File photo of former mayor and current mayoral candidate Jo-Ann Kalaka Adams. Below, a notice of tax sale in Tuesday’s Asbury Park Press. (Click to enlarge)
By JOHN T. WARD
Sea Bright mayoral candidate Jo-Ann Kalaka Adams owns or co-owns properties that are in arrears on borough taxes and scheduled for auction less than two weeks after next month’s election, according to a public notice published Tuesday.
Also on the list: a sitting council member, William Keeler, who’s not up for re-election next month.
The records show Kalaka-Adams, alone or with James R. Adams, owes a combined $23,372 in arrearages on three addresses: 1184 Ocean Avenue, units B1 and B2; and 4 Peninsula Avenue.
Kalaka Realty is reported to owe another $13,739 on 1 Peninsula Avenue. Kalaka Adams’ connection to the firm was not immediately known. Tax bills for the property are sent to 1184 Ocean Avenue, unit B2, according to Monmouth County tax records.
Kalaka Adams, who served as mayor from 2004 through 2007, could not be reached Wednesday morning for comment.
Last April, Mayor Maria Fernandes called out a commercial building owned by Kalaka Adams on Ocean Avenue as “dilapidated” and in need of fixing.
Fernandes, who edged out Kalaka Adams after an epic recount lawsuit following the 2007 election, said that the reported figures are for 2010 only, and that as of October 11, Kalaka Adams actually owed the town about $91,000 in taxes and unpaid sewer bills. Keler, she said, owed about $34,000.
“The question is, how can these people face the residents, the taxpayers, that they seek to serve?” Fernandes said. “Between them, they owe the town more than $124,000. The taxpayers are supporting their lifestyles.”
Fernandes, who decided not to seek second term term following health issues, said she finds it “very scary” that someone who owes the town so much money could become its mayor.
Also on the list of property liens to be sold November 22 are two properties listed as owned by Keeler: 786 Ocean Avenue, and an unimproved parcel across the street abutting the sea wall, with arrearages totaling $20,323.
In an email, Democratic mayoral contender Councilwoman Dina Long, declined comment, saying that she would not “exploit” Kalaka Adams’ financial situation for her own gain.
Long is running with council contenders Marc Leckstein, who ran unsuccessfully last year, and newcomer Desiree Pierce.
On the GOP ticket with Kalaka Adams are incumbent council members Read Murphy and James LoBiondo.