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Some Interesting Sunday Morning Reading

In today’s Star Ledger:

Belmar mayor’s family ties to Sandy contractors come under scrutiny

…………………..Days after getting a state debris removal contract on Oct. 30, Florida-based AshBritt, hired Conti Group of Edison, a construction firm, to help manage its efforts and identify local subcontractors. Conti then hired Maggie Moran — a former top aide to Gov. Jon Corzine and wife of Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty — to help develop a marketing campaign.

Like dozens of other towns in New Jersey, the Belmar contract was awarded without a bid. AshBritt was paid nearly $5 million, a good portion of which went to a team of subcontractors, records show. Ferreira Construction of Branchburg was hired directly by the town days after the storm, before becoming an AshBritt subcontractor. The town paid Ferreira $749,191 for its work, records show. In addition to working for Conti, Moran is a longtime consultant for Ferriera Construction………………..

…………………”It’s a baseless complaint,” Doherty said. “I followed the guidelines and the advice of the borough attorney and recused myself when voting on contracts and bills.”

I’m starting to think maybe we need a better attorney.

And a related story, also in today’s Ledger:

With Sandy debris all but gone, scrutiny begins over removal contracts

Federal investigators are auditing debris removal costs in at least three communities hit hard by Hurricane Sandy, kicking off an effort to determine whether money spent in New Jersey justifies millions in aid from Washington.

The audits of Belmar, Beach Haven and Little Egg Harbor will also be one of the first tests of Gov. Chris Christie’s decision to award a politically connected debris removal firm, the Florida-based AshBritt, a no-bid contract to lead New Jersey’s cleanup efforts.

Christie awarded the contract despite warnings from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that it could jeopardize federal relief if officials later determine the work could have been done cheaper though a bidding process.

Belmar and Beach Haven both hired AshBritt, while Little Egg Harbor hired a local contractor through an expedited bidding procedure…………..

………………Investigators appear to be scouring through invoices, photos and bidding procedures along with interviewing officials to determine whether federal guidelines were followed, according to a review of the kinds of information requests made by the federal Office of the Inspector General.

Officials from the towns say they believe they were targeted simply because they had high debris removal costs and submitted early for federal reimbursement — not for specific concerns.

“They took a look at us because they used dollar thresholds, something like $5 million,” said Colleen Connolly, business administrator in Belmar, one of the first towns to use AshBritt. “We were of a particular size.”……………

Of course what she means is that our bills were of a particular size.  (XXXL)

Finally, the story about the wagon thief who bought Jim Bean’s son, Alex, a new wagon and a teddy bear has made it across the pond. From the U.K. Daily Mail:

 Ashamed thief who stole mobility wagon of a disabled boy comes back to apologize after surveillance video of heist went viral


Unfortunately, one of the editors there misunderstood the reporter’s instruction to include in the story a photo of Mr. Bean posing with the teddy bear:

w178672591(Crazy British.)


  1. Tom Burke wrote:

    It seems to me that much of the advice the Belmar Council attorney has been providing over the past year or so is not holding up to the scrutiny of those outside agencies and individuals who are empowered to do such review.

    Since the record shows some questionable advice, I have to wonder if the interpretations Mr DuPont provided in response to some questions I asked at the September 4th council meeting on boardwalk pavilion funding (Debt payment plan)will hold up to the same scrutiny . To me, at the very least, the Borough should get a second opinion on it proposed payment plans for the proposed pavilion at 5th Avenue.

    For the record, I have always been in support of rebuilding the boardwalk pavilions. My only concerns pertain to size, cost and legal issues on the proposed debt payment plans specifically for the Taylor Pavilion.

    Monday, September 9, 2013 at 6:13 am | Permalink
  2. joegoofinoff wrote:

    I know this is off topic, but I love rowan Atikinson (Mr. Bean) and think this is his best skit ever. No offense at all to Jim.

    Rowan Atkinson: Fatal Beatings – YouTube
    ► 3:55► 3:55‎
    Feb 11, 2008 – Uploaded by pparkero
    Rowan Atkinson stars as a schoolmaster who just states matter-of-factly to a father of a student … Rowan …


    Monday, September 9, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Permalink
  3. Tracy Bean wrote:

    I had a good laugh at the picture of Mr. Bean Dave, and in response to JOEGOOFINOFF, we LOVED his stand-up, Rowan Atkinson Live that was taped at Boston College way back when, that had this skit in it. We have watched it countless times and it is hysterical! And regarding the wagon issue, it was a big deal emotionally for us which I tried to convey in the Coast Star Letter to the Editor, but it was even hard for me to write down, anything to do wht our little guy is jarring and swells our hearts–

    Friday, September 13, 2013 at 11:32 am | Permalink

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