Ocean County GOP Establishment Backing Head of Pay to Play Firm for County Chair; Employ Strongarm Tactics to Get Republicans In Line


TOMS RIVER-The Ocean County Republican Party elite today officially endorsed Frank B. Holman, an accountant and partner of Holman Frenia Allison in the May 15th Republican county committee election to elect a new chairman after the resignation of longtime chairman George Gilmore.

The official endorsement was delivered this week on OCGOP letterhead bearing the signatures of 18 of the county’s top elected officials and party elite, urging the 900-member body to vote along with them for Holman, whose firm receives over $6,000,000 annually in politically appointed public contracts statewide.   Holman’s firm is listed in New Jersey’s election “pay to play” database.

The letter was signed by Interim Chairman George Buckelew; Vice Chairwoman Barbara Lanuto; County Clerk Scott Colabella; Senator Robert Singer; Surrogate Jeffery Moran; Sheriff Michael Mastronardy; Senators James Holzapfel and Christopher Connors; Freeholders Virginia Haines, Joseph Vicari, Jeffery Little, Jack Kelly and Gary Quinn; Assemblymen David Wolfe, Gregory McGuckin; Ronald Dancer and Dianne Gove.

The letter urged rank and file Republicans to get behind their anointed choice, which was made without the consultation of party chairs, mayors or local councilpersons.

“Governor Murphy and the New Jersey Democrats are convinced, that the strongest and most important Republican County Organization in the state, is in disarray and about to collapse,” the letter said.  “It is of the utmost importance that all Ocean County Republicans quickly unite behind a new Chairperson to lead us forward.”

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The letter urged, “Now is not the time to show weakness or division.”

The letter suggested that the 900-member body should fall in line with party leaders.

Many rank and file Republicans are concerned about the choice presented by the elders, including Holman’s nearly $28,000,000 in public contracts across Ocean County and the state.  Democrats often railed former Chairman George Gilmore over his public contracts which peaked out at just $2.4 million annually.  Many feel the continuation of a new “patronage” driven party boss could further weaken the party’s future.  Others are upset that the party has engaged in aggressive tactics to push rank and file elected officials into line behind their choice.

In a mailer sent out by Sadeghi, the claims of intimidation and harassment were echoed.

An internet meme circulating showing OC Chairman candidate Frank Holman as the “Six Million Dollar Man”.

“It is being alleged that a single freeholder and two state legislators are threatening the jobs of local mayors, councilmembers and municipal chairs if they don’t support their handpicked candidate,” Sadeghi said.

Sadeghi said the establishment elite of the party are employing the same tactics the National GOP used to try to suppress President Donald J. Trump.

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“Sound familiar? If true these are the same establishment tactics used to try and deny President Trump our party’s nomination in 2016,” he said.  “It failed then, and it will fail now.”

Critics and insiders have criticized Holman’s excessive wealth amassed through political patronage appointments and over $6,000,000 of revenue documented in New Jersey’s official state “Pay to Play” database.   Sadeghi’s firm does not engage in business that would be deemed “pay to play” under New Jersey election law.

Many insiders have dubbed Holman as the “Six Million Dollar Man”, a reference to a 1970’s era television show in which actor Lee Majors played a role of Colonel Steve Austin, injured in a crash, but after a six million dollar makeover, he became the “bionic man” with super speed and reflexes. That makeover cost the government $6,000,000 in the television.

In Holman’s case, the reference is about his firm’s annual intake of government revenue of over $6,000,000 annually.

Sadeghi said voters should use their own conscious when voting on May 15th.

“As a member of the county committee, you – and only you – have the power to elect our next chair,” Sadeghi said. “Don’t be intimidated and don’t allow yourself to be bullied or threatened. No one can tell you what to do or how to vote.”

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Sadeghi pledged that if elected chairman, he would not accept any government contracts for his business, he would support the presidency of Donald J. Trump, he would work to make the Republican party more inclusive and host monthly meetings with Republicans to get their input to drive the future of the county party.

According to David Wildstein, editor of the New Jersey Globe, former Chairman George Gilmore is supporting Holman and the establishment pick.

Insiders have reported to Shore News Network the actions of several high-level elected officials using tactics of intimidation, even threatening elected officials who also hold public jobs within the county, some shared recordings of those calls with Shore News Network.

No officials or committee members would go on the public record to discuss their conversations out of fear of retribution from the party elite.

Author Phil Stilton is editor of the Shore News Network and a member of the Ocean County Republican Committee.  Shore News Network was the only media outlet in New Jersey to officially endorse President Donald J. Trump in 2015.  Stilton is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and media coordinator for the Recall Phil Murphy campaign.