Middletown Library Director and Democratic Committee Candidate Worked Together To Undermine Oversight, Raise Funds For Democratic Campaign

State Senator Barbara Buono and Linda Baum, Democratic candidate for Middletown Township Committee, 8/25/12 facebook photo

State Senator Barbara Buono and Linda Baum, Democratic candidate for Middletown Township Committee, 8/25/12 facebook photo

Middletown Library Director Susan O’Neal submitted incomplete and haphazardly organized emails between herself and Linda Baum, a past and present Democratic candidate for Middletown Township Committee, in response to Judge Lawrence M. Lawson’s ruling last week that the emails are government documents subject to the New Jersey Open Public Records Act.

MMM received the 298 pages of emails which include numerous duplicates, many truncated pages that cannot be fully read and omit relevant attachments, late this morning from Middletown Township via OPRA request.  The emails can be viewed via Scribd at the end of this post.

The emails reveal a ongoing endeavor between O’Neal and Baum to undermine the oversight of the library by its Board of Trustees and the Township Committee.  Additionally, Baum and O’Neal planned to use the library to forward the political objectives, including political fundraising, of Baum and the Middletown Democrats.  Middletown Democratic Chairman Don Watson was copied on several of the emails.

In his ruling dated July 1 denying Baum’s motion to thwart the release of the emails requested by Middletown Clerk Heidi Brunt on behalf of Township Committeeman and Library Trustee Tony Fiore, Lawson wrote that Baum argued the emails have “absolutely nothing to do with the official business of the library” and do not relate to public operations.

Lawson wrote that “Baum argues that she has no relationship with the Library, nor is she an agent of the library in any respect.”

The emails reveal otherwise.

Baum, an insurance professional who administered the New Jersey Workers Compensation Insurance Security Fund from 2003 through 2010, according to her campaign website, solicited Worker Comp Insurance quotes for New Jersey insurers on behalf of the library.  She received a quote from New Jersey Manufactures Insurance Company.

In addition to performing analysis of the Township’s and Library’s insurance losses/claims, Baum analyzed union contracts of the Township, the sewerage authority and the library and shared that analysis with O’Neal.

Baum and O’Neal exchanged information regarding the construction costs of the library and the Middletown Library Foundation’s (a separate entity) contributions to the costs.

They consulted with former Library President Randall Gabrielan, after he resigned the post under pressure for financial impropriety, regarding library operations and discussed withholding information from the library’s Board of Trustees.

O’Neal and Baum planned questions and rehearsed O’Neal’s answers to those questions at public meetings.

Fiore said his review of the emails confirmed the suspicions he had that lead him to make the OPRA request; 1) that O’Neal was sharing information about library operations with Baum prior to informing the Board of Trustees, and 2) O’Neal was creating “political theatre” and manipulating the Democrats.

Baum and other Democrats were vocal opponents to the recent closure of library branches.  In several emails, O’Neal bemoans the branch closures and the spending of monies that could have been used to prevent the closures.  Fiore said that the branch closing were O’Neal’s idea as a budget cutting measure and that she worked hard to convince him and others that the closings were appropriate, while at the same time instigating Democratic opposition to the closures.


ONeal Documents 1 by Art Gallagher

Posted: July 8th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 2013 Election, Middletown, Middletown Democrats, Middletown Library, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Court | Tags: , , , , , , , | 27 Comments »

27 Comments on “Middletown Library Director and Democratic Committee Candidate Worked Together To Undermine Oversight, Raise Funds For Democratic Campaign”

  1. Frank Rizzo said at 3:27 pm on July 8th, 2013:

    Did anyone call Linda at the phone number listed in those emails, 732-500-8615 , for her side of the story?

  2. Rita Lupita said at 3:56 pm on July 8th, 2013:

    The emails appear to say it all.
    This is very, VERY disturbing.

  3. TheDigger said at 4:04 pm on July 8th, 2013:

    Very interesting about WC – Ms. Baum previously had worked for the NJ Compensating Rating Bureau as a public employee…hmmmm

    I wonder where she works now and why she was involved in obtaining WC quotes for the Library? Was she trying to make some money for herself????

  4. So, this proves said at 4:16 pm on July 8th, 2013:

    That Linda Baum is a liar, having said “they had nothing to do with the official business of the library.”


  5. Give me a break said at 4:28 pm on July 8th, 2013:

    The Middletown Democrats have produced some vile, dishonest, loathesome candidates, but they pale in comparison to this loon. As bad as Ms. Baum is, it is Susan O ‘Neal who bothers me most. This woman is a township employee who should be working for the taxpayers, not the local democrat party. All these years she has been running wild and running the library into the ground. I take my hat off to Mr. Fiore and the rest of the council for putting a stop to the frat party that was the library. All of the turmoil from the library these past few years is apparently the result of the town putting a stop to the anarchy that has reigned with our tax dollars. As a taxpayer, I demand the library director’s immediate dismissal and a full investigation into Ms. Baum’s possible illegal actions.

  6. This says loads said at 4:33 pm on July 8th, 2013:

    about the kind of people Buono slithers up to, but then again they are both far left lib loons.

    BTW, I see that Corslime got off today as far as any criminal actions against him.


  7. TheDigger said at 4:35 pm on July 8th, 2013:

    Who authorized Ms. Baum to obtain WC quotations for the Middletown Township Library?

    Did she misrepresent herself as an Insurance “Broker of Record” or “Agent of Record”? Did Ms. O’Neal, as Library Director authorize Ms. Baum to do this? More importantly, did the Library Board authorize this activity?

    How does any Insurance Company respond to a request for a quote by one who has no legal authority to request?

    Has anyone referred this to the State Banking and Insurance Department?

  8. TheDigger said at 4:38 pm on July 8th, 2013:

    Does anyone have the litigation papers relative to what Ms. Baum claimed in them?

    Based upon these emails, Ms. Baum was intimately involved in obtaining, or attempting to obtain insurance quotations for the Library.

    Did she lie to the Court?

  9. The Truth said at 4:56 pm on July 8th, 2013:

    I think that it’s clearly time for Ms. Baum to step aside, having misled the Court, press, and people of Middletown about the content.

    Please step aside now for the good of Middletown. You lack the integrity to serve.

  10. TheDigger said at 5:26 pm on July 8th, 2013:

    The most ineresting of the documents is found at http://www.scribd.com/doc/152479428/ONeal-Documents-2

    This is where the Library Director seems to be coordinating a democrat attack on the TC. See 2/14/2013 email from O’Neal to Baum; coordinating a specific question to be asked (and answered) at a Library Board meeting; see email from Baum to O’Neal and O’Neal response 12/19/2013; O’Neal requesting on 4/3/2013 that Baum provide an email list or mail list of democrats in Middletown; a 4/1/2013 email from O’Neal to Baum asking her to follow up on Township costs involved with renovating the former Bayshore branch.

    Was the Library Director, while using her “personal email” also using a Library computer or the Library’s internet during working hours? Ths needs to be answered.

  11. Bayshore Tom said at 6:56 pm on July 8th, 2013:

    Art, anything more about Watson? The man’s prior criminal history alone should disqualify him from being Chairman. Say what you will about Caliendro: at least he never got caught.

  12. Barf said at 11:13 pm on July 8th, 2013:

    Liar, Liar, skirt on fire….

  13. File charges said at 11:27 pm on July 8th, 2013:

    in October.

    Let’s see – if she wasn’t legally authorized to obtain an insurance quotation for the Library, report this as mentioned above to the State Insurance Department.

    And, if she lied in her court filing, Brian Nelson should bring that to the attention of the Court and let the Judge deal with this.

    If charges are brought earlier than October, she could withdraw her candidacy and the dems could nominate another. Let them sink with her. They deserve it.

  14. @Barf said at 8:02 am on July 9th, 2013:

    Actually, both Baum and Buono are wearing the “Hillary Clinton Pants Suit Collection” in the photo above 🙂


    Silence Dogood, Redux

  15. Linda Baum said at 9:57 am on July 9th, 2013:

    Not a quote, an estimate. The latter is non-binding. The email from NJM specifically states “for illustrative purposes only” and that they are not able to offer a quote. I was clear I was just looking for a ballpark estimate and was accommodated. No confidential info was provided to or received from the insurance carrier, and that was made clear to Mr. Fiore last fall when he was sitting in for the mayor’s appointee at a library board meeting. Anyone could have taken the initiative to obtain the estimate, including any member of the board. The estimate demonstrates the significant overcharge in the Twp chargeback to the library for workers comp coverage. The loss experience, by the way, was provided by the Township.

  16. Art Gallagher said at 10:41 am on July 9th, 2013:

    Welcome back, Linda.

    Thank you for that clarification.

    Would you care to clarify the apparent inconsistency between Judge Lawson’s order where he wrote that you said the emails had nothing to do with Library operations and the actual emails that are clearly about Library operations?

  17. Me Thinks said at 10:47 am on July 9th, 2013:

    Linda Baum is jumping into a hole here she will never be able to dig herself out of.


    Silence Dogood, Redux

  18. Honesty counts said at 10:51 am on July 9th, 2013:

    @ Linda Baum

    Isn’t looking for insurance quotations or estimates being involved in the “business” of the Library? How do you square that with what you submitted to the Judge?

    Since you had NO legal standing or authority to request such a quote or estimate, how did you obtain this “accommodation” from NJM?

    Or did Susan O’Neal authorize you to seek insurance estimates? Did the Library Board authorize you to do this?

    If every citizen went around seeking these types of estimates, the insurance companies would doing nothing but wasting their time.

  19. The Truth said at 11:42 am on July 9th, 2013:

    @ Ms. Baum:

    Can you comment on the lies told to the court and the people, that these were private communications unrelated to library business? If that is something your attorney came up with, just let us know.

    Your integrity is on the line.

  20. TonyFiore said at 4:04 pm on July 9th, 2013:

    I remember asking who authorized you to get a quote because you stated you had quotes. In any event, how can you say this is an overcharge if it was just an illustration and not an official quote? Which is it Linda? Your emails suggest that it was a quote because in an email from the Director to another member of the public she tells her that she had quotes that were cheaper than we are charging. You also try to hide this from going public in another email.

    You also fail to mention that on two occasions last year I offered to have no more charge backs and to drop the library from every Township sponsored benefit program so they could go out on their own. The Director and members of the board begged to not have the Township drop them because they know that just in the health insurance alone the library costs would increase by at least 30% in a fully insured plan vs the Township’s self insured plan. The reality is the library is getting a better deal working with the Township. The new reality is the library is paying their proportionate share of the cost. It seems that you oppose the library paying their fare share of the cost.

    The sad reality is that you and a few others were trying to make political hay about the Township exercising fiscal oversight to the library’s operations. I along with the entire TC want to see the library succeed. However, we are not going to sit back and watch them run a $4.2m budget when they don’t have $4.2m to spend. Maybe that works in your tax and spend liberal world but it doesn’t work in mine.

  21. TheDigger said at 5:39 pm on July 9th, 2013:

    Has anyone on the Library Board ever done an honest analysis of the benefits and negatives if the Middletown Township Public Library were to become part of the Monmouth County Library system?

    It could mean more efficient operations through economy of scale and might even save enough money to keep branches open.

    I don’t think anyone wants to see the main New Monmouth Library disappear; it is a very useful and important asset to Middletown and its citizens.

    But the question that must arise out of the obvious hidden and devious attempts to coordinate political activity between the Library Director, Susan O’Neal and the Democrat Party candidate, Linda Baum, through emails (many of which were also sent to Don Watson, the current Middletown Democrat Chairperson) is whether or not Ms. O’Neal has now lost the trust of the Library Board to operate in a transparent and open fashion in the best interests of the Library.

    I would urge the Library Board to immediately review all options to ensure that the Library is run in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible and to have an open and honest analysis performed to see what is the best course to maintain the Public Library. If merging with the Monmouth County Library system provides the best course, then I have no problem going that way.

    Any analysis must be done in a responsible, open, honest and transparent fashion that would allow all sides to agree on the best solution.

  22. I Guess said at 5:49 pm on July 9th, 2013:

    Linda Baum can’t answer your question Art because she knows the answer would implicate her further, or maybe her tongue is tied up in knots obfuscating.

    Typical Democrat, they refuse to answer the hard questions


  23. Bayshore Tom said at 11:21 pm on July 9th, 2013:

    And what about Watson? Based on his history, you can’t blame him if he has short term memory loss.

  24. MoreMonmouthMusings » Blog Archive » Fire The Asbury Park Editorial Board said at 9:59 am on July 10th, 2013:

    […] Nudniks’ editorial today about the controversy surrounding the emails exchanged between Middletown Library Director Susan O’Neal and Democratic candidate for Middletown […]

  25. A Smashing Celebration in Morristown | NJ News Commons said at 11:54 pm on July 10th, 2013:

    […] showing collusion between a Middletown Library director and a Democratic committee candidate to undermine the oversight of the library by its board and the committee. The Democratic candidate responds briefly in the […]

  26. lonnie hunter said at 5:53 pm on July 17th, 2013:

    You people are insane. The two-bit mayor tries a money grab of 1.2 million from the library and then blames the library of malfeasance and mismanagement. Boy, you clowns take the cake. Hey Tony, where’s our parking lot that you promised us from the money you stole from the library? Where’s our solar panels too? You like to make promises that you don’t keep. You also like to steal from township entities and them blame them for mismanagement without one iota of proof. Talk about political “theater”, eh? I’m still waiting for the emails between you and the headmaster of Trinity Hall.

  27. MoreMonmouthMusings » Blog Archive » Middletown Library Will Consider Part Time Executive Director said at 10:04 pm on September 19th, 2013:

    […] continued employment became untenable when her emails with Linda Baum, a Democratic candidate for Township Committee revealed that she was colluding with the Middletown […]