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Was This An Ethics Violation?

Then-Borough attorney Greg Cannon “advises” and makes vigorous defense of Tom Brennan in my 2017 campaign finance complaint. Was he working for Tom or the Borough?



  1. Katrina wrote:

    In this letter of response written by then borough attorney Cannon the Fifth paragraph, ends with:

    “Simply put,I don’t get paid by the borough to determine ELEC questions.Only to opine on on the Boroughs ordinances.”

    That at a time when the Democrats had the major majority. So I don’t understand the complaint from Ms Russo (or should we say Matt). There were many instances that our taxpayer paid attorney gave opinions justifying actions and decisions made by our former administration in reference to borough ordinances.
    Looking back at the opinion given by Dasti at the meeting in question, he was specifically opining on Belmar’s pay to play ordinance.
    Also the candidates in question followed the ordinance that allowed them to “cure” the complaint. The second ordinance was added later to allow candidates to fix mistakes they might have made, when the Democrat candidates at the time, were almost all found to be in violation of our very strict Pay to Play Laws.
    Matt Doherty decided not to cure his violation so he could keep all the contributions for his Freeholder campaign there by forfeiting his ability to vote on development in Belmar. He was more concerned with climbing the political ladder than voting on Belmar matters. In my opinion his actions at the time, intentionally got him totally off the hook for any responsibility towards Belmar. He was done with using Belmar as a public platform for his own political ambitions.

    The candidates in question are now totally in compliance and can vote on development.

    Thanks Dave for this follow up post of the treasure chest of information you have.

    Monday, May 4, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Hope Dave doesn’t get a Clinton bump off.

    Monday, May 4, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink
  3. Anonymous wrote:

    Admin, was councilman Brennan ever put on notice that he was not in compliance?

    Also it seems at the beginning he states that Councilman Brennan is not in violation then states he

    Monday, May 4, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink
  4. admin wrote:

    I made the assertion but Cannon disagreed

    Monday, May 4, 2020 at 6:00 pm | Permalink
  5. Legal Beagle wrote:

    I love law and order. Let me surmise.

    Is it possible for a losing candidate to be put on notice for the pay to play ordinance? In theory yes. If it were to happen would the borough attorney be asked to go through their campaign reports and give his opinion? I think not. Why not? Both ran for office with the same rule book, why does one get the privilege of an attorney and the other not? Because they won an election? Going forward does every election winner get their election reports reviewed to make sure they are not in conflict with any NJ law or Belmar ordinance by the borough attorney?

    Dave, this email sent to you. It might look thrown together but it was actually well thought out. First the attorney made sure he knew about the allegation “by the clerk”. The Clerk should have nothing to do with instruction or telling the borough attorney about campaign issues. Then he tells you “Councilman Brennan is not in violation..” He then explains to you why he is not, then states “I don’t get paid by the Borough to determine ELEC question…” even though the second sentence contradicts this. He then finishes with another reason why Brennan is not in conflict and instructs you to take it to court if you disagree giving him an out if you complain.
    This attorney made sure you didn’t know who instructed him to do this research. He did not read this statement during a council meeting (on Borough charged time) and if you check his invoices my belief is that his time for this research was billed under a different reason. Doherty and company know it was wrong but were smart enough to cover their tracks.

    So did he help (work for) Brennan? Yes. But without proof the lawyer was instructed to do it, it appears the lawyer was just throwing out his opinion to be nice.

    Just my thoughts…..

    Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink
  6. admin wrote:

    It’s not illegal to accept PAC money or bar money or whatever. The only sanction is that you lose your vote on certain issues for 3 years. So there is no method and no reason to punish a losing candidate because they can’t vote anyway.

    Certainly no agency is going to have the time to go through everybody’s campaign reports looking for any problems. That’s the job of the opposition and concerned voters and taxpayers. As far as ELEC goes, that is a state agency and only enforces state law. Even they only look at the reports if someone makes a complaint.

    One problem with Belmar’s laws concerning the behavior of public officials is that only Belmar can enforce Belmar ordinances so there is no disinterested party to do the job.

    BTW, I sent my original notification to the Borough clerk. That’s why he refers to her.

    Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink
  7. Aileen wrote:

    Thank you Dave.

    Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink
  8. Legal Beagle wrote:

    I’m not going to get into an argument so this is my last post about this, but ADMIN you missed the point of the questions. No one brought up the illegal word.

    In theory someone could be put on notice if they broke the Belmar pay to play rule even though they lost. NOT why would anyone. Is it allowed? Yes it could be. Explain not why no one would, but why it wouldn’t be allowed if you want prove your point.(maybe the losing candidate plan to run the next year and the opposition wanted to get it on the record that they couldn’t vote if won)

    If the borough attorney is allowed to go through elected officials campaign reports for problems why not let them? Can’t any elected official himself say I might be in conflict and then have the Borough lawyer get involved? It easier then waiting on your opponents to find something.

    The Borough clerk is not an elected official. Are you saying that the clerk has the authority to tell the borough attorney to please take care of this legal question?

    These are simple questions that I can’t believe everyone argues in their head to try to find right or wrong. I guess not.

    This blog should change its name Mayor Walifer’s talking points for Belmar. You bend over to cover whatever happens. You lost me with you accepted boardwalks being closed with no commentary. You are no libertarian. ADMIN, you have lost your non-partisan libertarian ways. Everything I read here I now take with a grain of salt.

    Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 11:30 am | Permalink
  9. admin wrote:

    I reported on the State party contribution long before Ms. Russo brought it up so how exactly is that covering for Mayor Walsifer? As far as the boardwalk closing, I wouldn’t have done it but I understand it would have been very difficult politically for Walsifer to keep it open. BTW, the boardwalk in Belmar was already off limits to me for a long time anyway because whenever I go out walking I have my dog with me and also I smoke so I would have to leave the boardwalk for that too. I did fight the smoking ban at the time as long time readers will attest.

    A lot of libertarians have given up on places like NJ and moved to places where our way of thinking is not considered to be libertarian but actually just normal common sense. For example, up here I can walk my dog and smoke on the walkway along the beach even now with the virus and actually that’s what I’m heading out to do right now.

    Beautiful day up here today.

    Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

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