BELMAR, NJ – The law firm of Dasti, Murphy & McGuckin, the recently appointed general legal counsel for the Borough of Belmar has been charged by a Toms River Township Councilman, Daniel Rodrick for violating the town’s pay to play law. Gregory P. McGuckin, a partner in the firm is accused of writing an ordinance for the township, to create a $500,000 per year public job for himself, then having the mayor and council appoint him to that job.
McGuckin donated thousands of dollars to the political campaigns of Toms River Mayor Maurice Hill and Councilmen Kevin Geoghegan, Matt Lotano and Josh Kopp. In return, Hill, Geoghegan, Kopp and Lotano appointed McGuckin to head a newly created position as the Director of Public Law in that town.
Rodrick contends that the creation of a new job, given to McGuckin with a no-bid contract violated the town’s pay to play ordinance which bars professionals from obtaining no-bid contracts who donate to political campaigns. The anti-corruption ordinance was put on the books to prevent such an incident from occurring.
It was also revealed this week that Jerry Dasti, who represents Belmar Borough at the same firm was used as a straw donor to funnel money from a Democrat political campaign donor into the account of Ocean County Surrogate Jeffery Moran in an attempt to hide the donation from the Democrat. A partner in that firm later received an appointment to the Toms River Municipal Utilities Authority.
The firm was appointed to general legal counsel after the 2018 election of Mayor Mark Waslifer. During the campaign, Walsifer’s team was accused of misreporting a campaign pay to play violation, according to the Asbury Park Press.
McGuckin, a partner in the law firm who also serves as an elected member of the New Jersey General Assembly, in March proposed a bill that would fine New Jersey residents $15,000 for violating Governor Phil Murphy’s executive orders.