Ocean Gate, NJ mayor accused of pocketing campaign, scrap funds

Ocean Gate Mayor Paul Kennedy has been accused of a new round of shady dealings, including getting Ocean County workers to do home improvements for him while on the clock, as well as pocketing campaign funds and scrap metal proceeds.

The 66-year-old now is charged with three counts each of official misconduct and theft, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer announced on Wednesday.

Kennedy still is serving as mayor of the borough of less than 2,000, though colleagues have called for his resignation and his salary was cut from $ 50,000 to a dollar by angry council members following the earlier allegations, as reported by NJ.com.

He already has admitted to holding onto thousands of dollars after selling several borough vehicles through the auction website, GovDeals.com, as reported by NJ Globe.

Kennedy previously faced official misconduct and theft charges filed in March, stemming from the vehicle sales as well as accusations of keeping parking meter funds and selling off a borough conference table on Facebook Marketplace, according to the same report, citing a criminal complaint.

Investigators have since found that the mayor kept cash from the sale of scrap metal taken from the Borough Recycling Center, Billihimer said, while also privately using funds donated via “Friends of Ocean Gate” for his re-election campaign and for Republican running mates.

Kennedy has worked as a carpenter for Ocean County in the Buildings and Grounds Department, though a county spokesperson said on Wednesday that he had been suspended without pay, pending a hearing.

Billhimer said that investigators found he had sent some county employees to do construction work at his Ocean Gate home while they were on the clock.

Kennedy was processed and released on a summons, pending a future court date.

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at erin.vogt@townsquaremedia.com

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