Editorial: Patch Reporter Karen Wall Not Fit to Moderate Toms River Mayoral Debate

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TOMS RIVER-Karen Wall, a reporter for the former AOL-owned Patch, a network of hyper-local community news and blog sites will be moderating a debate between Jonathan Petro and Maurice Hill on Thursday, October 24th.

Questions remain surrounding Wall’s involvement in Toms River political circles and whether or not she is a neutral ‘observer’ or in the bag for Maurice Hill’s political campaign.

Wall’s Patch recently began taking advertisements from Maurice “Mo” Hill for Mayor. Days later, Wall began launching political attacks on behalf of Hill’s campaign.  Wall attempted to harm the reputation of Shore News Network over bogus claims made by Maurice Hill, his ex-con Media Marketing Manager Art Gallagher and Hill campaign donor Jeremy Grunin, both of whom have financial stakes in Hill’s political campaign.

Wall conducted an interview with Shore News Network, which we obliged in full truth and disclosure, but unfortunately, she used only the best bits and pieces to reinforce her story in defense of her client, Maurice Hill.

When asked why she began attacking Shore News Network, just days after receiving money from Hill’s campaign, Wall said, “I have no idea. That’s handled by a separate department and they don’t discuss with us except to ask for contact information for the campaigns.”

Wall lied about her relationship with Hill, because she had been in contact already with Hill.

Karen Wall reached out to Shore News Network about some very odd questions regarding Hill’s campaign and the arrest of Toms River Philanthropist, Jeremy Grunin, who donated $2,600 to Hill’s campaign.  Grunin’s wife Laura also donated $2,600 to Hill.

Gallagher, through June had been paid over $50,000 by Hill.

But, hours earlier when asked what her sudden interest in Hill and Grunin was, Wall said, “You mean Mo? Yep. I called him to ask him why you were crucifying him.”

Wall referred to Shore News Network’s investigative reporting of her client, Hill.

In that interview we did with Wall, we told her about attacks made by Hill’s campaign, showing her proof of forged checks, communications by Hill’s campaign media manager, asking for favors in attacking Orthodox Jews in Jackson to prop up Hill that he is not “bought and sold by the Orthodox Jewish community” as many have speculated.     She omitted that from her story.

“We are not ‘attacking’ Mo Hill,” we told Wall. “We are simply reporting on Hill’s follies during his campaign, his connection to people who threatened to sue the township over zoning laws and his financial connections to developers with interests in turning Downtown Toms River and the Ciba-Geigy tract into huge cities.”

During our own investigation, we heard from numerous sources within township government that said a deal had been made between Hill and Wall, that should he win the election, Wall would be given a job within the township as a confidential aide to the council to replace a recently fired employee who was not in support of Hill’s campaign for mayor.

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Wall declined to comment on those allegations.

It is my belief that Karen Wall is being paid by the Mo Hill Campaign through advertisements to her company to run interference for Hill in order to secure herself a public job in the event that Mo Hill wins his election.  The story written by Wall was nothing short of libel and slander against a competitor for the sake of advancing her own political and financial agenda.

We learned from several other elected officials in Ocean County and even some of Hill’s former opponents, that this is not the first time Wall vigorously defended Hill with her platform.  We will not publish those names as some now hold public office and would be at the mercy of a future Wall piece to demean them and/or ignore their facts.

Although we fully cooperated with Wall’s hostile inquiries, she has refused to answer our questions.

“The timing of the Mo Hill Advertising is suspect that it would appear that based on your line of questioning you are trying to intimidate this reporter to back off covering Maurice Hill’s campaign,” we asked Wall.  Wall did not reply.

We also asked Wall why she has refused to cover factual stories regarding Hill’s campaign that have been covered by SNN and other news outlets regarding political donations, downtown redevelopment, Ciba-Geigy, etc.”  Wall did not reply.

“Why is it that after you were given a copy of a forged check, given to SNN by Hill’s campaign media manager did you leave that out of your story?”  we asked Wall.

Wall declined to comment.

Karen Wall is not fit to moderate a political debate between two candidates when she has proven that she is not a neutral observer in this campaign.


-Phil Stilton, Editor Shore News Network.