Ocean Gate Mayor Paul Kennedy sold scrap metal from the borough recycling center and pocketed the money, forced Ocean County employees to do construction work at his home, and stole money that had been contributed to his re-election campaign, according to additional changes filed against him on Wednesday.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradly Billhimer added an addition three counts of official misconduct and three counts of theft.
In March, Billhimer alleged that Kennedy stole change from parking meters and sold government property and kept the money.
An investigation by the prosecutors’ office found that Kennedy set up an account with Tri State Recycling for Ocean Gate to deliver scrap metal, but the mayor was paid in cash.
“A review of the receipts kept at Tri State Recycling confirmed Paul Kennedy collected approximately $1,162.00 in cash from Tri State Recycling and kept this money for his own personal use,” prosecutors said in the complaint.
Kennedy allegedly collected $19,351 for a campaign account he controlled for himself and running mates and then took most of the money.
“Several checks intended as campaign donations totaling $19,351.00 were deposited into this account,” the complaint claimed. “ Paul Kennedy then withdrew the funds through ATM withdrawals and transfers to his own personal account totaling $17,326.84 and used the funds for his own personal use.”
Ocean County suspended Kennedy from his full-time job at the Ocean County Buildings and Grounds Department following his arrest in March, but the new charges against him detail a direct connection between county government and the corruption allegations against him.
Prosecutors say their investigation revealed that he directed county employees to perform construction work at his Ocean Gate home while they were being paid by the county.
According to prosecutors, several county employees provided taped statements saying that they performed construction work at Kennedy’s home.
“During these interviews the county employees advised that they were told to complete this construction work while working for, and being paid by the County of Ocean,” the compliant said. “An independent witness was interviewed and provided photographs of the county workers performing construction work at Paul and Lynda’s residence which was consistent with the taped statements of the county employees.”
It’s unclear whether the charges against Kennedy have any relation to an FBI criminal investigation into hiring practices by Ocean County government.
Kennedy is already charged with selling a 2008 Honda Pilot owned by the borough in a 2017 auction on a website called GovDeals.com. and then depositing a $6,021 check into his personal account. Kennedy is accused of having the check mailed to his own post office box. He also received checks totaling $2,506 and $1,119 in 2019 for other municipal vehicles he sold.
According to the complaint, the probe revealed that the “back of the check was endorsed and deposited into a TD Bank account which was found to belong to Paul Kennedy.”
He also sold a $250 conference table owned by Ocean Gate on a Facebook Marketplace account that belonged to his wife, the former GOP municipal chair.
Kennedy is not seeking re-election this year, setting up a Republican primary between Councilwoman Laura Padham-Iaria and Robert Curtin, the vice commodore of the Ocean Gate Yacht Club.
The Asbury Park Press first reported the latest charges against Kennedy.