The investigation into disgraced Freeholder John P. Curley’s harassment of Monmouth County employees cost taxpayers $24,075.00, according to documents obtained by MMM via OPRA request.
Former Acting Associate Supreme Court Justice Mary Catherine Cuff commenced the investigation by reviewing the County’s Anti-Discrimination policy on June 15, 2017, according to her invoice dated November 14, 2017. Judge Cuff conducted four interviews in July and three interviews in August. She spent 7.25 hours reviewing tape of Board meetings during the month of August.
On September 7, Judge Cuff had a teleconference with Curley’s attorney, Angelo Genova. Genova has also represented former President Barack Obama, the Democratic National Committee, and U.S. Senator Bob Menedez, according to the profile on his firm’s website.
Judge Cuff spent 11.50 hours researching and preparing her report to the Freeholders during the month of September before interviewing Curley for an hour and a half on September 29.
Judge Cuff finalized the report on October 17, after spending 15.45 hours of research and preparation. She billed the County of Monmouth for 48.15 hours at a rate of $500 per hour.
Freeholders Lillian Burry, Tom Arnone, Serena DiMaso and Gary Rich, informed by the report, passed a Resolution of Censure and Reprimand of Curley on December 8. Curley did not show up at the Special Meeting for his Censure.
The Freeholders found that Curley lied to Judge Cuff. Additionally, they censured and reprimanded him for:
- Making comments of a sexual and vulgar nature to a fellow elected official during a public speech at an event attended by numerous County employees.
- Denying to the independent investigator that he made the above referenced statement, despite being well-aware of the number of witnesses to the statement;
- The investigator found that Freeholder Curley likely engaged in angry vulgar outburst causing female County employees to flee their offices based upon an independent review of the public meeting recordings;
- Publicly criticizing County employees in the presence of other County employees;
- The investigator noted that two female County employees recounted overhearing telephone conversations of Freeholder Curley which focused on the physical appearance of, and critical comments about women;
- The investigator also noted that it has been alleged that Freeholder Curley made many other salacious and vulgar statements, such as, “I will go down on you and I won’t have to leave you a message”; “Oh that’s you who I wanted to bend over and take”; “c**t”; “b***h”; how to “sweat a pipe” to a teenager; “I’ll show you a snake show, sit on my lap and I’ll give you a show”; if proven to be true, such statements are disgusting, reprehensible, shocking, and should never be made by anyone, let alone a County Freeholder;
- Attempting to excuse such conduct by declaring the Freeholders are not subject to the County policy against workplace discrimination and harassment;
- Filing a federal lawsuit against the County of Monmouth and its Freeholders for alleged civil rights violations in the independent investigation despite having been represented by his own legal counsel throughout the investigative process;
- Since Freeholder Curley file his lawsuit, it has been revealed that Freeholder Curley has allegedly used the word “faggot” and “queer” in front of and referring to County employees;
- Making a public statement discrediting the County Freeholders and the independent investigation in press release on December 1, 2017; while at the same time attempting to prevent the County Freeholders from responding to his statement by seeking a restraining order;
- Publicly down playing his conduct, by explaining that he doesn’t “mince words,” and admitting that it “is a problem I have”, yet failing to take any action to fix this problem.
Curley’s term expires at the end of 2018. He has not yet announced if he is running for reelection.
On December 14, Monmouth GOP Chairman Shaun Golden wrote to Party leaders informing them of the Censure and Reprimand. In his letter, Golden said that Curley should not stand for reelection as a Republican.
Middletown Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger is expected to announce his candidacy for Freeholder before Christmas. Scharfenberger told MMM that he is confident he would prevail in a primary against any challengers or should the disgraced freeholder choose to run as an Independent.