Home>Highlight>ELEC fines, reprimands seven local candidates over campaign finance violations

Former Mount Laurel Councilman Richard Van Noord.

ELEC fines, reprimands seven local candidates over campaign finance violations

By Nikita Biryukov, April 07 2021 11:37 am

The New Jersey Election Law Enforcement commission fined or reprimanded seven municipal candidates over campaign finance violations in final decisions released by ELEC Wednesday.

Former Mount Laurel Councilmen Richard Van Noord and Dennis Riley, along with campaign treasurer John Francescone, face the steepest fines, having been ordered to pay $4,438.40 plus $95.04 in sheriff service fees for reporting thousands of dollars of campaign contributions years late.

The two candidates in March 2019 amended a 29-day report for 2014’s primary election to properly name a donor who gave $8,200 to their joint committee nearly five years after the fact.

They amended an 11-day report for the same race to properly name a donor who gave $5,200 roughly three-and-a-half years late. They also submitted an amended 20-day report for the 2014 primary to properly include an employer address for a donor who gave $1,200 and to correctly identify a donor who gave $2,600 more than six years after the report was filed.

The Republicans also failed to file 48-hour notices for two donations, each worth $3,900.

Francescone was reprimanded, but the commission chose not to fine him because a member of his family was seriously ill at the time.

Willingboro Councilwoman Jacqueline Jennings was fined $944.30 for a series of late reports, including $18,150 in late-reported contributions and $4,818 in expenditures that were not properly reported, among other things.

ELEC reduced the fine against Jennings from $3,541 to $944.30 due to financial hardship.

Former Newark Council candidate Shawn McCray was fined $450.20 or filing a candidate sworn statement for the city’s 2014 municipal elections nearly six-and-a-half years late.

Bergenfield Councilman Hernando Rivera Mejia was fined $300.92 for failing to file a candidate sworn statement for nearly three years. He’s paid the fine and told ELEC he spent no funds on 2018’s primary race.

ELEC ordered Frenchtown Commissioner William Sullivan to pay $500 for failing to file a candidate sworn statement in the 2018 primary until nearly two years after the fact. Sullivan was previously fined $277.84 for filing a candidate sworn statement for the primary 823 days late.

Former Chester Township Council candidate Andrew Verdiramo was reprimanded for filing a candidate sworn statement for the 2018 general election 822 days late. That penalty was reduced because Verdiramo told the commission he was experiencing financial hardship.

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