By JOHN T. WARD
Keeping alive a controversy that ignited Thursday, the head of Monmouth County’s Democratic party released a snippet of audio Friday as purported proof that Red Bank council candidate Sean Di Somma is a wanted man in Texas.
In a statement, party chairman Vin Gopal describes the 25-second recording – made earlier in the day of an automated response from the Dallas Municipal Court – as confirming that an “alias warrant” remains outstanding against the GOP newcomer.
Here’s the recording:
“If the candidate wants debate the issue of what an Alias Warrant is for the next 11 days, that is up to him,” Gopal said in an emailed press release, “but we first suggest he deals with the City of Dallas, Texas. We are going to focus on responsibility and character – the two issues we are bringing up as he continues to call his opponents ‘liars’ and ‘corrupt.’
“For a candidate who has only recently become a resident of Red Bank to allege financial mismanagement of the incumbent council members when he himself has ignored his own personal responsibility is undeserving of the public trust,” Gopal wrote.
As reported by redbankgreen, Di Somma claims to have long ago paid the fine on the January, 2011 summons he was issued in Dallas for running a stop sign.
He said he made a second payment by credit card Thursday night because he could not immediately obtain bank records proving the first payment. And he claimed that there was “no warrant.”
Attempts by redbankgreen to learn whether a warrant was issued were unsuccessful, with officials at the Dallas police department, the marshal’s office and city hall unable to answer the question. A public records request filing made by redbankgreen could take 10 days to answer, a city official said.
Meantime, numerous calls to the phone number of an official who Di Somma said can vouch for his account were met with busy signals.
Called for a response Friday afternoon, Di Somma patched redbankgreen in on a conference call to the courts and detention services office in Dallas, where an employee verified that the $434.35 fine had been paid Thursday night and that no warrant was outstanding or had ever been issued.
Separately, that office’s online search engine shows “N/A” under warrants when calling up the Di Somma traffic ticket.
“Two out of three ain’t bad, right?” he said.
Di Somma calls the Democrats’ focus on the ticket and warrant “ridiculous.”