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Political Commentary

TOMS RIVER
-Criminal charges filed against Toms River School Board Republican Daniel Leonard have been dropped, according to the Asbury Park Press.  Leonard, a U.S. Army veteran, had a very bizarre summer this year where he was caught stalking the home and children of fellow board member Robert Onofrietti, then was accused of calling a fellow school board member, “A little bitch”, at board meeting days later.

The stakeout at Medjay

The affair started when Leonard staked himself out in front of the home of his fellow Toms River School Board Member, where he was caught red-handed.

A text sent by Leonard to Onofrietti after staking out his home, provided by the Toms River Police Department.
A text sent by Leonard to Onofrietti after staking out his home, provided by the Toms River Police Department.

After spying on Onofrietti’s wife and children through their front window, Leonard sent Onofrietti a text that said, “Cute Dog”.  After being spotted by Onofrietti’s wife who was walking her dog outside the home, Leonard sped off down the street away from Onofrietti’s home.

Toms River Police confirmed Leonard’s presence at the Onofrietti household and provided the media with copies of the text sent by Leonard.

According to the Asbury Park Press report, Onofrietti has decided to drop criminal charges against Leonard about one month ago, in an effort to focus the board’s energy back on the troubling times the may lie ahead.  The board is now facing a politically decisive election in November as Democrats and Republicans battle each other for control of the board.   Onofrietti is running on an independent ticket, not back by either political party.

Report claims Leonard peeped through a window, observing other board member’s teenaged daughters

The Asbury Park Press reported police said Leonard, “with purpose to harass another … by going to the complainant’s house and sitting in his truck staring into the complainant’s house as his daughter set the table, then swerving at the complainant’s wife and then the complainant as (Leonard) took off down the road.”

Leonard’s uncontrollable urges carried into board room

In July during a board meeting, Leonard interrupted the meeting, yelling at Onofrietti, calling him a “little bitch”.

Now, as Leonard enters campaign mode, which never really goes off for the board member, in support of his fellow Republicans’ attempt to win back the school board he has once again chosen the party line in the political battle.  Republicans lost control of the Toms River board in the years after the Michael Rittaco corruption and bribery scandal.

Leonard confirmed his petty feud with Onofrietti is over.

A rocky start for a troubled elected official

It wasn’t the first time Leonard has been in hot water since joining the board this past January.

Just three months into his tenure as a school board member, Leonard attempted to hire his own high-powered political campaign contributor to a lucrative contract with the board.   When fellow board members, led by Board President Ben Giovine learned Leonard tried to sway the board vote to appoint Toms River based accounting Holman and Frenia, the 9 member body voted against Leonard and his fellow Republicans, Chris Raimann and Joe Nardini.

The trio claimed partisan politics were in play against their partisan effort to appoint a campaign donor.

This year, Leonard, the Beachwood voice on the board, and his fellow Republicans have begun a campaign to try to resume power of the board again, after patriarch Rittacco was sentenced to prison five years ago.

The driving force behind Leonard’s push to politicize the school board? Money and politics, apparently,  not to mention his job at the Ocean County board of elections, where he serves in patronage position to the Republican establishment of the county.  He serves as the coordinator for the Ocean County Workforce Development Board.  When not stalking the families of fellow school board members, Leonard helps those without political connections and debts find jobs.

Leonard’s previous politically provided contract at the New Jersey Department of Veterans Affairs was not renewed by the state.  State officials declined to comment on their separation with Leonard.

 

Leonard Shilling for Political Party in 2017 election

Leonard, who has so far been powerless and ineffective on the Toms River School board as a small sending district representative is now campaigning for Rhine and Schwartz to secure a majority voting bloc.   Leonard stopped short of openly supporting Councilman Kubiel’s wife Teri, a move that could have him at odds with the Toms River GOP suggesting he has made political amends with Onofrieti and a political alliance could have emerged from the ashes of the chaotic summer episodes.

 

 

 

 

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