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Courtesy Of The Coast Star

Thank you Coast Star!


  1. Beach patron wrote:

    I know Trent and Hillary, they are great people. I know for a fact that this whole lawsuit stemmed from the arrogance and unprofessionalism of BA Colleen Connolly. Another financial hit to the taxpayers because of her ineptness. Thank God your gone.

    Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink
  2. Same same wrote:

    Same attorney as the Harmon’s. Guess they get the job done

    Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink
  3. Glad I Left wrote:

    #1…Of course Colleen is to blame. She can’t leave fast enough. She’s caused so much damage and turmoil to both the residents and the borough employees. I know for a fact that 98% of the employees are happy and relieved that she’s going.

    Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink
  4. Guest wrote:

    Thanks Colleen and Matt, your actions continue to cost the Belmar taxpayers.

    Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink
  5. Boardwalker wrote:

    Trent and Hillary are two of the nicest people you will meet. The way Belmar and it’s BA treated them was disgraceful. Belmar should feel lucky that’s all the settlement was. Thank God Colleen’s gone.

    Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink
  6. Jim Bean wrote:

    Speaking of Colleen Connolly, did anyone read Jim Bean’s letter to the editor? He makes a really good point!

    Also Jim McCracken has a letter as well. good reading.

    Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink
  7. Ken Pringle wrote:

    Wow. I don’t think the original 10th Ave Freeze Out lease was terminated in December of 2016 because of ineptness. If the Borough had honored that lease, it would also have had to honor the lease that Jake’s Crab Shack had for the concession area in the Fifth Ave Pavilion.

    Could the Borough have terminated the original leases to enable Merri-Makers to bid for the Fifth Avenue concession space? You be the judge:

    1. The Borough set a disproportionately higher minimum bid price for the 5th Ave Pavilion ($8,000/month for 1,300 sf and 1,250 sf of outdoor deck space) compared to the 10th Ave Pavilion space ($4,000/month for 800 sf and 1,000 sf of outdoor deck space). Yet, the “Use of Property” language in both leases is identical: “The Tenant agrees to use the Property only for the purpose of sale of food products, beverages, ice cream, frozen yogurt, frozen food products or other dessert products.” There is no mention in either lease, or in the notice to bidder ads published by the Borough, that the Fifth Avenue Pavilion concession space could be used to cater events in the Fifth Avenue Pavilion.

    2.The only bidder on the Fifth Avenue space was the owner of Merri-Makers. He submitted a sealed bid of $9,100 per month, and described the food to be served as “Boardwalk food, beverages & snacks.” (There were two bidders for the 10th Ave pavilion space: 10th Ave Freeze Out, which won with a bid of $6,111 per month, and Jake’s Crab Shack, which bid $4,500 per month).

    Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 2:54 pm | Permalink
  8. Anonymous wrote:

    Ken, thank you for educating the residents of Belmar on how things worked under Doherty. Hopefully other people look into the whole mess that was the Doherty Administration. Did they ever find those gift cards ???

    Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 4:08 pm | Permalink
  9. Ken Pringle wrote:

    3. The Borough had never in the prior more than 25 years (and likely for far long than that, if ever) used sealed bids to bid out boardwalk concessions. All prior boardwalk concession leases had been awarded at public auctions during which bidders bid against each other.

    4. At the March 21, 2017 meeting of the Mayor & Council, the lease for the 5th Ave Concession was awarded to M2 Concessions, LLC , which was a new entity formed by the owner of Merri-Makers.

    5. Two weeks later, on April 4, 2017, the Mayor & Council adopted Resolution 2017-19, which established a new schedule of Fees for Public Spaces. There was a new fee added for “Wedding/Event Package: Reception & Bonfire” for a “Full Taylor Rental with Bonfire,” the application fee was $100.00 and a Facility Fee of “$1,500 (includes fire permits and eight hours of facility usage)” and a Security Deposit of $500.

    Below that on the next page of Schedule A is an entry for Huisman Gazebo, which states that it is “available for booking with a no-cost permit obtained from the Business Administrator.”

    6. Also adopted at that April 4, 2017 Council meeting was Resolution 2017-80, which set forth new “Rules and Regulations for the Rental of Taylor Pavilion.” The first rule provides the following:
    “1. The Pavilion may be rented and reserved by submitting an application to the Business Administrator at 601 Main Street, Belmar, NJ 07719. The associated application fee, facility fee, security deposit (if any) and insurance (if any) must be supplied at the time of application.”

    7. Less than 6 weeks later, Merri-Makers began advertising weddings at the Taylor Pavilion on their Instagram account. One photo dated May 27, 2017, shows a staged photo of a bride sitting on an outdoor bar on the beach (with a sign that says “Rum Bar”).

    I wonder how much rent this concession space would have drawn if Colleen Connolly and the Borough had publicized in advance to area catering companies that the successful bidder would be able to cater weddings and other events on site — complete with beach bonfires — for only an extra $1,600 per event?

    Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 4:48 pm | Permalink
  10. Anonymous wrote:

    Where are the Monmouth County Prosecutors?

    Campbell, if he and his sons cared would refer this article for investigation.

    Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 5:16 pm | Permalink
  11. Ken Pringle wrote:

    8. But the new rules for reserving the space enable Merri-Makers to lock up the best dates almost immediately. The following review from a July 6, 2017 Yelp entry, describes one future bride’s experience when she tried to book the Taylor Pavilion for her reception:

    “I did not wind up using Merri-Makers Catering with my wedding, but before I decided on another venue, I spoke at length with Gianna, the wedding coordinator for the Taylor Pavilion in Belmar.”

    “At the time of writing this review (July 2017), the Taylor Pavilion is just beginning to host weddings after a grand opening in May. My fiancé and I were interested in booking the venue and learned from the township that all dates had been pre-reserved by Merri-Makers Catering. If you want the Pavilion, you need to use Merri-Makers.”

    “At first, we were a little disappointed that Merri-Makers had immediately sharked all of the prime-season wedding weekends from the township (in that, we could not rent the venue ourselves directly from the township). However, we had a really positive experience interacting with Gianna.”

    You can read the full review at

    Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 5:22 pm | Permalink
  12. Anonymous wrote:

    Can the new administration change the rules for booking the pavilion and is it possible to legally break the lease with Merri Makers based solely on this bogus deal ?

    Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 5:46 pm | Permalink
  13. Anonymous wrote:


    Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 6:51 pm | Permalink
  14. Belle wrote:

    If the new Mayor and council read this blog please boot Merri Makers out of the pavilion and let the townspeople enjoy it again!!!
    Wouldn’t it be nice to have rocking chairs inside to look out at the ocean? How about bringing dance nights back, like the old square dancing they used to have there.

    Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 9:27 pm | Permalink
  15. anon wrote:

    I believe the answer to #12 is found in the several comments that Ken posted. The rules are not part of the lease agreements. MM has no right to require that these rules remain as they exist. The borough may change these rules if it is done in compliance with whatever statutory or municipal codes and procedures apply. A change as simple as prohibiting one entity or individual from reserving more than one date during a given time period would seem to eliminate the most egregious aspect of the current rules.However there may be other changes that are also desireable.

    Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 10:42 pm | Permalink
  16. Anonymous wrote:

    About #6-Why is Jim Bean referring to himself in the third person?

    Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 11:22 pm | Permalink
  17. Average Joe wrote:

    #16 Why? Because he is an above average person.

    Friday, December 7, 2018 at 4:35 am | Permalink
  18. Resident wrote:

    If you know Jim Bean, it is all about the humor! I can hear him in my head saying it too. Great letter and appropiate for this post!

    Friday, December 7, 2018 at 6:05 am | Permalink
  19. Anonymous wrote:

    Prior to the bid I heard on good authority that Brandls was told not to bother bidding on the fifth ave pavilion. He then bid a pretty low ball on 10 th ave, I wonder if they were tipped off. I additionally heard the 10th ave didn’t hand their bid in until very late in the day, on the day of the bid.

    Friday, December 7, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink
  20. Anonymous wrote:

    #7 the only problem with that if Brandl would have been allowed to return to fifth ave pavilion based on the pre-sandy lease. He would have had to pay for all the improvements that building needed, would he have done so for one more remaining year?

    And why didn’t they terminate the Exit 98 lease? (I know they tried)

    Friday, December 7, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink
  21. Aileen wrote:

    Thanks Ken for the important info!

    Merri Makers can afford to renew its lease even if Belmar switches to public auction. Rather than make them compete (and get big bucks) let’s preserve it and reverse the April 4, 2017 resolution’s new rules. That possible?

    Friday, December 7, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink
  22. Ken Pringle wrote:

    #20 That’s interesting. I wondered why the owner of Jake’s would have gone along with having his lease terminated without complaint (other than that he and Doherty are buddies). But the fact that the Borough couldn’t terminate Exit 98’s lease explains why they shouldn’t have tried to terminate the Tenth Ave Freeze Out Lease. Unless, of course, they wanted to give Jake’s owner a chance to bid for another boardwalk concession, after they priced him out of the Fifth Ave space. I’ve sent the Administrator a page from minutes of a 7/25/2013 meeting of the Boardwalk Redevelopment Advisory Committee that I think shed further light on what was going on, and show how long this has all been in the works. If he is kind enough to post them, we can continue this debate on that string.

    Friday, December 7, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink
  23. admin wrote:

    Here is a link to the minutes Ken sent in.

    I’ll put more together on this when I have time.

    Friday, December 7, 2018 at 9:11 am | Permalink
  24. The fix was in wrote:

    With very good intel… The concession space at Fifth Avenue obviously the fix was in. The day the bid was awarded that day or the next day the kitchen hood suppression system was installed. If anyone knows anything about the restaurant business you would never purchase, have built – which takes weeks of time, and have installed the very next day – a kitchen hood suppression system unless it was a guarantee that you were going to get that space. Tens of thousands of dollars pre spent bc MM already knew. Brandls was a shoe in for the other space then squeezed out. Another inside deal as was all his catering for any Mayors (Doherty’s) event. The Taylor Pavilion lost the charm it should have had in rebuilding because of greed. I think most residents would welcome any change to gain that back to the open air rocking chair worn wood floor pavilion with local charm it should be. One thing Belmar does have is two (5th and 10th) really shoddy built expensive buildings. Mark reads this blog. Hopefully one more thing on his list of things to fix, right the wrong, straighten out – but it will be bumpy along the way no doubt

    Friday, December 7, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink
  25. Guest wrote:

    #22 – Have you sent your information to the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office also?

    Friday, December 7, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink
  26. Resident wrote:

    I hope Walsifer and the new administration bring in an experienced business administrator with a degree in business administration like the CFO they hired.
    Also, Acting Chief Hiseman, who has taken full advantage of the residents of this town for far too long needs to go also.

    Friday, December 7, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink
  27. Ken Pringle wrote:

    If you look at the minutes that the Admin posted at #23 above, you’ll see two entries that I’ve highlighted in boxes:

    The first entry references a discussion as to “whether 950 sq. ft. is adequate for re-establishing a business such as Jake’s Crab Shack. No final decisions were made on this but more space seems necessary for proper use as restaurant/concession.” There are two things odd about this: First, to use #20’s point against him/her, if there was only one year left on Jake’s lease, why was anyone worried about whether Jake’s space was large enough. Second, it doesn’t seem likely that Jake’s owner was concerned about the size, because even at 950 sq. feet, he had room for tables inside, and later bid $4,100 per month for the 10th Ave space, which is only 800 sq. ft. But the original 950 sf concession area in the original Fifth Ave Pavilion was likely too small for a concessionaire that intended also to use the space for a catering business. If my understanding is correct that Cruz Cafe uses all 1,300 sf for its operations and serves boardwalk customers only through windows, then it seems more likely to me that this discussion wasn’t for the benefit of Jakes. More on the second entry to follow.

    Friday, December 7, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink
  28. eugene r creamer wrote:

    10th Avenue Freeze Out needed to be punished for wanting to install a kitchen exhaust … the motorized vent messed-up plans for a rooftop deck that would be ideal for political photo ops w/Booker, Menendez, Murphy, etc …

    Friday, December 7, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink
  29. Ken Pringle wrote:

    The second highlighted entry in the minutes dated 7/25/2013 states that the “Committee voted and approved a 2nd floor to be added to Taylor Pavilion. Intended uses (at this time) is a banquet style facility with a kitchen capable of 250 occupants. It is not intended for lease out to a specific business or catering outfit and instead should be for town and resident reservation and use.”

    This is the first time we heard about any plans to add a second floor catering facility to the Taylor Pavilion. It’s worth noting here that Merri-Maker’s oceanfront catering location in Sea Bright had been destroyed in Sandy. One other point, worth noting is that it’s not clear what the date was of the meeting these minutes are from. The date at the top of the page says 7/25/2013, but that may be the date of the email that John Hutchinson sent them. (You can see his email address in the link at the bottom of the page). But toward the bottom of the minutes, it says the next meeting date is in March, which seems unlikely if the meeting occurred in July.

    Friday, December 7, 2018 at 10:25 am | Permalink
  30. Anonymous wrote:

    So who was on this Boardwalk Redevelopment Advisory Committee , and perhaps they could speak up and shed some light on the intentions of the discussions?

    Friday, December 7, 2018 at 10:34 am | Permalink
  31. Hey Matt wrote:

    Come on Matt you know you’ve been reading this all morning , you should explain/defend what took place. Maybe the Meatball lady will speak that is if you allow her too and defend what is being said about you and your admin.seeing how that is she has done for the past 6 years.

    Friday, December 7, 2018 at 12:20 pm | Permalink
  32. Resident wrote:

    So what does all this Merri Makers information mean? Seems like old news that the citizens were duped. What can be done about it? Jail for Doherty, Connolly and the rest of the administration?

    Friday, December 7, 2018 at 1:03 pm | Permalink
  33. Anonymous wrote:

    Let’s hope the new BA is someone who is qualified to straighten our mess out and not some political hack.

    Friday, December 7, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink
  34. Hey Matt wrote:

    Guess Maggie won’t let you talk ? Tip of the iceberg buddy.Cant wait to see the amount of money your self serving administration is going to cost the town my guess is it would buy a lot of Meatballs .
    Frivolous I think Not. Meatballs this is where blind faith gets ya enjoy.

    Friday, December 7, 2018 at 7:09 pm | Permalink
  35. Anonymous wrote:

    #33. New BA is a political hack.

    Friday, December 7, 2018 at 8:44 pm | Permalink
  36. anon wrote:

    #33 do you mean a well qualified BA at work after discussing it with whoever becomes the new boro attorney? with a view towards new rules and options on how to proceed with a referral to MonCtyPros or a civil action regarding the lease? my view is that if the rules are changed as was suggested previosly the lease , if strictly enforced , will be most beneficial to the boro. it’s a little late to go back to square one and rebid and redesign the whole deal. of course this assumes no one is on the wrong end of a criminal action from the county after this is all reviewed.

    Friday, December 7, 2018 at 9:52 pm | Permalink
  37. anon wrote:

    Who dat? has a new BA been named?

    Friday, December 7, 2018 at 10:00 pm | Permalink
  38. Terry wrote:

    #35 Why would you announce that #33 is a hack? Do you know him or her?

    Do you have proof of your allegation? It is best if you know what you are talking about.

    We have had enough of the tales stories and lies to last a life time. Some how
    the truth will out but not by accusations. Maybe you thought you
    should have the position? I think that decision is up to the newly elected
    Mayor Walsifer? Think before you speak.

    Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 12:53 am | Permalink
  39. Kathleen C. wrote:

    I heard my sister, Colleen, recommended me for the new position. #33 how dare you speak of me like that!

    Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink
  40. Anonymous wrote:

    #31-I can tell you from personal experience-Matt NEVER tunes into this blog. Never has, and never will.

    Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 7:11 pm | Permalink
  41. Anonymous wrote:

    17 and 18-Jim Bean with a sense of humor? Doubtful. He proceeds with a get-even mentality-as is proven by his letter to the editor (Coast Star), and his anger with those residents who only wanted to support him and his family. He creates situations which never existed to vent his anger and discontentment. I understand that he’s written angry letters to agencies that disagreed with him and members of his family. The world is not against Jim Vean and his family. In fact, most of Belmar is on his side . He wants to be unhappy because he chooses to do so. He

    Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 7:32 pm | Permalink
  42. Anonymous wrote:

    Voyeurs never tell.

    Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 7:50 pm | Permalink
  43. Jim Bean wrote:

    Hey #41, aka CD. I think your comment is LOL, even with no sense of humor! Smile 🙂

    Sunday, December 9, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Permalink
  44. Resident wrote:

    #41 what are you babbling about? And why do you bring up his family? Talk about anger and unhappiness, look in the mirror! Leave you commenting to the subject matter and stop personal attacks. Jeez, how low.

    Monday, December 10, 2018 at 4:00 am | Permalink
  45. Sandra Caputo wrote:

    Thank you, Ken, for all your work and detailed explanations.
    Who decides if something goes up for public bidding or in sealed envelopes.

    Monday, December 10, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

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