HAMILTON TOWNSHIP-Hamilton Township Mayor Kelly Yaede and her campaign manager, Monmouth County GOP operative Dan Scharfenberger are facing criminal charges after the pair violated New Jersey law by releasing expunged criminal information about their fellow Republican opponent David Henderson in a heated primary earlier this year.
Municipal political elections often get very dirty and very personal as campaigns try to one-up each other by defaming and slandering their opponents instead of running campaigns on winning strategies and platforms. This case highlights the levels to which local politics in New Jersey have sunk to.
The report comes from the Trentonian newspaper.
Yaede and Scharfenberger who, according to his now blocked LinkedIn profile also serves as the political director for Tom Kean for Congress. Scharfenberger is also the son of Monmouth County Freeholder Gerry Scharfenberger.
The pair attacked their opponent Henderson, who had been overly critical of Yaede’s performance as mayor and retaliated by releasing Henderson’s past criminal records which had been legally expunged.
According to the records released, Henderson violated a restraining order and faced an assault charge in 2001. The charges against Henderson were eventually dismissed and expunged.
At this point is it not yet known whether the mayor and her campaign manager have surrendered themselves to the prosecutor’s office for criminal processing.
“It’s unfortunate that the prosecutor’s office has signed on to assist a candidate in an election year,” Yaede’s attorney Robin Lord said. “Mayor Yaede has never violated any aspect of any expungement law. Her integrity is impeccable and beyond reproach.”
Yaede is running against Democrats under the slogan, “Hometown Values”.
Calls for Yaede’s resignation have poured in.
“Mayor Yaede must step down now and allow a viable Republican Candidate to run,” said Tracy Sinatra.
Her opponent, Jeff Martin echoed the calls for Yaede’s resignation.
“Yesterday was another sad chapter for Hamilton’s families — one in a long book of sad chapters under Mayor Kelly Yaede’s stewardship. Mayor Yaede, the chief executive of Hamilton Township, was charged by the county prosecutor with actions that can only be described as unacceptable and shocking abuses of power,” Martin and his team said in a prepared statement. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Kelly Yaede has embarrassed the township with her official actions. She and her associates consistently use bullying tactics against people who speak out against her administration. The Trentonian has previously reported that four people have accused Yaede and her administration of harassment. When the town’s CFO questioned Yaede’s travel expenses, she suspended him and asked her brother-in-law to approve the reimbursement instead. Earlier this year, the prosecutor charged two of her close associates with criminal offenses. And just yesterday, a member of the Hamilton police department told the press that she is a ‘corrupt’ mayor who needed to be criminally charged.”
“Enough is enough. Enough of the drama. Enough of the corruption. Enough of the abuses of power. It’s time for Mayor Yaede to finally accept responsibility for her actions. It’s time for Mayor Yaede to take her own advice that she gave to Mayor Bencivengo when he was criminally charged and, at the very least, take a leave of absence pending the result of the criminal charge filed against her,” Martin added. “If she cannot accept responsibility, Hamilton residents must come together this November and use their power to close the book on this mayor.”