JACKSON, NJ – David Wildstein, editor of the New Jersey Globe reported today that tonight’s special council meeting in Jackson is to announce the resignation of Trump appointee Barry Calogero. Wildstein, a former executive of the New Jersey Port Authority and a senior official of former Governor Chris Christie’s administration is a high-level New Jersey political insider. Speculation of Calogero’s impending resignation has been swirling for weeks since the councilman called upon Governor Phil Murphy to deploy National Guard troops to neighboring Lakewood Township to quell what Calogero described as lawlessness and the perception that the community on whole was not adhering to the Governor’s stay-at-home orders.
“The conventional wisdom was that Calogero was fanning the flames of anti-Lakewood sentiment after numerous incidents of Lakewood residents refusing to adhere to Murphy’s social distancing guidelines,” Wildstein wrote. “Calogero, a Trump administration appointee, will hold on to his day job as state director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture New Jersey Farm Service Agency.”
Calogero would be the second resignation in six months within the embattled Jackson GOP. In November, NJ State PBA lobbyist and Governor Corzine appointee Rob Nixon resigned from the council. Other high ranking members of the Jackson Republican Party have also been accused by the Orthodox Jewish community of anti-semitism including GOP County Committee Chairwoman Clara Glory and Jackson GOP President Todd Porter. The two were chastised by RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel for anti-Semitic postings on social media.
Calogero, who is no fan of Shore News Network once accused Shore News Network of extortion after a series of articles outlining his political corruption and pay to play activities in the township. Calogero has routinely appointed high-powered political campaign donors to six-figure public contracts since taking office. In return, Calogero was awarded with a lucrative job in the USDA NJ Farm Services Bureau through his political ties in New Jersey politics. Calogero, a New York City native, likely never stepped on a farm before becoming executive director of the farm agency. Many local farmers were upset over Calogero’s selection due to his lack of knowledge of the needs and problems facing New Jersey’s farming industry.
Calogero also announced that he is suffering from the effects of Parkinson’s disease at a recent council meeting.
The resignation of Calogero would be the latest fiasco in a year-long string of bad news for Ocean County GOP Chairman Frank Holman, who until this week, had been hiding out from the New Jersey coronavirus pandemic in Kansas. Holman recently was shunned by the national GOP party and was not selected to be a national delegate for President Donald J. Trump. Instead, the GOP chose Joanne Gilmore, the wife of Holman’s arch-nemesis, former GOP Chairman George Gilmore. Holman’s mercenaries are also now under fire in Toms River, including Greg McGuckin, who is now being accused of political corruption and extortion of a Toms River MUA director. Prior to that a Holman led coup of the Toms River Republican Club fell flat. In that failed coup, Holman allies Toms River Mayor Mo Hill, Greg McGuckin and Dara Clarke marched into stiff opposition and were defeated by rank and file Republicans.
In March, the Holman faction, who took nearly $13,000 in political donations from former Burlington County Freeholder Kate Gibbs in exchange for a political endorsement lost both the 3rd Congressional District and U.S. Senate nominations after underdogs Hirsh Singh and David Richter took the floor vote away from Holman’s establishment elitists.
The Ocean County GOP remains split into two camps these days, the ever-shrinking group Holman loyalists and party elites, anchored by NJ RNC Chairwoman Virginia Haines, 84, and those, now seemingly the majority of rank and file Republicans who oppose Holman’s regime.