Curley Accused of Official Misconduct, Corruption

By Art Gallagher

Freeholder John P. Curley

The FBI and the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office have conducted at least five interviews into the conduct of Freeholder John P. Curley and former Monmouth County Counsel Timothy B. Middleton, Esq., according to former Assemblyman Michael Panter, in his capacity as in-house legal counsel of Realty Data Systems, LLC (RDS), a company that performs property inspections for many municipalities participating in the New Jersey Assessment Demonstration Program (ADP).

Panter disclosed the law enforcement investigation into Curley and Middleton in a detailed nine page letter to Monmouth County Freeholder Director Tom Arnone, Monmouth County Counsel Michael Fitzgerald, and County Administrator Teri O’Connell, with copies to the Prosecutor’s Office and the FBI, wherein the former legislator alleges that Middleton was the author of the anonymous letter which alleged corruption in the ADP, that Curley referred, with great fanfare and press coverage, to the Prosecutor in September of 2015, during the height of his last reelection campaign.

Panter, on behalf of RDS, alleges that Curley knew that Middleton was the author of the ‘anonymous’ letter and that they conspired to cause a law enforcement investigation into the ADP, RDS and its professionals, and Tax Board employees, and others, for the benefit of Middleton’s tax appeal business.

Middleton earned over $1 million in property tax appeals in Monmouth County from 2011-2015, according to the letter; business that would surely decline if ADP was successfully implemented throughout the County and beyond.

The subsequent 18 month investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office concluded with the Prosecutor declaring that no charges were warranted.  Panter estimates that the investigation cost Monmouth County taxpayers $1 million and states that it included more than 100 subpoenas and witness interviews by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and the FBI.  He told MMM that the law enforcement interviews into Curley and Middleton’s conduct occurred in 2017 after the Prosecutor’s Office announced that the investigation prompted by Curley’s release of the ‘anonymous’ letter alleging ADP related wrongdoing came up empty.

RDS alleges that Curley knowingly provided false information to the Prosecutor’s Office with respect to the content of the ‘anonymous’ letter, the source of the letter, the financial interest of the source of the letter and his personal relationship with the source of the letter.

RDS also alleges that Middleton was a contributor to Curley’s campaign and notes that the attorney was appointed a County Counsel, despite not having the experience required, following Curley’s 2015 reelection.

Both Curley and Middleton could be subject to prosecution for: Impersonation; Retaliation for Past Official Acts; Crime of Corruption of Public Resources; Unsworn Falsification to Authorities; False Reports to Law Enforcement Authorities; Official Misconduct; and Pattern of Official Misconduct.  Panter said that Curley, Middleton and Monmouth County could also be civilly liable for the damage done to RDS’s business as a result of Curley using his official position and resources to initiate the criminal investigation based on the alleged falsehoods in the ‘anonymous’ letter.

Panter requested that Monmouth County hire an Independent Investigator in conduct an inquiry, to include public hearings, into his allegations against Curley and Middleton, that the County release documents previously withheld after OPRA requests, and that they cooperate with the criminal investigation by the Prosecutor and FBI.   He called upon the Prosecutor’s Office to release their findings and/or status of their investigation to the public and to cooperate with the County’s investigation.

In a statement to MMM, Panter said, “John Curley harmed innocent county employees and local businesses by providing false information to law enforcement.  That is fact, and inexcusable for an elected official.

 “IF it’s found he used taxpayer funds in an effort to enrich his friends, that may be grounds for indictment.

“We intend to cooperate with these investigations so taxpayers learn the truth, and to reserve all legal remedies to which we’re entitled.”

Angelo Genova, Curley’s attorney in his lawsuit against Monmouth County taxpayers and the Freeholders over his censure and the investigation into sexual harassment complaints by County employees, said he did not appreciate being contacted over a holiday weekend and hung up when MMM reached him on the phone on Saturday.  Genova did not respond to a follow up email asking if he is representing Curley regarding the RDS letter, and if so, if he had any comment.

Curley has not yet responded to a voice mail offering him an opportunity to comment on the RDS allegations.

MMM’s efforts to reach Middleton over the weekend were unsuccessful.  A message left at his office this morning has not yet been returned.

Freeholder Director Arnone said, “I am alarmed by the allegations against Freeholder Curley and Mr. Middleton and believe they should be investigated.  However, that decision will be made by the entire Board of Freeholders.”

Charles Webster, spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, requested a copy of this article and the RDS letter before offering a comment.

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Posted: April 2nd, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: John Curley, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Monmouth County News, Monmouth County Prosecutor, New Jersey | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

15 Comments on “Curley Accused of Official Misconduct, Corruption”

  1. Hell hath no fury said at 5:09 pm on April 2nd, 2018:

    like a Democrat scorned: guess he never got over losing his seat. Kinda like that guy with that three- town paper, who likes to stir pots and thinks he’s a king- maker- in this case, he sure apparently parlayed a title into a very lucrative business. But now, looks like he wants to turn a few more screws… God bless America..

  2. Translation anyone said at 5:52 pm on April 2nd, 2018:

    Of the previous post?

  3. Ok, slowly, said at 8:26 pm on April 2nd, 2018:

    Panter only served 4 years in the assembly. He got beaten by O’Scanlon and Casagrande- hated that. Look him up. He is also known to be litigious. Another Dem who only served one term publishes that weekly newspaper that covers three towns in this county. ( why name it?) If you read it, he always claims to make and break various politicians’ careers in this area… not hard to figure out..

  4. Are you saying said at 8:40 pm on April 2nd, 2018:

    There is nothing to this? That RDS is being used by Panter to settle an old grudge because he lost an election years ago? You cant be that delusional. Admit it, John is in deep trouble and he can’t pull out the tired old “theyre picking on me” stuff anymore. Time for him to quit and stop betraying the taxpayers of the county. The charade is over.

  5. I am saying said at 9:22 pm on April 2nd, 2018:

    that the more this stomach turns, the more others are piling on, it is to the detriment of both the county and the Republican Party. I too wish very much the entire matter should have been handled smarter, and I sure do wish John would leave, but I highly doubt that will happen….

  6. That's the problem said at 9:41 pm on April 2nd, 2018:

    With people who cannot say the words “John is wrong.” This is not “piling on” this is a very serious complaint by a private firm that has nothing to do with politics. Face it – if any of these allegations turn out to be true John’s goose is cooked. If he had any dignity at all he’d quit.

  7. Marlboro Male said at 10:24 pm on April 2nd, 2018:

    Agreed. I’ve been a faithful Curley supporter but cannot back him any longer. He has been a Democrat, a Republican, and now an independent. I feel let down by everything he has done. He is out for himself and no one else. He doesn’t care about anyone except himself and will not even show the courage to admit when he has done something wrong. He is like a little kid who will blame everyone around him to avoid taking responsibility for his own actions. Curley has Dishonored the Republican Party and the taxpayers he once claimed to represent. I am so disappointed and ashamed of him

  8. His goose, said at 10:49 pm on April 2nd, 2018:

    and probably, the party’s electoral goose, already appear to be cooked at the moment, no matter what else transpires. The minute the complaints came, the board hired the judge, censured him, and all the lawsuits began to fly, it was already over, in more ways than one. Meanwhile time, and the bills, keep rolling along and racking up. Don’t know how any of the parties survive it all.

  9. You know how said at 7:58 am on April 3rd, 2018:

    republicans survive? By doing exactly what they are doing which is not covering for Curley’s many wrongdoings, calling for him to step aside, and most importantly, to continue the leadership that has made Monmouth County the best in the country. Phil Murphy will do his parrt in dragging down democrats by being the worst, most inept governor New Jersey has ever had.

  10. Let’s see said at 2:01 pm on April 3rd, 2018:

    how much money gets pumped into this county, this cycle. Let’s see actual election returns in November: how many Congressional seats will we hold? We only have 5 of 13 now. How many counties will remain with majority Republicans on their freeholder boards? I think we only have 7 or 8 of the 21, right now. How many of our 53 municipalities are majority- Dem right now? Stats don’t lie. You read about the possible “ blue wave” we could suffer on the national level, this Congressional year: we have all been trying to stem the” NJ blue wave,” for 30+years- and, it appears to be getting worse. I only hope the current negativity happening in a Rep- led county, plus outside money, does not metastasize into what we are all trying hard to avoid! It is one thing to know we do a better job of governing. It is quite another to be able to mount strong campaigns to inform the electorate, and fight negative, expensive ads, as we endured last year in LD11.

  11. Art Gallagher said at 2:29 pm on April 3rd, 2018:

    @ Let’s see-

    5 of 12 congressional districts

  12. Oh, yes! said at 3:59 pm on April 3rd, 2018:

    We lost one last re- districting, likely due to the exodus out of # 1- property-( and most others)- taxed state in the nation! 👎🏻

  13. It’s obvious said at 9:29 pm on April 3rd, 2018:

    Some Politicians and Attorneys simply think they are too big for their britches.

  14. Translation anyone said at 9:58 pm on April 3rd, 2018:

    Of the previous post?

  15. And said at 11:08 pm on April 3rd, 2018:

    sadly, it is we citizens and taxpayers who wind up holding the bag, yet again.