Red Bank Councilman Mike DuPont was squeezed out of his post as Belmar’s borough attorney Tuesday, four days after a court ruling found shortcomings in his handling of a ballot question there, APP.com reported Tuesday.
The website of the Asbury Park Press reported that DuPont resigned at the request of Mayor Matthew Doherty, “after a Superior Court judge ruled that the borough didn’t properly vote on placing an explanatory statement for a bond question on the Nov. 3 ballot.”
“Judge Katie A. Gummer also struck the entire statement from the ballot because she said it contained “misleading” and “unfair” language,” according to the report.
The ballot question concerned a controversial proposal to spend $4.1 million to rebuild the Hurricane Sandy-destroyed Taylor Pavilion on the boardwalk at Fifth Avenue in the oceanfront town, according to the report.
According to an earlier APP.com report about the ruling, Belmar “violated the state’s Civil Rights Act for failing to notify the public before it placed a “misleading” explanatory statement” on the ballot.
The explanatory statement, Gummer wrote, included “misleading and extraneous information and is designed to influence rather than inform Belmar voters,” according to an APP.com quote from the ruling.
Gummer ruled that the borough violated the New Jersey Civil Rights Act because it submitted the statement “without adopting the language by resolution at a public meeting or otherwise providing prior notice.”
From Tuesday’s report:
“Had (DuPont) advised us that we needed to pass the statement by resolution at a meeting we would have done that,” Doherty said. “We rely on our attorney for advice with how to proceed on how to govern the town.”
Here’s what DuPont had to say to APP.com about the dispute:
DuPont declined to comment on the case, but said he thought it was best for him to resign to not “be an obstacle” for the borough. “There were some in differences in litigation strategy, and there is other pending litigation that has to be sorted out, so I thought it was best I submit my resignation,” he said. “I thanked the mayor for the opportunity to serve the residents of Belmar.”
APP.com didn’t say how much DuPont earned in the post, which is an appointed position.
Among DuPont’s antagonists in the matter was lawyer Ken Pringle, representing one of the five challengers to the ballot question. Pringle, a former Belmar mayor, was Red Bank’s borough attorney for several years until his firm was elbowed aside in 2011 to make way for the current holder of the post, Dan O’Hern.
At the time, DuPont, who headed and still heads the council’s finance committee, cited economics and conflicts of interest as the reasons for the change.
DuPont, a Democrat, is the lone incumbent in a four-man race for two open seats on the Red Bank council in the November 3 election. The others are Democrat Michael Ballard, Republican Mark Taylor and Republican Michael Whelan.