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Prosecutor To Investigate Ocean Township Property Tax Fraud

Councilman John Napolitani does not deny the fraud when give the opportunity

Councilman John Napolitani did not deny that he is the member of the governing body who directed favorable treatment from the tax department for friends of the community

The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office is investigating allegations that a member of the Ocean Township governing body had Stephen Gallagher (no relation to this blogger), the Township’s Chief Financial Officer, instruct employees of the Tax Department to remove properties of friends of the community, according to an announcement by Councilman Rob Acerra.

The allegations were made in a lawsuit by Meredith Nelson, Deputy Director of Finance, and first reported by MMM.

Acerra released a letter sent to the Prosecutor requesting the investigation and said he confirmed that the allegations would be investigated.

Acerra is engaged in a heated political battle with  Mayor Christopher Siciliano and Councilman John Napolitiani, the leaders of the Advocates for Ocean slate in the non-partisan municipal election on Tuesday, May 15.  Acerra was elected as part of Siciliano’s team in 2015, but was dumped from the ticket this year at the behest of Senator Vin Gopal.

Letter to the Prosecutor (1)

Acerra says he is the lone watchdog on the the Council and that Siciliano implore the members of the governing body to keep the allegations in the lawsuit confidential.

“I am coming forward with this information for three reasons,” Acerra said. “First, we need to swiftly learn if any of my colleagues on the Council engaged in criminal behavior by committing property tax fraud, as alleged in the lawsuit. Secondly, the residents of the Township must immediately be made aware of the tax fraud and sexual harassment that may be occurring within the walls of their government. And the other reason I am coming forward is I believe this information never would have seen the light of day had I not done so, evidenced by the Mayor’s text messages to the rest of the Council attempting to strong-arm us into using ‘confidentiality’ as it pertains to this incident.”

“I am the lone watchdog that Ocean residents have on the Council right now, as evidenced by this particularly disturbing series of events,” Acerra continued. “Furthermore, to watch the Mayor shrug off allegations of fraud and sexual harassment at “bulls**t” in a news story yesterday displays a level of callousness which calls his leadership abilities into serious question. In the era of “Me Too,” our default position should always be to take allegations such as these extremely seriously and investigate accordingly. If re-elected this Tuesday I will be moving for the appointment of an independent investigator within the Township to get to the bottom of these allegations and help us implement appropriate reforms.”

When asked if he was the member of the governing body who ordered that the tax department give favorable treatment to past due taxpayers, Councilman Napolitani attacked the question and the questioner but did not deny the allegation.

 

Posted: May 9th, 2019 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County News, New Jersey, Ocean Township | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

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