ops building, Midstreams roadway improvement and North Lake Shore roadway improvements.
In a 2017 article on Brick Shorebeat, ARH Associates was identified as Ducey’s top donor in2017.
ARH is a political player in New Jersey, according to the Parsippany Focus, the company donated $21,000 to a Super Pac called America’s Future First (AFF). The paper called AFF, “Parsippany Super PAC a ‘Political Cancer which must be stopped from spreading”.
Fairview insurance, a firm that donated $35,254.45 to AFF was named Brick Township’s insurance broker of record in December of 2017.
The Weiner Law Group, also based out of Parsippany donated to Ducey’s campaign and has since received over $150,000 through municipal public contracts in the past year in the township. New Jersey Democrat powerbroker, Senator Raymond Lesniak was a founding partner of the firm.
According to Politico, Lesniak, “made millions of dollars from public contracts over the years.”
Jersey City based NW Financial Group, which has ties to the Obama administration and led by Dennis J. Enright, a powerful North Jersey political powerbroker received $10,000 in contracts from the Ducey administration.
In 2016, Enright’s firm was cited by Brick Shorebeat, “The firm’s founder and principal, Dennis J. Enright, is a well-known Democratic campaign contributor in state political circles, with he and members of his firm having donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to political candidates – almost all Democrats – over the past decade.”
Another campaign donor, CME Associates was paid $865,861.25 by the administration in the past year alone.
Brick Township attorney Charles D. Bauer, was paid $47,445.41 as property maintenance board attorney in the past twelve months.
These days political influence from the North Jersey Democrat powerbase runs deep in Brick Township, powered by political campaign contributions to both Brick municipal elected officials and the Board of Education.
Both NW Financial and Fairview LLC have also been awarded contracts by the Brick Board of Education.
Other campaign donors were awarded smaller jobs by the Ducey administration. Diegnan and Brophy, LLC of Wall Township received $3,600 for legal work under “Code Enforcement/Prosecutor” according to the released township records.
The documents referenced in this article were provided through the OpraMachine.