Ocean Gate Financial Auditing Firm Should Be Also Held Liable For Missing Decade of Theft by Mayor

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OCEAN GATE, NJ – Last week, it was announced that Ocean Gate Mayor Paul Kennedy was caught stealing thousands of dollars from municipal resources in a well-orchestrated scam against the people of his borough.

According to court records, Mayor Kennedy sold municipal vehicles on auctions and pocketed the money, in fact, several vehicles. He routinely stole the town’s parking meter money. Kennedy stole borough assets and sold them on the Facebook marketplace, keeping the money.

This is just what we know and what he has admitted to.

In local government, there are checks and balances involved to make sure this sort of behavior doesn’t happen, and one of the most important checks is an annual audit of municipal finances conducted by an outside auditing firm.

In this case, that firm was Holman Frenia, a pay-to-play firm headed by Ocean County GOP Chairman Frank Holman. Holman’s firm has one job and that is to make sure the town’s numbers add up and in such a small town as Ocean Gate, it should have been easy to spot the thefts.

Shore News Network reached out to Frank Holman this week to talk to him about his company’s oversight in the matter, or even possible complicity to potentially cover up the wrongdoings of a political underling.

We also submitted OPRA requests to the Borough of Ocean Gate for copies of the past ten years of municipal audits, but so far, the borough has failed to respond to the request for those documents.

Holman’s firm serves as a financial auditor for both the Borough of Ocean Gate and the Ocean Gate Board of Education. In their latest New Jersey Election Commission Pay to Play Report, the firm was paid $35,315.84 by the borough and $16,344.00 by the school district for their services.

The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office declined to comment when asked about the investigation and how an annual municipal audit failed to detect any signs of loss or wrongdoing by the mayor. The prosecutor’s office also declined to comment on other allegations being made behind the scenes against Kennedy.

The Ocean County GOP Executive Director Pat Lane also declined to comment about the political ramifications of Kennedy’s confession on local politics.

At the end of the day, what Ocean County has is what we have been saying all along, local government is legalized organized crime. The Ocean County political establishment operates like an organized crime family and Kennedy’s actions might just be the tip of the iceberg going forward.

Kennedy was suspended without pay from his job at Ocean County where he is an electrician working, according to records as a carpenter.

The Ocean County Board of Commissioners also has so far declined to comment about Kennedy’s thefts and arrest.

More promising is that the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office actually acted upon a tip from a concerned resident and made an arrest. This is not typical, as prosecutors are often political creatures, appointed by political parties who will prosecute against anyone but tread lightly in delicate political situations like this.

It is a possible signal that whistleblowers no longer need to be afraid of reporting political corruption in Ocean County for fear of losing their jobs, retribution against their families, or being strong-armed by powerful people in the county government.