Tony Ghee says that Peter DeNeufville, one of his opponents in Tuesday’s GOP congressional primary, offered him an appointment to the Morris County Parks Commission in exchange for withdrawing from the race and endorsing him.
Ghee, one of five Republicans running in New Jersey’s 11th district, says he perceived the offer as a “quid pro quo” of a job in exchange for an endorsement. He said he has sent a letter to federal and state prosecutors to ask them to investigate.
The offer came during a meeting at the Versailles Diner in Fairfield on Thursday. He says that another candidate, Patrick Allocco, was present. Allocco initially declined comment, but a source close to Allocco, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed DeNeufville made the offer.
Later, Allocco issued a statement siding with DeNeufville.
“With just a few days left in this hotly contested Primary, I would never have chosen to publicize the meeting that took place at the Versailles Diner and indeed, declined an invitation to participate in a press conference. I strongly believe that there was no intended malice on the part of Peter and that he was truly exploring a path to his own victory,” Allocco said. “With that stated, I consider both men to be friends and I have no further comment on this unfortunate matter.”
Ghee alleges that DeNeufville told him he only wanted to serve two or three terms and that he could have a bright future in politics if he helps him beat Assemblyman Jay Webber, the front runner for Rodney Frelinghuysen’s House seat. Ghee says that DeNeufville told him he had internal polling that suggested that he could beat Webber if Ghee and Allocco didn’t take votes from him and said he had spoken to “people in Morris County” who could facilitate the endorsement.
“I questioned whether this conversation could be perceived as illegal and/or unethical collusion amongst candidates,” Ghee wrote in his letter to prosecutors. “Mr. DeNeufville stated that he had spoken to some of his advisers and was confident the conversation was appropriate.”
DeNeufville told the New Jersey Globe that the allegations were “preposterous.”
“It is sad that Antony Ghee is trying to resuscitate his failing and broke campaign by distorting and mischaracterizing a meeting we had to discuss the campaign,” DeNeufville said in a statement. “Being an attorney, he knows better and in fact has initiated a number of similar conversations.”Ghee letter to prosecutors 060118