JACKSON-In New Jersey politics, anything can happen at any time and usually when it does happen, there’s absolutely no shame involved.
Jackson Mayor Michael Reina, a longtime ally of former GOP Chairman George Gilmore has been reappointed to the Ocean County Republican Party’s esteemed screening committee by GOP Chairman Frank B. Holman. Reina who had served on the committee under Gilmore will now be among a very small group of county Republicans including freeholders and Ocean County Sheriff Michael Mastronardy who will be screening candidates for nomination at the organization’s nominating convention in March.
Reina will be screening candidates for U.S. Congress and U.S. Senate seats this weekend.
Holman, a Lacey resident, has also taken an active role since the appointment of Reina in Jackson’s affairs as he has been lobbying the Orthodox Jewish community to mediate settlements in ongoing lawsuits against the township.
This year, Reina appointed one of Holman’s closest political allies, Assemblyman Gregory P. McGuckin to replace Jean Cipriani as the township’s attorney. Reina said he fired Cipriani because he accused her of mishandling the negotiations between Jackson Township and Agudath Israel of America.
Previously, McGuckin served as the township’s planning board attorney. Both Holman and McGuckin’s respective firms also maintain public contracts with Lakewood Township.
The move to appoint Holman is surprising to many insiders after Reina initially supported Holman’s opponent Frank Sadeghi for the position of county chairman. Holman’s team has enacted political revenge against many of Sadeghi’s staunch supports.
Sadeghi, of Island Heights, and owner of Shore News Network had been the host of political campaign fundraisers for Reina in the mayor’s 2018 re-election campaign.
Back in Jackson, Holman is now caught in the crossfire between Jackson Township Republicans and the Orthodox Jewish communities in Lakewood and Jackson.
Holman’s feet are dipped in the pool at both ends and that’s not only creating a political situation for the newly elected Ocean County GOP Chairman, but it could soon have a financial impact on his firm’s business. Holman has been asked to take sides. Lakewood politicians have asked Holman to intervene in what they feel has been out of control and blatant anti-semitism by township officials.
Holman may have left Jackson decades ago, but his company still makes a huge profit annually from contracts with various township entities.
Holman’s firm earns $16,100 annually from Jackson Fire District #3. He brings in $10,750 from Fire District #4 each year. Jackson Township itself pays Holman $52,00 annually for his accounting services. Clara Glory’s MUA funnels Holman $28,850 each year to his firm.
That’s $98,000 per year on the line if Dr. Richard Robert’s mission against the Jackson Township Republican Club succeeds and somehow Clara Glory, Mayor Michael Reina, and the fire commissioners are all voted from office. It’s no wonder why Holman seeks peace because the battle between the Jackson GOP and the Orthodox Jewish community can have a serious hit on Holman’s annual public contract cashflow.
Holman’s interests go beyond his own. Holman now leads the political pay to play syndicate which takes over $4,000,000 in public funds in Jackson and funnels that money to his high-powered consultant friends, including the law firm of Dasti, McGuckin, and Murphy who not only represents Jackson as general legal counsel but also represents Lakewood’s zoning board.
Holman’s firm also holds three public contracts in Lakewood including an $80,000 annual contract from the township’s municipal government. He holds a public contract with the Lakewood Township School District which nets him $65,000 per year.
Combined, Holman is earning a quarter of a million dollars annually between his contracts in Lakewood and Jackson and while both sides are battling each other, he has become caught in the middle with his position as GOP Chairman and if a settlement is not on the horizon, Holman will undoubtedly be forced to take sides in the battle.
Township officials have called upon Holman to “call off the dogs”, knowing of his relationship with the Orthodox Jewish community. Last year, it was Lakewood’s block vote who solidified Holman’s seat as the new chairman of the Ocean County Republican Party. Across the border, Lakewood has called upon Holman to put his Jackson GOP party in line and cease their anti-Semitic agenda.
Orthodox Jews have called for the resignation of Jackson GOP Municipal Chairwoman Clara Glory and even Mayor Michael Reina. Holman has said many times, his lifelong friendship with Glory prevents him from taking action against her, not to mention her fierce loyalty to Holman during the GOP’s yearlong battle with itself.
Last week Holman met with top GOP national donor Dr. Richard Roberts who is upset with the behavior of Jackson Township Republicans and Reina towards Orthodox Jews. Reina said he did not know Holman was meeting with Roberts to attempt to lure Agudath Israel of America into a settlement with the township.