Carmen Memoli, the treasurer of a campaign account an Ocean County Superior Court judge ordered frozen Wednesday, on Friday said Toms River Councilman Mo Hill did not have a right to any of the money in the account.
Hill filed a suit against Memoli, Ocean County Republican chairman candidate Frank Sadhegi and the joint fundraising committee Hill was part of before he made his primary challenge to county-backed Toms River mayoral candidate Joseph Coronato.
“He did nothing to raise any of that money. He did not raise a finger to raise that money,” Memoli, who was treasurer of Hill’s 2015 campaign.
Sadhegi is listed as the committee’s chairman on documents submitted to the Election Law Enforcement Commission.
Councilman Dan Rodrick is also seeking the mayoral nomination.
Memoli said ELEC director of compliance Stephanie Olivo told him there were no written rules or regulations that might entitle Hill to the money.
“She said the control of the money is in the hands of the finance chairperson and the treasurer, and if anybody doesn’t like it, then they have to bring suits,” he said. “So, Mo didn’t like it, and here we are going to court.”
The councilman claims he is due $25,832.50 of the $103,330 left in the account, which named “CTRE Kelaher, Hill, Kubiel and Whitmann.”
The committee is named after Mayor Thomas Kelaher and Councilmen George Wittman, Brian Kubiel and Hill. The former three are not seeking re-election this year.
Memoli, a CPA at the accounting firm Memoli & Company, PC, said he has since disbursed most of the funds in the account to Coranato, a former Ocean County prosecutor, but had held back a portion in case Hill’s suit proved successful.
“It’s going to show up any day now on ELEC reports — three quarters of the money,” Memoli said. “I held back one quarter because I knew this was coming.”
A hearing in the case is set for May 17.
To Memoli, Hill’s attempt at the money in the joint committee’s account and his bid for the mayor’s seat of second largest town in Ocean County are a case of sour grapes over his being twice passed over by county Republicans.
“He’s been a sore sport from day one,” Memoli said. “He lost the Screening Committee 10 votes to nine, then he wanted to go before the club. He lost the club vote 43 to 35, and then he decided to run a primary after agreeing in the beginning that he would follow whatever the screening committee came up with. He’s had a sense of entitlement from day one with this.”
At the time the Ocean County GOP made its pick, George Gilmore was still the county chairman.
Since that endorsement came down in March, Hill taken aim at Gilmore, his criticism intensifying following Gilmore’s conviction on federal tax charges last month.
“It is a shame that we have to go to court to get the funds raised in my name in order to get our message out to the Toms River voters,” Hill said earlier Friday. “But that is the campaign strategy of convicted felon George Gilmore, Carmen Memoli and Frank Sadeghi who are now running the campaign account of my opponent Joe Coronato who was handpicked by Mr. Gilmore.”
On April 17, a jury decided Gilmore was guilty on two counts of failing to pay employee payroll taxes and one count of making false statements on a bank application.
It found he was not guilty on two counts of filing false tax returns and did not return a verdict on tax evasion charges.
A week after Gilmore’s conviction, Hill claimed the then-chairman had frozen the account.
Even following his conviction, many Ocean County Republicans have eschewed criticism of Gilmore, though Hill does not number not among them.
Given that, Hill’s attempt at funds raised by money under Gilmore’s watch struck Memoli as odd.
“Mo Hill’s quick leap to condemn George Gilmore — doesn’t want anything to do with him,” Memoli said. “but yet, now he wants to take the money that George helped raise.”