TOMS RIVER, NJ – Toms River Councilman Dan Rodrick called for an investigation into a possible corruption scandal involving 10th Legislative District Assemblyman Gregory P. McGuckin. McGuckin, has become a power broker in Ocean County politics since the departure of former GOP Chairman George Gilmore. According to his 2019 financial disclosure, McGuckin and his firm now holds 45 public municipal job appointments and his law firm recently picked up new contracts in Jackson, Manchester and Lacey – increasing his firm’s annual income to over an estimated $2 MILLION in just the past few months.
According to Rodrick, McGuckin may have been using tactics considered extortion under the law to gain control of the Toms River Municipal Utilities Authority. The MUA is an independent sewer authority whose board of commissioners are appointed by the Toms River council, but hiring decisions and contract negotiations are handled by the executive director.
According to the Asbury Park Press, Assemblyman McGuckin took one of the Toms River MUA Commoner’s out to breakfast on February 5th to speak to him about the commissioner’s health benefits package, and to ask him not to appoint a new Executive Director until he got word from the Assemblyman.
“The Assemblyman is not the township attorney and does not hold local office, so he has no legal authority to discuss who the MUA should hire, and given that the Assemblyman also discussed the commissioner’s health benefits package at that same meeting, I can’t help but wonder if the Assemblyman was pressuring – or even threatening the commissioners to gain control of the MUA” Rodrick said.
Former Republican Club President Robert DiBiase has served as the executive director of the MUA since 2018, but is widely expected to be retiring soon. Prior to that, the post was held by the former Republican Mayor of Brick, Stephen C. Acropolis. It doesn’t appear that DiBiase will cave into the will of the Hill-McGuckin political threats any time soon, which is why they both want DiBiase out of the picture, so McGuckin’s firm can be hired by their handpicked successor to replace DiBiase.
“I want to know why Assemblyman McGuckin is so interested in who is being hired to direct the MUA? Could it be because the MUA is a contract rich authority with millions in work every year?” Rodrick asked.
The Toms River MUA doles out millions in public contracts and legal work. It also has a huge workforce, employing numerous members of Ocean County’s political elite and their families. With such a large payroll and millions in public contracts, having influence over its executive director would increase McGuckin’s power base, and so would holding hostage the MUA’s Commoner’s Health Benefits. The health benefits business is a big business for the McGuckin-Hill syndicate, which enriches former GOP Chairman Joseph Buckalew’s firm, Connor Strong, Buckelew and Norcross. Yes, Norcross, the South Jersey Democrat power broker whose firm is already under its own political corruption investigation by the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey and Governor Phil Murphy.
In a recent Asbury Park Press interview, Assemblyman McGuckin did not deny his meeting or discussion with an MUA commissioner, but instead tried to turn it around on Councilman Rodrick, accusing him of leaking secrete information. Was outing potential corruption and extortion a leak, or is Councilman Rodrick a whistleblower? That’s something the residents of Toms River are going to have to decide. As McGuckin eluded in the Asbury Park Press story, Rodrick isn’t playing according to McGuckin’s Game of Thrones, which now makes him public enemy number one with the political elites of Toms River and Ocean County, and possibly even a target on his head, because we’re talking about tens of millions of dollars on the line in this legalized public mafia, headed by Assemblyman Gregory P. McGuckin.
Also last week, former Toms River Schools Superintendent Michael Ritacco was released from prison for his public bribery and corruption scandal. That scandal also involved a politically connected public health benefits company and a Toms River Mayor who was trying to push his weight around town hall. Both ended up in federal prison. The bribery scheme here is clear. McGuckin puts pressure on the MUA commissioners to hire his guy to replace DiBiase. In return, McGuckin will allow the board to continue taking a Cadillac public health benefits package that costs ratepayers $40,000 per year and the commissioners give McGuckin another six-figure public contract. If that’s not cut and dry enough for the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, FBI or Attorney General, then what is?
At the last township council meeting in April, Rodrick said he is going to file ethics charges against McGuckin and Hill with the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs regarding the incident with McGuckin and the Toms River MUA.
McGuckin sought to fine New Jersey residents $15,000 for violating Murphy’s Law.
A law in Trenton is being pushed through that would fine New Jersey residents up to $15,000 for violating Governor Phil Murphy’s executive orders and it’s not the Democrats who are pushing to increase the penalties, it’s your local Republican officials here at the Jersey Shore that are calling for it.
It was sponsored by Toms River Township Republican Assemblyman Gregory P. McGuckin and his partner in crime, John Catalano. Also signing on were Assemblymen Eric Houghtaling, Joan Downey, Sean Kean, Sam Thompson and Diane Gove.
Infractions that have transpired in Ocean County would be severely penalized and while the bill’s creators are seemingly trying to legislate violations in Lakewood Township, those fines would also be applied to the woman who was charged for taking pictures in Seaside Park or the guy playing guitar in a lifeguard stand at the beach.
Currently, violations of Murphy’s Law constitutes a disorderly persons offense carrying a potential sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000.
The Republicans at the Jersey Shore are now lining up behind Governor Phil Murphy and his unconstitutional series of laws that turn everyday citizens into criminals, as he released thousands of actual criminals into the streets of New Jersey.
In essence, many petty crimes will have less stiff penalties than a dad taking his little girl to the park to play catch on a warm spring day.
This is the new normal of New Jersey.
This bill would establish a monetary penalty, of not less than $5,000 and not more than $15,000, for any person who willfully or knowingly violates any provision of the “Emergency Health Powers Act,” P.L.2005, c.222 (C.26:13-1 et seq.), or any order issued pursuant to the act, that relates to a social mitigation strategy barring all indoor or outdoor social gatherings or, if still permitted, hosts or participates in any indoor or outdoor social gathering with a number of people that exceeds the number permitted to gather, which provision or order is intended to prevent the transmission or spread of an infectious disease, biological agent, toxic chemical from a chemical weapon, radioactive material from a nuclear or radiological device, or overlap agent or toxin, during a public health emergency declared by the Governor under the act. The penalty would be sued for and collected by the Commissioner of Health, along with all costs associated with the commissioner’s enforcement action, in a summary proceeding before the Superior Court or municipal court with territorial jurisdiction over the action pursuant to the “Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999,” P.L.1999, c.274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.).