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Judge Gummer Overrules Challenge To Pay 2 Play!



In lengthy decision…

Rejects claim that ordinance

was invalid because it was never

filed with Secretary of State.


Agrees with plaintiffs

that municipality doesn’t have

legal standing to challenge

constitutionality, that any

constitutional challenge must

come from an individual.


Finds civil rights violations

by the Borough under

both the Faulkner Act and

under the Civil Rights Act.


Is a referendum coming?

We’ll find out!

From a witness to today’s proceedings:


The Court ruled in favor of the Plaintiffs, granting Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and denying Defendants’ motion to dismiss the Plaintiffs’ Complaint.

Judge Gummer rejected Defendants’ arguments that the existing ordinances (meaning the ordinances that had been adopted between 2004 and 2011, which together comprise the Belmar Pay to Play Ordinance that has been and continues to be in effect) were not valid because they were not filed with the Secretary of State. She cited relevant statutes that indicate that when the Legislature intends that not filing an ordinance renders it invalid, it includes that language in the statute. The statute that Defendants relied upon for this argument did not include that language. Judge Gummer ordered Municipal Clerk Claudio to file the existing ordinances with the Secretary of State.

Judge Gummer then ruled that Defendants did not have standing under the Declaratory Judgment Act to assert their Counterclaim against Plaintiffs. She noted that the Defendants were not suing in their individual capacities but pursuant to their municipal positions. Citing relevant statutes and case law, she noted the distinction between initiative and referendum petitions. She found that Plaintiffs had exercised their rights to challenge Ordinance No. 2016-01 under NJSA 40:69A-185 of the Faulkner Act and followed the proper procedures of the Faulkner Act in submitting their referendum petition but the Defendants, instead of following the procedures that were required by them under the Act, advised Plaintiffs that their petition was being returned and stated at a public meeting that the “petition was being rejected.” In ruling that the Defendants have no standing, the Court stated that it was not in any way depriving any one of taking legally viable means to challenge the constitutionality of the existing ordinances and the entire controversy doctrine does not prevent them from doing that.

Judge Gummer then found that the Defendants had violated Plaintiffs’ rights under the Faulkner Act. She further found that the Defendants had also violated Plaintiffs’ civil rights under the New Jersey Civil Rights Act. Pursuant to the New Jersey Civil Rights Act and the New Jersey Supreme Court decision in Tumpson v. Farina, Judge Gummer ruled that Plaintiffs were entitled to their reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. She directed Plaintiffs to submit an application for their reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs on or before July 15 and Defendants to submit any opposition to that application by July 29.


Look for a full transcript next week.



  1. OLD MAN wrote:

    I probably won’t sleep all weekend.

    Friday, July 1, 2016 at 8:21 pm | Permalink
  2. SEASHELL wrote:

    Does the money that has already been raised by the mayor have to be returned? Or can the mayor resign and keep the money and continue his quest for Freeholder? What happens here?

    Friday, July 1, 2016 at 9:19 pm | Permalink
  3. admin wrote:

    He would have to return all the illegally collected money (and it’s tens of thousands of dollars) within 30 days of being notified he’s in violation. If he resigned he could keep the money and keep running for freeholder because all the sanctions involve restricting his activities and powers as a member of the Council, which he would no longer be.

    BTW even winning a referendum to get rid of the restrictions wouldn’t help because the law was in effect when he took the donations.

    Friday, July 1, 2016 at 9:29 pm | Permalink
  4. Resident wrote:

    Yet another lawsuit WON by residents against Lawless Matt Doherty. When will he stop wasting our time and money. Residents have WON every lawsuit and now they are winning legal fees all because Lawless Matt Doherty won’t obey the law and wants to personally profit.

    Friday, July 1, 2016 at 9:39 pm | Permalink
  5. OLD MAN wrote:

    Told you I can’t sleep. Almost 10:00 pm my pajamas are on and I’m wide awake. Damn.

    Friday, July 1, 2016 at 9:45 pm | Permalink
  6. A Voter 2 wrote:

    This goes beyond violating civil rights this is just plain corruption, The Mayor and Council should all be proud of yourselves for being the sleazy people you are!

    Friday, July 1, 2016 at 9:55 pm | Permalink
  7. Concerned wrote:

    A great read. More fireworks for the 4th of July. Thank you for the update Dave.

    Friday, July 1, 2016 at 9:56 pm | Permalink
  8. Eugene Creamer wrote:

    Thank you Plaintiffs, Counsel and all Petitioners!
    Integrity does – and should – matter to all of us.

    Friday, July 1, 2016 at 10:20 pm | Permalink
  9. Anonymous wrote:

    Declaration of Independence from Mcdirty. He is a tyrant in the true sense of the word.

    Saturday, July 2, 2016 at 8:25 am | Permalink
  10. Love the Beach wrote:

    What sense does it make for our taxes to pay for a municipal attorney? Either they are giving poor legal advice to the governing body or the governing body overrules them. Or, maybe it’s Colleen calling the shots. I believe she was the one at the meeting that rejected the petition and said the ordinance was illegal. Does Colleen come up with with the strategy for all these poor decisions and the governing body run with it. The governing body plus Ms. Claire think she is the best Administrator ever. She has got to go in my opinion.

    Saturday, July 2, 2016 at 10:03 am | Permalink
  11. Anonymous wrote:

    It is time for April Claudio to start taking responsibility for the actions entrusted to her as clerk. Simple terms, April, wake up and smell the coffee. Start doing your job as municipal clerk, not as a poltical puppet. Do you think the mayor gives a crap if you have misconduct charges levied against you ?

    Saturday, July 2, 2016 at 4:42 pm | Permalink
  12. callmecynical wrote:

    #11 That is not how things work in town – she will get a raise for keeping her mouth shut, following orders and being a good soldier.

    Saturday, July 2, 2016 at 5:49 pm | Permalink
  13. Resident wrote:

    Yet another lawsuit WON by residents against Lawless Matt Doherty. When will he stop wasting our time and money. Residents have WON every lawsuit and now they are winning legal fees all because Lawless Matt Doherty will not obey the law and wants to personally profit.

    Saturday, July 2, 2016 at 6:01 pm | Permalink
  14. Anonymous wrote:

    Mcdirty need a to take a remedial course in municipal government and then he can justify firing the rest of his scheming gang.

    Saturday, July 2, 2016 at 11:31 pm | Permalink
  15. Anonymous wrote:

    Stuart Business School accreditation just keeps tallying hits for April”s incompetence.

    How can she do her job with the Overseer striking the whip over April’s head. Can’t make this Tamany hall mess up.

    Sunday, July 3, 2016 at 9:05 am | Permalink
  16. ms.perspicacity wrote:

    My supportive ally and admirer, the former Councilwoman, must be frustrated because she cannot defend the administration of Belmar, due to the alleged gag order on her. (There is no storm emergency to blame for laxity in record keeping and “expediting”, like in the missing gift card matter.) Will the mayor resign and give up his power? Will he stay in office and give back the money? Can he win as freeholder? Is he on the road to perdition? Stay tuned for the next episode of “As Belmar Turns”.

    Sunday, July 3, 2016 at 10:40 am | Permalink
  17. A Voter 2 wrote:

    Ms.P They ALL should either resign or get voted out. Their silence on all the shenanigans from the start speaks volumes. Matt will never be freeholder, Monmouth County voters are not that stupid.

    Sunday, July 3, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink
  18. ms.perspicacity wrote:

    The ethically challenged ones speak up:

    Colleen: I am Empress.

    Matt: I am King.

    Brian: Huh? I am following orders.

    Tom: I like an even playing field (for corruption). And not wasting money.

    Jen: Matt made me do it. He told me not to worry about anything.

    Janis: I like to fly. And help old people.

    April: I am innocent.

    Sunday, July 3, 2016 at 12:11 pm | Permalink
  19. linlee wrote:

    Voter 2 … Your comment “Matt will never be freeholder. Monmouth County voters are not that stupid.” You’re not the first to say that but consider. Matt was elected twice in Belmar, the second time was after he’d spent years proving he didn’t have the interest, integrity, character or intellect to be a mayor for the town, but repeatedly presented himself as a self-serving stodge for unions and other commercial interests. Two of our Council members were re-elected by Belmar voters under the same very dark clouds of incompetence, and despite their voting history as puppet-performers. We don’t know where the Court’s validation of the plaintiff’s challenge of Ordinance 2016-01 will go next. If it is onto a referendum vote, we ALL need to be proactive to stop the insanity and catastrophe that is the Mayor and his team by engaging, informing, convincing residents of this town we have to stop any/all future damage by the trump card we hold….our VOTES.

    Sunday, July 3, 2016 at 2:51 pm | Permalink
  20. A Voter 2 wrote:

    #19 Linlee The registered voters in Belmar is far less than all of Monmouth county and most have a vested interest in one way or another for the way Matt and his cast of characters are running things.There is no incompetence here they know exactly what they are doing and its not for the good of ALL of the residents.

    Sunday, July 3, 2016 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

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