TOMS RIVER, NJ – Toms River Mayor Maurice “Mo” Hill brought 48 of his friends to an impromptu meeting of the Toms River Republican Club on Thursday and tried to stuff the ballot box with new names in order to take over the local party. Hill, who is not a member of the club himself tried to rejoin the club along with non-members Matt Lotano, Josh Kopp, and Kevin Geoghegan but were unsuccessful.
Geoghegan and Hil both resigned from the Republican Clun in 2019 after the club failed to endorse them for office in the 2019 Republican Primary. Kopp and Lotano, according to club executives were never members of the club. The group, who won their election in 2019 with the overwhelming support of the Orthodox Jewish bloc vote brought applications for 48 new members, most of whom were not in attendance.
Club President Gerri Ambrosio said Toms River Township Director of Law Gregory P. McGuckin and Hill’s allies in the party violated the club’s bylaws by scheduling a meeting without notifying the two hundred plus members of the club of the date and time of the meeting. McGuckin also failed to follow club bylaws by submitting his “friends list” to the club’s executive board and not going through the club’s membership committee for review.
McGuckin stood up before the club and said, “I have 48 new members who are willing to pay dues, why would we not allow that?”
Then, an angry Marica Maruca defied the club president and read all 48 names out loud offered by McGuckin and Hill, but the meeting was adjourned as she was reading the names and a thunderous round of applause echoed through the room.
“We can’t have a meeting tonight, there was no proper notice,” a club executive said. “There was no proper notice.”
At that point, Ambrosio said she had members angry who did not know about the meeting and people texting her that they showed up at the wrong place after a venue change was made at the last minute.
A motion to adjourn McGuckin’s illegal meeting was made and the meeting was closed. Once again the crowd erupted in cheer after McGuckin and Hill’s attempt to take over the Republican club was once again flatly rejected by the members.
Outnumbered once again and outgunned by longtime club members, the power move by McGuckin and Hill failed once again. Earlier this year, McGuckin and Hill demanded the resignation of the club’s leadership team, who rebuked that call.
McGuckin argued that new members are needed in the club and that he brought members, who would bring financial contributions to the club. Many of those who McGuckin brought in his friends list are campaign supporters of the Mo Hill mayoral campaign.
McGuckin once again left the meeting empty-handed, failing a second time to force himself upon the Toms River Republican Club. McGuckin, who is used to getting his way with Hill, Kopp, Geoghegan, Lotano, and Maruca in town hall left the meeting red-faced and angry after not getting his way with the party.
Lotano, Kopp, Geoghegan, and Hill said they will not return to the Republican party until Ambrosio is gone, but submitted applications to re-join last night after being absent for nearly a year and a half.
“Why should people who have been doing this for decades leave?” Ambrosio asked McGuckin, Maruca, and Al Manforti who led the charge at the meeting. Manforti, McGuckin and Maruca want the club leadership to step down voluntarily so they can appoint their own leadership team.
In the end, McGuckin, Maruca, Manforti, Kopp, Lotano, Geoghegan, and Hill went home empty-handed. Geoghegan stormed out of the room and went home as Hill wandered the floor walking silently and aimlessly in a circle.
Now, the Hill gang will go back and regroup. To counter the 48 friends Hill and McGuckin tried to force upon the club, Ambrosio presented a list of 60 members who had filed to join the club to help the party keep McGuckin and Hill out. If you wish to help the Toms River Republican Club fight off the latest attack from Mayor Mo Hill, you can email ‘TRGOP@comcast.net’ or visit the club’s Facebook page here.