The mayor of a small Ocean County municipality has been charged with selling town property and pocketing the proceeds.
Ocean Gate Mayor Paul J. Kennedy sold assets owned by the borough on a government auction website called GovDeals.com and that used the proceeds for his own benefit, according to Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer.
Billhimer also alleges that Kennedy, a 66-year-old Republican, didn’t deposit parking meter funds into Ocean Gate’s bank account, and that he sold office furniture from borough on Facebook and kept the money.
Kennedy faces charges of official misconduct and theft.
The allegations against Kennedy come 17 days before the filing deadline for the June primary. Kennedy is up for re-election this year. He has held public office for more than 20 years.
This is not the first time Kennedy, a longtime ally of former Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore, faced claims that he violated state law.
The New Jersey Local Finance Board fined him in 2014 for accepting about $50,000 in side-jobs with the Borough of Ocean Gate while he was serving as mayor.
Kennedy apparently hired himself as acting administrator, human resources director, insurance administrator and disabilities coordinator.
At the same time, Kennedy had a full-time job as a carpenter for Ocean County.
The scandal nearly cost Kennedy his mayoral post. In the general election that fall, Democrat Chris A. Theodos came within 52 votes of ousting Kennedy.
A state appellate court mostly sided with Kennedy in his appeal.
The Ocean County Sheriff’s Department processed Kennedy today and released him pending a future court appearance.
Ocean Gate has 1,932 residents is situated between Toms River and Berkeley Township.