HOWELL TOWNSHIP, NJ – Joseph DiBella, a former Howell Township councilman and chairman of the Howell Township Republican Club spoke out today about the 2016 driving while intoxicated arrest of currently sitting Republican Councilwoman Pamela Richmond. A Howell Township newspaper this week reported Richmond’s arrest which has been unspoken of by township Republicans since it happened. Republicans and DiBella are claiming the newspaper as “Fake News” published by Democrats. The newspaper (See screenshot below) featured stories about community happenings on topics ranging from the new Lidl supermarket to the Howell Food Pantry, but DiBella took issue with one article regarding the Republican Councilwoman’s arrest in 2016.
“What is most disturbing…is that the [newspaper] chose to personally attack in the most mean spirited and vicious way, our current councilperson, Pamela Richmond,” DiBella said. “They recall an incident of four years ago…when she was involved in a DUI incident. I know Pam personally…I know her family. She’s deeply disturbed and disappointed in what happened. It was a mistake. But it was four years ago and Pam’s not running this year.”
DiBella said the news story was malicious and mean spirited, aimed only at humiliating and embarrassing DiBella over her driving while intoxicated arrest.
The story in the newspaper, “Howell Tribune” claims Howell Township officials tried to cover up Richmond’s drunk driving records prior to the 2018 township council election.
“QUESTIONS ARE BEING ASKED about why the complete records of Howell Councilwoman Pamela Richmond’s DWI arrest were not released despite repeated requests to the Township’s custodian of records. Under the state Open Public Records Act, requested records should be turned over in 7 business days. But in the case of Richmond’s DWI arrest, Howell Township has refused to release the records required by NJ state law,” the newspaper claimed.
Instead, those records came just days before the 2018 election, according to township records. A picture of Richmond was used from a YouTube video channel, but she has since removed those videos where the subject matter often included hard liquor products. The video image used in the newspaper was from a video shot just days before her arrest where she’s seen holding a bottle of Jack Daniels.
“She was charged with both DWI and reckless driving. She pled guilty to reckless driving, and her license was suspended for 45 days. In New Jersey, the minimum penalty for driving while intoxicated is a 3-7 month license suspension, depending on the blood alcohol level at the time of the arrest,” the newspaper reported.
The incident was covered by the Asbury Park Press on November 1, 2018 in a story entitled, “Is Howell Hiding Candidate’s DWI Record?”
According to the Asbury Park Press, Township Clerk Penny Wollman askedfor a $300 special service charge to offset the cost for the time a police captain to conduct a records search and redact personal information, an attempt township watchdogs said was an effort to delay the release of those records.
The newspaper was delivered to homes across Howell Township this week.