Bennett Doubles Down On Ethics Questions, Challenges Golden To A Debate

John Bennett Memorial Day 2014Monmouth County Republican Chairman John Bennett wrote to Sheriff Shaun Golden today, reiterating his concerns about the potential ethical questions raised by Manalapan GOP Chairman Steve McEnery and Freehold Republican Chairman Anthony Graziano and challenged Golden to a debate to which all County Committee Members would be invited.

Bennett did not offer to buy breakfast, lunch or dinner for those attending the debate, but he was agreeable to MMM publisher Art Gallagher moderating.

Bennett’s letter can be viewed here.

In his letter to Golden, Bennett restated his argument that McEnery and Graziano were not attacking the Sheriff’s character or ethics, but rather raising a legitimate question under the New Jersey Local Government Ethics Law.  Bennett said that the Court case that Golden cited in responding to McEnery and Graziano does not apply to the questions raised by the municipal chairman because 1) the Ethics Law was enacted in 1991 and the Court’s decision was in 1978, 2) the Court case applied to a sheriff holding the office of municipal chairman, not county chairman and 3) the Ethics Law “does without question address the risks to both you and the Freeholders should you hold both positions.”

Bennett said that Golden’s response to the McEnery-Graziano letter was a personal attack on him.  He said that his daughter, Meghan Bennett Clark, had acquired his legal practice and that he no longer earns money as a result of Meghan’s legal work for Monmouth County.

Bennett said that Golden could have sought an advisory opinion of the Local Finance Board.  “You did not, and the issue lingers.”

This is not about you or me, Shaun, and although I believe your intentions are pure, this is about preserving the Party’s best interest. The issue gives everyone pause, and it should because there are long term implications for the Party. Let us never forget we live in a County where Democrats outnumber Republicans by 4,000 voters. We need stability and strong leadership at the Chairman’s position, not unanswered questions.


Bennett said that the race should be on the issues, and avoid personal attacks. He asked that Golden and his supporters stop the personal attacks against him and his family, online and elsewhere, and said that he has asked his supporters to do the same.

When reached for comment, Golden said he had not yet seen Bennett’s letter.

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Posted: May 27th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: John Bennett, Monmouth County, Monmouth GOP, Shaun Golden | Tags: , , , | 57 Comments »

57 Comments on “Bennett Doubles Down On Ethics Questions, Challenges Golden To A Debate”

  1. Shire Reeve said at 8:03 pm on May 28th, 2014:

    Hey art, how slow are you at moderating? I thought you were going to take care of the “glitch” that keeps my comments from posting? Nice work buddy; you should go see golden about a job; he can’t shoot straight either.

  2. @@ County Committee Person said at 8:25 pm on May 28th, 2014:

    This is not a matter of being an elected official like an assemblyman or senator. Shaun is barred from being a chairman and a county sheriff because he will be serving the same board of freeholders that he has political power over. How can the freeholders ever make a decision contrary to what the sheriff wants if, as chairman, he can retaliate by taking away contributions or the line?

  3. Art Gallagher said at 8:44 pm on May 28th, 2014:

    Hey Shire Reeve,

    You trigger the spam filter and it’s my problem?

    I ‘whitelisted’ your one of your IP addresses a few hours ago and just ‘whitelisted’ the one you just posted from. Hopefully that will solve your problem. If not, I’ll give your double your money back on your subscription to MMM.

    Is there a pending vacancy in Shaun’s office that I don’t know about? 😉

  4. Shire Reeve said at 8:50 pm on May 28th, 2014:

    You’re a saucy one art; love the site of course. Best source of info out there and nice to see everyone rallying behind their guy. Thanks for the clearance!

  5. The "mess" in Howell said at 8:55 am on May 29th, 2014:

    The “mess” in Howell is one created and continued by Bob Walsh, Bill Gotto and the rest of Howell’s administration; that “mess” is incredibly high property taxes for residents and nothing but excuses to the question of “why?”. Walsh is being challenged in the primary because of his failure to address property taxes and his continued insistence that he is powerless to do anything other than raise taxes and point fingers at Trenton.

    What you probably also don’t know is that Costigan is being bitterly challenged in the primary, for a VOLUNTEER SEAT, by Walsh through a Walsh supporter. Walsh has been wrestling to get control of the Howell GOP and Howell Republican Club for several years now, not for the best interest of Howell taxpayers, but for his own interests in getting the party line and becoming a Freeholder… so that he can raise taxes county wide instead of just in his little town and then blame other people. And raising taxes is something that our GOOD REPUBLICAN FREEHOLDERS have not done in years.

    Bennett may or may not be a good chairman, but don’t drag Costigan into the “mess”. Costigan is a well respected man who has earned a distinguished status as a hard worker and team player state-wide. There are countless chairmen who bring no value to the party or their towns, your chairman is one of them, Costigan is not. If Bennett isn’t interested in seeing Costigan go, it’s because Bennett rightly doesn’t want to see Walsh or Golden in control of Howell instead. The rest of the county likely agrees with Bennett by not voting for Walsh.

  6. @ The Mess said at 10:25 am on May 29th, 2014:

    The truth is that Bennett let Costigan renege on giving up his Municipal Chairmanship when he got the State Committeeman position from Bennett. And stop with the bit about a “volunteer seat.”

    Yes, it is a volunteer seat, but he is the MUNICIPAL CHAIRMAN, the guy in charge of the nuts and bolts. If he can’t straighten it out, then maybe he should be challenged.

    And, if you are saying “Bennett doesn’t want to see Walsh in charge,” then why Bennett make such a phoney deal? Shouldn’t he have had the foresight to know that if Costigan stepped down, there would be a vacuum of power??

    That’s a strike at Bennett for not being trusted worthy as well as one for not thinking about the consequences or what would result.

    If Costigan made the deal, he should have followed through on it. Bennett should go because he is weak.

    Howell has been a mess for years. If Costigan was such a strong Chair, he would have solved the problem.

    That said, you are correct about “countless chairman bringing no value.” Too many are just little Napoleons.

  7. Just compare what you said at 12:42 am on May 31st, 2014:

    Received in the mail today from Golden and Bennett

    Color, positive, uplifting patriotic brochure
    From Golden giving his vision and ideas for the future
    and then 3- black and white pages
    Of words upon words that bored me to death on a lovely sunny day from Bennett.

    I will take the positive, short, sweet and to the point brochure any day.
    Don’t waste my time Bennett.

    Golden just took my Bennett vote and turned it into a vote for Golden

    Kuddos to the designer and printer of Goldens’ positive, colorful brochure