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Murphy vetoes SJTA minutes related to George Gilmore law firm bills

Murphy vetoes SJTA minutes related to George Gilmore law firm bills


Gov. Phil Murphy vetoed a portion of the South Jersey Transportation Authority’s April meeting minutes related to payment of bills from the law firm of George Gilmore, said Vice Chairman Jeffery April at Wednesday’s meeting.

Gilmore, 69, of Toms River, was until recently the chairman of the Ocean County Republican Party and was found guilty of financial crimes last month.

April said after the meeting that Gilmore has cut his ties with the law firm. He said the board is awaiting legal advice from the state on whether it should reconsider cutting ties with Gilmore & Monahan.

Gilmore’s attorney Kevin Marino, of Marino, Tortorella & Boyle in Chatham, Morris County, did not respond to a request for comment.

Last month, the board voted not to end its contract with the firm, and later that day the guilty verdict was announced.

Only board Chairman Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti, who is the commissioner of the state Department of Transportation, and April voted in favor of cutting ties with the firm.

Board member James “Sonny” McCullough said many members were reluctant to end the contract based only on charges.

Marino said last month he had filed motions to have Gilmore’s guilty verdicts overturned.

“To me it’s all politics,” Marino said then. “It doesn’t have anything to do with a belief that Mr. Gilmore has done anything criminal.”

Gilmore has served as Ocean County Republican chairman since 1996. Ocean has the most registered Republicans of any county in the state, election statistics show.

He was found guilty by a jury of two counts of failing to pay payroll taxes to the IRS collected from his firm’s employees and one count of making false statements when applying for an OceanFirst Bank loan in Trenton federal court.

At the same time, Gilmore was acquitted of two counts of filing false tax returns, and the jury could not reach a unanimous verdict on one count of income-tax evasion covering three years of returns, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Arguments will be in late May, and a decision on overturning the verdict should come soon after that, Marino said.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Gilmore exercised primary control over the law firm’s finances and for the tax quarters ending March 31, 2016, and June 30, 2016, the firm withheld tax payments from its employees’ checks, but Gilmore failed to pay those taxes in full to the IRS.

Gilmore also submitted a loan application to OceanFirst containing false statements, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said, to obtain refinancing of a mortgage loan for $1.5 million with a “cash out” provision for which he received $572,000.

The two counts of failing to collect, account for and pay over payroll taxes each carry a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gross gain or loss from the offense. The count of loan application fraud carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. Sentencing is scheduled for July 23.

Contact: 609-272-7219 Twitter @MichelleBPost

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Staff Writer

In my first job after college got paid to read the New York Times and summarize articles for an early online data base. First reporting job was with The Daily Record in Parsippany. I have also worked in nonprofits, and have been with The Press since 1990.

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