Howard Birdsall Pleads Guilty To Pay To Play Crimes

Howard-BirdsallHoward Birdsall, 72 of Brielle, pleaded guilty today to corporate misconduct for his role in a criminal scheme in which more than $1 million in corporate political contributions were illegally made through employees of his now defunct engineering firm, Birdsall Services Group, in violation New Jersey’s pay-to-play law, according to an announcement by the NJ Attorney General’s Office.

Under the plea agreement, the state will recommend that Birdsall be sentenced to four years in state prison. He also must pay $49,808 to the state, representing forfeiture of the political contributions that he made on behalf Birdsall Services Group that were reimbursed by the firm. He is scheduled to be sentenced on April 22.

“As the CEO and largest shareholder of Birdsall Services Group, Howard Birdsall reaped major profits from the millions of dollars in public contracts his firm secured each year – contracts that should have been off limits based on the illegal campaign contributions made by the firm,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “This plea should serve as a warning to any corporate officials who would engage in this type of criminal scheme to skirt our pay-to-play law and skew public contracting in their favor.”

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Posted: February 18th, 2016 | Author: | Filed under: Birdsall Engineering, Brookdale Community College, Monmouth County News | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Dueling Mayors in Belmar

Dueling Belmar Mayors

Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty and Former Mayor Ken Pringle

Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty said, “Ken Pringle is like a jaded ex-girlfriend who won’t go away.”

Ken Pringle, who was mayor of the oceanfront borough for 20 years before Doherty took over in 2011, isn’t sure how many times he’s sued Doherty and the borough since he left office. “Four or five, I’m not sure.”

Both Doherty and Pringle, who served together for four years, are Democrats.  Doherty was a councilman during Pringle’s last term as mayor.

At issue is the beachfront and money.

Pringle contends that Doherty and the Council are using the Beach Utility Fund to subsidize borough operations and to keep property taxes artificially low, in violation of the Public Trust Doctrine.  Doherty says that while Pringle was mayor Belmar’s property taxpayers subsidized the beach and that Pringle raised taxes 14 years in a row.   Doherty has not increased Belmar’s taxes since becoming mayor, keeping the borough’s spending flat at 2010 levels.

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Posted: May 11th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Beach Access, Belmar, Birdsall Engineering, Matt Doherty, Monmouth County, Monmouth County Court, Monmouth County News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Political Fallout Of Birdsall Report Likely To Be Muted

Brian Froelich, a Democratic candidate for Monmouth County Freeholder, signaled that he wants to use the Birdsall Engineering scandal as an issue against his incumbent Republican opponents earlier this month when he told NJ.com’s cub reporter Christopher Robbins, “There’s no way that we’re going to out-fundraise a 30-year incumbent institution,” Froelich said. “They may not have Birdsall anymore, but they have a lot more people willing to support incumbents and entrenched leaders.”

If Froelich wants to make an issue of the no longer secret donations that Freeholder Director Tom Arnone and Deputy Director Serena DiMaso received from Birdsall employees, he will have to first question Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Vin Gopal.  Gopal received $1600 in Birdsall funds for his 2012 campaign for Chairman.  Gopal’s opponent in that race, Marlboro Councilman Frank LaRocca received $4000.

Kevin McMillian’s name will be above Froelich’s on the ballot in the 11th Legislative District.  The Democratic Assembly candidate received a ‘secret’ Birdsall donation of $300 for his 2011 campaign for Neptune Township Committee.

The Star Ledger this morning published a list of the illicit donations throughout the state from Birdsall employees that were reimbursed by the company in a scheme to get around New Jersey’s pay-to-play laws.  Both Democrats and Republicans statewide received donations.  Of the 1476 illegal campaign contributions made between 2008 and 2012, 761 were made to Democrats. 651 were made to Republicans and 64 are listed as “Other.”


Posted: June 24th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: 2013 Election, Birdsall Engineering | Tags: , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Report: Divorce negotiations lead to Birdsall Indictments

Birdsall Service Group’s marketing director told his estranged wife that his income wasn’t really as high as reported because his bonuses were reimbursements for campaign contributions. The wife was recording the conversation, according to a Star Ledger report on NJ.com.

It was about a year ago that Philip Angarone Jr., then the marketing director of Birdsall Services Group, met with his estranged wife to discuss how much money he was earning. He said he seemed to be making more than he actually was because of the large number of bonuses he had been collecting.Brunei

The bonuses, Angarone explained, were illegal reimbursements for political contributions he had made on behalf of the company.

What Angarone didn’t know was that his wary wife was secretly recording the conversation.

The Star Ledger says they obtained the information from a confidential affidavit filed in state court last week by the State Attorney General’s Office.  Neither the AG’s Office nor the Court released the document.

Birdsall and seven of its current or former executives were indicted last week for making illegal campaign contributions and filing false documents with the Election Law Enforcement Commission.  The firms assets were seized by the AG, under the authority of an order signed by Monmouth County Assignment Judge Lawrence M. Lawson.  The firm filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, seeking to have its bank accounts unfrozen in order to meet payroll and perform engineering services under contract.

Posted: April 1st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Birdsall Engineering, Crime and Punishment | Tags: , | 7 Comments »

Birdsall Engineering’s Assets Seized

The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office has seized the assets of Birdsall Services Group, the Eatontown based  engineering and consulting firm that does did business with Monmouth County and many government entities throughout the state, according to a Star Ledger report on NJ.com.

The firm and seven of it’s executives, including former CEO Howard Birdsall, were indicted on felony pay to play charges on Tuesday.  The indictments allege that the firm and the executives skirted New Jersey’s ELEC regulations by having employees make political contributions below the disclosure threashold, $300, and later reimbursed the employees through bonuses. The scheme enabled the firm to accept government contracts they would have been disqualified for had the company made the political donations directly to the candidates or committees receiving the funds.

Monmouth County Assignment Judge Lawrence M. Lawson signed the order authorizing the state to seize all of the firms assests and to retain the property as evidence in a criminal proceeding subject to permanent forfeiture.

Posted: March 27th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa, Birdsall Engineering, Crime and Punishment | Tags: , , | 14 Comments »