TOMS RIVER, NJ – It is becoming clear today why the Ocean County GOP under the leadership of former Chairman Frank B. Holman and Ocean County Commissioner Virginia Haines feverishly deleted emails, cleared files out of the GOP headquarters, and shut down the party’s website.
They have a lot to hide.
Last week, Shore News Network was apprised of payments made at the request of New Jersey Assemblyman Gregory P. McGuckin made payments laundered through an attorney to a private investigator to spy on Toms River Councilman Justin Lamb and his newlywed wife Ashley.
Councilman Lamb described voyeuristic operation at the order of McGuckin, as “Creepy”.
Those payments totaling $8,000 were made to Kevin B. Riordan, a large check written just hours before McGuckin saw his candidate, Ocean County Sheriff Michael Mastronardy lose the GOP chairman election to George Gilmore. Riordan then laundered that money
In a recovered email released by Gilmore, McGuckin noted that the GOP was not comfortable hiring a private investigator directly and instead chose Riordan, a lawyer, to pass money from the Ocean County GOP into the account of a private investigator.
“Jerry: Frank did not want the OCGOP to retain an investigator on the opposition research issues with Ms. Lamb,” McGuckin wrote. “I spoke to Kevin Riordan, Esq and he is more than willing to assist. I confirmed with Frank [Holman] that he is ok with Kevin [Riordan]. Can you send a check payable to the ‘Law Offices of Kevin Riordan’ for $5,500 at your earliest convenience, Thanks, Greg.”
The title of the email was ‘Lamb’.
McGuckin serves as the Toms River Township attorney for which Justin Lamb, a Lavallette police officer serves as a member of the township council.
McGuckin’s spying operation against Justin Lamb commenced in April. It involved a private investigator to tail Lamb, document his activities, and to take photographs of the Toms River councilman. The surveillance sting on the councilman and his wife, a school board member lasted ten days.
Lamb said McGuckin and the GOP’s surveillance operation against him was perverse, unethical, appalling and criminal. He said he will call for the resignation of McGuckin at tonight’s township council meeting.
Art Gallagher, spokesperson for Toms River Mayor Maurice Hill said he was aware of the investigation, but did not know it targeted Lamb, who is a sitting councilman and not a candidate in the election. Gallagher said he believed the investigation centered instead around Ashley Lamb, the councilman’s wife who was challenging Commissioner Haines in the July GOP primary election.
Gilmore said he intends to sue McGuckin to return the misappropriation of GOP funds back to the account. Gilmore added that in the hours before he became chairman, the McGuckin-Haines aligned GOP made frenzied last-minute bank transactions totaling over $20,000 to nearly deplete the GOP account.
This might not be the end of this story as several allegations have been made in past months that McGuckin and others in the former GOP leadership paid thousands of dollars laundered through other legal entities in order to spy on other individuals and to harass and intimidate political opponents and reporters who wrote unfavorable coverage about McGuckin and the organization.
McGuckin is the son of former Brick Township Mayor John McGuckin, who claimed the Mafia was out to kill him during his term in office. McGuckin used that threat of mafia influence in order to launch attacks against his opponents in a similar manner that his son Greg now carries out in Ocean County to silence political detractors.