By: Najla Alexander
Authorities in Ocean County announced that on September 22, Paul Kennedy, 66, of Ocean Gate, pled guilty to the crime of Pattern of Official Misconduct before the Honorable Kimarie Rahill, J.S.C.
Authorities say Kennedy is the former Mayor of the Borough of Ocean Gate.
Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer reported that at the time of his sentencing on December 8, 2023, the State will be seeking a term of three years in New Jersey State Prison, subject to a two-year parole ineligibility.
Additionally, the plea agreement calls for Kennedy to be permanently disqualified from holding any future public office or employment.
According to officials, the charges result from an investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Professional Standards/Corruption Unit and Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad.
The investigation revealed that Kennedy, in his capacity as Mayor of the Borough of Ocean Gate, failed to turn over proceeds from the sale of borough assets - sold by way of the government auction website GovDeals.com – and instead took possession of those proceeds for his own personal benefit, officials stated.
Officials said the investigation further revealed that Kennedy failed to deposit borough parking meter funds in the Borough’s bank account and that he sold borough office furniture through a private Facebook Marketplace account, attempting to keep the proceeds for his personal benefit.
On March 18, 2022, officials say, Kennedy was charged with Official Misconduct and Theft and surrendered himself to the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, and then he was released on a summons pending future appearances in Ocean County Superior Court.
The continued investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Professional Standards/Corruption Unit and Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad determined that Kennedy collected cash from the sale of scrap metal originating in the Borough Recycling Center and then failed to turn the proceeds over to the Borough, officials said.
Likewise, as Mayor, Kennedy converted funds donated by contributors to “Friends of Ocean Gate” for his re-election campaign and the campaign of his running mates for his personal benefit, according to officials.
Officials said as a consequence, Kennedy was charged with additional counts of Official Misconduct.
Officials say that on May 4, 2022, Kennedy surrendered himself to the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office.
He was released on a summons pending future appearances in Ocean County Superior Court.