In an uncharacteristic outburst, Monmouth County Freeholder Director Tom Arnone confronted his disgraced colleague, John P. Curley for disparaging two County employees with a gay slur. “Deny you said it,” Arnone shouted at Curley during a public comment by David D’Amico, a representative of Garden State Equality.
Curley had put a proclamation acknowledging June as LGBTQ Pride Month on the agenda of the afternoon workshop meeting on the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders meeting of June 26, 2018. He later indicated the proclamation would be presented “out of house” –meaning the presentation of the honor, as is often done, would be made by a Freeeholder during an public event for the honoree and not a a Freeholder meeting.
While reviewing the agenda for the meeting after the “in house” proclamations had been made, Arnone asked Curley when, where or if the LGBTQ Pride Month proclamation was to be presented. “I don’t know yet, Director,” Curley replied.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, David D’Amico, a retired investigator of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, announced that he was there representing Garden State Equality for the presentation of the proclamation. D’Amico very graciously thanked the freeholders for their support and noted that June was quickly coming to a close. D’Amico then suggested that Curley might not be the right person to present the proclamation given the allegations that he had uttered gay slur towards two Monmouth County Corrections Officers during a public event. The Corrections Officers were in the audience.
Arnone addressed D’Amico, expressing his support for the LGBTQ community and expressed how a family member’s life has “transformed” since he came out. Arnone said that he too was uncomfortable with Curley presenting a proclamation. Arnone cryptically referred to a meeting in his office with Curley and the officers.
Curley played dumb during the exchange, at one point telling Freeholder Patrick Impreveduto that he did not know what Arnone was talking about.
The conversation was about to end and the meeting move on when Curley accused D’Amico and Arnone of “political posturing.”
That set Arnone off, as you can see in the video above.
“It’s not political, its personal,” Arnone exclamed. “I have a family member. That word should never be used in public in Monmouth County. Deny you said it. It’s a yes or no answer.”
Curley betrayed his denial (and perhaps his lawsuit which, for the time being has an investigative report of the incident under seal) when he said “There was an explanation that was given.”
Curley then reverted to form, telling Arnone he would not comment and stammering the name of Judge Martinotti, the U.S. District Court Judge hearing the case. “It’s in Superior…..Judge Martinotti…U.S. federal court,” Curley stammered before saying, “OK, it’s personal.”
D’Amico ended the exchange by saying, “And it’s personal to the LGBTQ community that I came here and made the announcement that I made today.”