The death of an adversary does not end the battle in Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty’s demented mind.
Joy DeSanctis was a tenacious thorn in Doherty’s side prior to succumbing to pancreatic cancer last January. She was a successful plaintiff in numerous lawsuits against Doherty and the borough. DeSanctis forced referendums which prevented bonding for Doherty’s pet projects and his unlawful attempt to change the borough’s pay to play ordinance and hide the identity of donors to his ill-fated run for Monmouth County Freeholder last year. Her litigation put a stop to Doherty unlawfully raiding the borough’s beach and parking funds.
While she was alive, Doherty retaliated against DeSanctis by having a port-o-john installed in front of her home during the seafood festival.
Last week, Doherty prevented friends and family of Joy from planting a memorial tree in her honor at Silver Lake Park, the same park where Doherty allowed a friend to land a helicopter without authorization from the council or a permit from the borough. Council President Brian McGovern, who is also president of the borough’s Shade Tree Commission, had granted permission of the tree planting memorial for DeSanctis months earlier.
“You have intentionally inflicted emotional distress on myself, my children….if that makes you feel good, enjoy the moment,” Joy’s widower, Carmine said to Doherty at the Borough Council meeting (video above) on Tuesday night.
Katrina Clapsis, Joy’s friend and ally, was ejected from the council meeting and threatened with arrest on Tuesday night. In her statement prior to being ejected (video above) Clapis said, in part,
“Though this planting was in the works for 9 months and the sisters followed instructions in good faith given by the representative of the town of Belmar, Matt Doherty waited until the eleventh hour to step in. Matt will tell you he didn’t know about it, but I tell you I find that hard to believe.
Or that there are rules that must be followed. We of course know the rules do not apply to Matt Dorehty.
He didn’t get a resolution when he allowed a friend to land a helicopter on public property. When HE decided the beach would be free on labor day weekend, the resolution came AFTER. So did multiple change orders for the boardwalk project.
Were this a friend of his or another person he deemed worthy, I believe concessions would have been made. Matt might have even gotten a chance to be on television to show how magnanimous he is.
Instead Matt, in my opinion, proved what a cruel, vindictive little man he really is.”
According to Common Sense for Belmar, a permit for Joy’s tree was issued by the borough’s code enforcement officer on Wednesday. The borough’s response to OPRA requests by former Councilman Jim Bean and Common Sense for Belmar publisher David Schneck, indicate that there have been no other permits issued by the borough for tree memorials since 2011 or for the existing memorial in another borough park for another resident.