Morris County Freeholder Thomas Mastrangelo scored another win today – his second in two months – when Superior Court Judge William McGovern ordered pre-litigation discovery in a lawsuit seeking to identify a mystery political consultant.
Alan Zakin, an attorney for Mastrangelo, filed a lawsuit in May against freeholder candidates Donald Dinsmore, William Felegi and Catherine Winterfeld seeking to identify how $42,000 in campaign funds was spent. Mastrangelo contends that an attack mailing that hit an estimated 10,000 Morris County homes includes a disclaimer that it was paid for by an individual who does not exist.
Also named in the suit was Checkmate Action Group, a shadowy political consulting firm that operates out of a mail forwarding facility in Sheridan, Wyoming. Wyoming law does not require corporate filings to include the names of anyone but a business agent.
Dinsmore declined to identify the name of his consultant. Checkmate Action Group was listed on ELEC reports filed by Dinsmore, Felegi and Winterfield in their unsuccessful bids for freeholder.
The New Jersey Globe identified the consultant as King Penna last month.
McGovern’s ruling will require Dinsmore and his running mates to release certain documents related to their campaign, something that could shine some light as to the validity of Mastrangelo’s allegations.
Mastrangelo and is running mates, incumbents Douglas Cabana and Kathy DeFilippo, defeated Dinsmore, Felegi and Winterfield by a 2-1 margin in the June 4 Republican primary.