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A New “Small Town Conspiracy Theory”

Let’s have a look at the mayor’s post-trial comments that were reported in yesterday’s Asbury Park Press.

“We are absolutely going to appeal this terrible decision by the judge. Now, more than ever, it’s important for the residents of Belmar to vote yes on the Taylor Pavilion referendum question,” he said on Monday. “Our appeal will be stronger in the courts if the residents vote yes.”

I think we should vote no.  If they want to appeal then after that we can see how it goes before we borrow any money.

Anyway, moving along…..

“If we don’t appeal, then we can’t use FEMA money that we are entitled to. Every town from Sea Bright to Cape May that is in the same position we are…this sets a terrible precedent,”

The FEMA money earmarked for construction projects by the beach utility could be used for more bathrooms, which would be nice, and for more playgrounds, which would also be nice.  It could also be used for shade pavilions with benches like the one Avon has at the south end of their boardwalk.  Personally I really like this idea.  Maybe we could have one every three or four blocks.  And the best thing is that it would be legal!

Let’s continue.  The important stuff I’ve underlined.

Doherty said the plaintiffs used incorrect FEMA numbers as evidence in the court case, and he will make that part of the borough’s appeal.
“They told the judge that FEMA obligated $2.9 million. Our obligation for FEMA for rebuilding the Taylor Pavilion is $5.4 million,” he said.

The borough argued in court that the funding couldn’t be ruled on because the pavilion wasn’t built yet, but now they will lay out a different pattern of facts pertaining to the usage of the pavilion. “Its functions assist the beach a lot more than 4 percent,”

That’s the big one.

Apparently it’s true that everybody, including the plaintiffs, did use “incorrect” FEMA numbers.  But everyone at the trial also knew that the borough was working to get more money because borough CFO Robbin Kirk testified at her deposition that she was.  Gummer even referred to Robbin’s testimony in her decision:

Screen Shot 2015-10-29 at 4.22.55 AM

So everybody knew there was a good chance the numbers would go up.  Gummer knew, she mentioned Robbin’s testimony, and that’s why the decision is based on percentages and not actual numbers.  She knew that we were getting at least $2.8 million and that it wouldn’t be less than that.  The numbers used at the trial were the most recent numbers available so they were the numbers that were used.  The fact that it’s more now doesn’t change anything about the ruling.

.But the numbers used weren’t the most current available at the time.  Here are the revised FEMA numbers, published on OCTOBER 2, 2015:

Click on it to see largerScreen Shot 2015-10-28 at 9.01.23 PM

The link, has the release date, 20151002, or 2015-10-02, imbedded in it.

So these are the final numbers released on October 2:

4533 is for the 5th Ave pavilion.  We actually are getting $1,544,495.12

5057 is for the 13th Ave pavilion.  We are actually getting $1,404,005.68

5056 is for the 10th Ave south pavilion.  We are actually getting $1,139,915.53

5054 is for the 8th Ave pavilion.  We are actually getting $806,506.56

5055 is for the 10th Ave pavilion north.  We are actually getting $1,157,753.53

The total is $6,052,676.42.  The 90% reimbursement comes to $5,447,408.78.

This is $5.4 million that the mayor told the Asbury Park press about yesterday.

I’m not sure of the reason for the change but I heard it had something to do with basing the numbers on replacement cost instead of the value of the old ones or what the cost to fix the old ones might have been.  I don’t know though so don’t quote me on that.

You and I and the plaintiffs’ attorneys found out about this Tuesday.  After the mayor talked about the $5.4 million in the press, the above document was looked for and located.  The new information could have been used at the trial if the defense had disclosed it but they kept mum about it.

On October 14 at the trial, Colleen Connolly testified that she didn’t know the final numbers even though the borough had been informed on or about October 2.

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 5.04.10 PM

She told the judge that the final FEMA numbers were not yet known.  But she did know them.

Two questions:

1) How could an appeal be based on the fact that incorrect numbers were used at the trial when the defendants knew the right numbers during the trial but their witness testified she didn’t know?  Besides, the new numbers don’t change anything about the ruling.  We just base the calculations on the new numbers like Gummer expected we would   By the way, based on the new numbers, the 5th Ave pavilion would get about $2 million.  That’s plenty to build a pavilion suitable for our purposes.

2) Why weren’t we and Judge Gummer told?


 The way the their case was presented, the defense didn’t actually contest the facts of the case or the law as it related to those facts.  The defense was based on the “ripeness” issue.  Here is a relevant passage from Gummer’s decision that acknowledges that this is the case, found on page 74:

Screen Shot 2015-10-28 at 8.49.43 PM

The fact that the judge had at least the minimum numbers, and that the bond referendum was fast approaching, made the case as ripe as a black, mushy banana.  I suppose, though, the defense thought that pretending not to know the final FEMA numbers strengthened their argument that the plaintiffs couldn’t sue yet because the exact dollar figures for construction and for the FEMA reimbursement weren’t known yet.  It didn’t work.  Madame Judge ruled that we needed to know the truth now so that we could make an informed decision on election day.

Here’s another reason why it would have made sense to withhold the information about the greatly increased size of the FEMA commitment:

Yesterday, the date the mayor finally made this information public, marked one week until the election.  In Belmar good news always comes just before election day.  Expect a flyer about it in your mailbox very shortly.  Maybe they’ll even give Jennifer credit for it.


  1. Bipartisan wrote:

    Hope springs eternal. Dave you are the best.Go to the head of the class and the dias next week.

    2 million for the 5th Avenue Pavilion sounds right. Red light… Vote No.

    Sneaky is as sneaky does. Those buggers knew the FEMA figures long before the trial. To top it all the Admin deceived the Judge. OPRA In Action squad at your ready command. VOTE NO

    Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at 11:00 pm | Permalink
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Doherty has been saying all along that the pavilions will be “free”.
    They will not… Vote No

    Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 6:14 am | Permalink
  3. Eugene Creamer wrote:

    Since they never turn the hat over …. it’s easy to pull a rabbit out.

    Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 7:21 am | Permalink
  4. Anonymous wrote:

    withholding material information such as the Truth is misrepresentation of the facts. Are we going to be lead down another garden path with the yarn, we didn’t know the 10/2/15 FEMA numbers at the time of trial? Guess what? They did know and there is a TRAIL.

    Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 8:19 am | Permalink
  5. Katrina wrote:

    Thank you Dave. As always. Clear and concise. So now we have 2 mill. That’s great! Our DPW can GC and help build a nice building like they did in prior storms !!!!!
    Of course we should be wondering why 10th ave safety building and the outflow pipe at Lake Como haven’t been started ( or bid out yet)
    Is it possible our leaders want to bundle it all up, telling us it will be cheaper, than awarding the bids to a nice big UNION house with a federal apprentice program? Why else would the Labor Pac give the Belmar Democratic Committee 5000 dollars to use on glossy propaganda? Watch out for stripping our Pay to Play Ordinance. That’s next.

    Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 8:20 am | Permalink
  6. Anonymous wrote:

    One has to question the mayor’s motives. Any other mayor whould just sit back and say “it’s in the hands of the taxpayers and residents, I’ll let them decide”. But no, not Doherty. So the question is, Why the vested interest in getting this passed ???

    Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 8:23 am | Permalink
  7. DJais Drunkard wrote:

    Take a mushy black banana for a daiquiri – girls’ DRINK – nice for the pavillion to bring home a Hoboken hottie from D’Jais, baybay!!!

    Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 9:13 am | Permalink
  8. Voter wrote:

    This is a great synopsis of our situation in Belmar. It is hard to believe the mayor and administration will not provide accurate numbers and let the voters decide. It has been all the confusion, secrecy, and blatant false information that causes delays and is dividing our town. I now believe we have the accurate information from the Judge with regard to beach funds usage and the actual burden that will be on taxpayers. Now is not the time to incur more debt to build an overpriced pavilion. I am voting No on the 4.1 million bond. I am also voting for Dave Schneck.

    Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 9:29 am | Permalink
  9. Resident wrote:

    I do not not want a damn $4.1 million dollar pavilion. I do not want to pay for operational cost, insurance, maintenance, staff or really anything else for an overboard size structure. I want a simple pavilion that provides services to the beach, looks nice and has minimal maintenance. Residents talk about the 5th Ave pavilion with fond memories and that’s’ great but those memories were created in a very modest barren building. We can do that again, maybe make it look nicer and create new memories. But we don’t need to pay $4.1 million and carry millions of dollars of debt.

    Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 9:37 am | Permalink
  10. OLD MAN wrote:

    I have enough debt. Don’t need more. Vote NO

    Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 10:43 am | Permalink
  11. DJais Drunkard wrote:

    Whaddya do when you want to buy a Long Island hottie a Long Island Ice Tea but your paycheck hasn’t cleared yet??? D’Jais Bartender – Put in on da credit card, baybay!!!

    Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 11:03 am | Permalink
  12. linlee wrote:

    Once again, thank you for your clear, concise analysis of latest Belmar shuffle. My first thought when I read the post was: is Colleen guilty of perjury re. Court proceedings since she was aware of the most recent FEMA figures, or did she dodge the bullet and wasn’t ask a direct question that included the projected amount of FEMA reimbursements. That aside, we all know the content/accusations that are about to hit our mailboxes. Alert your friends and neighbors. Take the wind out of the Democratic/Doherty’s sails by addressing the ongoing manipulative propaganda proactively.

    Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 11:29 am | Permalink
  13. madame.snark wrote:

    In an alternate world I would like to see the mayor and his pawns in jail, a curmudgeon trying to sneak in a pie with a file buried in it, getting caught and thrown in the pokey with them. Bad me. It is that wicked imagination of mine. Oh well, vote for Dave and vote No on the referendum. Justice will come down the road eventually.

    Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Permalink
  14. madame.snark wrote:

    And anyone, please do not take any of my words our of context and use them for nefarious purposes. I am familiar with that cheap trick.

    Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 12:38 pm | Permalink
  15. linlee wrote:

    Reign in anger. Remember the facts.
    … Doherty (and by extension Nicolay, as a member of the Council) knew they were about to raid the Beach Utility Fund to finance an exorbitant pavilion voted down in 2014 by the residents of Belmar.
    …Doherty (and by extension Nicolay, as a member of the Council) knew they were inappropriately diverting the proceeds of the Buy-a-Board campaign to illegally fund the pavilion voted down in 2014 by Belmar residents.
    …Doherty, Nicolay and other Council members repeatedly lied to residents during Council meetings, to the press, in direct mailings to residents, and in other venues regarding the pavilion, swearing it was a FREE structure.
    FEMA increased the entitlement to Belmar on 10/2 but Dogerty chose to keep this secret until 10/28 when it appeared in the Asbury Park Press.
    …Based on Judge Gummer’s recent decision, only a percentage of FEMA’s allotment can be used for constructing pavilions. Don’t be fooled by selective and misleading information coming out of the Democratic and Dogerty camps. Judge Gummer’s decision stands.
    …Don’t forget funding is already coming into the Democratic party from Unions. No Union invests in politics unless it expects a very big pay back. The Lake Como outflow project and the approved Safety Building, added to the pavilion Dogerty’s pushing would seem like a pretty big incentive package for anyone investing Union dollars in Belmar. When we build I’d like to see the bids of both Union and non-union contractors evaluated on their merits, not tainted by obligations to anyone.

    Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 12:55 pm | Permalink
  16. An Observation wrote:

    #13 Madame Snark unfortunately Belmar does not have to follow state and state agency rules of ethics,nor is the SOX law applicable to Municipal government, if it did they would all be GONE! What is really important to note that just because they are not required by law to be ethical they continue their slimy ways of running a municipal government.

    Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 2:25 pm | Permalink
  17. Just Passing Through wrote:

    To the woman that sent out the fantastic yellow mailer, please take a bow and we ALL Thank YOU.

    Thursday, October 29, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink
  18. Anonymous wrote:

    #15 – I doubt very much Mrs Nicolay (“YES”) knows what she’s voting on.

    Saturday, October 31, 2015 at 5:25 am | Permalink
  19. An Observation wrote:

    #18 I don’t know if the company she works for is a publicly held company, if it is and they find out the bunch of unethical behavior she is involved in they will not be thrilled.

    Saturday, October 31, 2015 at 8:20 am | Permalink

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