RED BANK: ZIPPRICH DERIDES ‘SMEAR’ WAR

Councilman Ed Zipprich, right, with then-Councilman Erik Yngstrom at a workshop session in March, 2020. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

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Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich has been “exonerated” after a two-year “smear campaign” meant to “dehumanize” him, he said in a statement to redbankgreen Thursday.

Zipprich’s statement came in response to special attorney’s finding that he did not “interfere” in the award of a trash collection contract two years ago.

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RED BANK: ZIPPRICH CONDUCT ‘NOT UNLAWFUL’

Councilman Ed Zipprich, right, with Councilman Michael Ballard in February. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

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Red Bank Councilman Ed Zipprich did not “interfere” in the award of a trash collection contract two years ago, according to an unreleased report obtained by redbankgreen.

Special attorney Scott Salmon’s report also says “there is evidence to suggest” that former business administrator Ziad Shehady was the the anonymous source of internal emails about Zipprich that were leaked to redbankgreen.

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RED BANK: YASSIN CHARGED WITH THEFT

red bank, nj, hazim yassinThen-Councilman Hazim Yassin at a Red Bank Education Foundation fundraiser at the Red Bank Elks Club in 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicFormer Red Bank Councilman Hazim Yassin has been charged with stealing more than $7,600 from the Red Bank Borough Education Foundation, the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office said Monday.

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RED BANK: YASSIN EVICTED

Hazim Yassin at a council meeting in 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

See UPDATE below

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicWith just days left on his term, former Red Bank councilman Hazim Yassin was ordered evicted from his apartment last month, court records show.

The action came less than two months after Yassin agreed to pay his landlord more than $32,000 in overdue rent.

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RED BANK: COUNCIL WRAPS UP 2021

The council meeting was the final one scheduled for 2021. (Screenshot from Zoom. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The Red Bank council’s final regular meeting of 2021 included a new police contract, a plan to recombine workshop and regular sessions, a new used Tesla, and praise for a departing colleague.

Here’s an overview.

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RED BANK: “YOU BROKE IT, YOU FIX IT”

A Montana Construction crew working on Broad Street earlier this month. (redbankgreen photo. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njProperty owners in downtown Red Bank pushed back Wednesday night on the notion that they should pay thousands of dollars each to replace their water service lines.

Addressing the borough council on their behalf, Red Bank RiverCenter Executive Director Glenn Carter invoked the adage, “you broke it, you fix it.”

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RED BANK: YASSIN SETTLES RENT CASE

Councilman Hazim Yassin, lower right, listens as Judge Kerry Higgins, upper left, reviews the settlement. (Screengrab from Zoom. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicLame duck Councilman Hazim Yassin dodged possible eviction from his Red Bank apartment with an agreement to pay his landlord more than $32,000 in back rent Friday.

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RED BANK: COUNTY CHAIR BLASTS ZIPPRICH

A mailer sent by Zipprich-backed newcomer Jacqueline Sturdivant obscured the name of fellow Democrat and incumbent Kate Triggiano. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

See UPDATE below

By JOHN T. WARD

Two weeks before election day, a bitter split between Red Bank and Monmouth County Democratic powerbrokers went wide Tuesday.

In a letter immediately made public, the party’s top county official, David G. Brown II, blasted borough party head Ed Zipprich for “clearly not supporting” incumbent Councilwoman Kate Triggiano, who is seeking a second term.

Zipprich, also a council member, responded with accusations of his own against Brown and Triggiano, with whom he has sparred for more than year.

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RED BANK: ADMINISTRATOR SEARCH ON PAUSE

Chief Darren McConnell at National Night Out in August. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicOne of two Red Bank council members who last week called the search for a new borough administrator “stalled” said he learned only this weekend that his colleagues had halted the search weeks earlier.

Meanwhile, two others on the all-Democratic council, as well as Mayor Pasquale Menna, said they’re happy with the job police Chief Darren McConnell is doing as interim administrator, and feel no pressure to replace him.

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RED BANK: GOP BAILS AND VISCOMI JUMPS IN

Sue Viscomi has mounted a candidacy as an independent, making it a three-way race for two council seats. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank voters will have three candidates to choose from for two council seats in November.

For the second year in a row, none of them will be Republicans.

And for the second time in three years, Sue Viscomi is running as an independent.

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RED BANK: TWO CALL EXEC SEARCH “STALLED”

red bank, nj, ed zipprich, michael ballard, ziad shehadyFormer Business Administrator Ziad Shehady, right, with council members Ed Zipprich, left, and Michael Ballard in December, 2018. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicWith a second vacancy in a key position looming, Red Bank’s search for a borough administrator has stalled without explanation, say two council members.

And the current, interim holder of the position, police Chief Darren McConnell, tells redbankgreen” that there has been no recent movement” toward a replacement.

Mayor Pasquale Menna, however, disagrees, and says the local government is operating “in stellar fashion” under McConnell.

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RED BANK: YASSIN FACES BACK-RENT LAWSUIT

Hazim Yassin at his first meeting as a council member in January, 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

UPDATE: September 9, 2021: See Yassin’s response to this article below.

By JOHN T. WARD

redbankgreen hot topicRed Bank Councilman Hazim Yassin hasn’t paid the rent on his apartment in 18 months and owes more than $29,000, his landlord alleges in a lawsuit.

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RED BANK: WHERE IS THE EMAIL LEAK PROBE?

Councilman Ed Zipprich during a council meeting via Zoom in May. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic

More than eight months after the Red Bank council hired a lawyer to advise it on how to deal with an explosive email leak…

Crickets.

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RED BANK: BALLARD OPPOSES SURPLUS USE

Councilman Michael Ballard in 2019. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxesRed Bank Councilman Michael Ballard challenged his fellow Democrats on the governing body Thursday night for using unspent funds from 2020 to keep a lid on taxes.

At a special session of the council, held via Zoom, Ballard alleged the use of $3.5 million in surplus was driven by that objective.

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RED BANK: SURPLUS KEEPS TAX RATE LEVEL

A new trash contract and landfill fees increased waste removal costs by $318,000 this year, officials said. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxes

Facing large increases in debt financing and trash costs, Red Bank officials dodged a tax rate increase thanks in part to a surplus from 2020, they said Tuesday night.

At a 45-minute information session by the borough finance committee, held via Zoom, Councilman Hazim Yassin called the outcome “phenomenal.”

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RED BANK: CENTER PLANS TO COST $96K

Costs associated with planned repairs to the shuttered Senior Center delayed adoption of the borough budget. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxesConstruction plans for repairs to Red Bank’s water-damaged and long-closed Senior Center will cost $96,000, borough officials said Wednesday.

Accommodating that expense into the municipal budget will require a budget amendment and special meeting of the council. But they won’t slow the repair efforts, said acting Business Administrator Darren McConnell.

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RED BANK: NO LOCAL TAX INCREASE IN BUDGET

A screengrab from Wednesday’s virtual meeting, which was chaired by  Councilman Hazim Yassin, top right. (Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

red bank taxes

Red Bank property owners will see no increase in the local tax rate under the budget introduced by the borough council Wednesday night.

The governing body also finalized a plan for a charter study referendum that several commenters referred to as “historic;” eliminated the job of animal control officer to make way for the Monmouth SPCA; and tabled the hiring of a new executive director of the Redevelopment Agency.

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RED BANK: WOMEN IN LEAD AS DEMS SPLIT

Kate Triggiano at her January, 2019 swearing-in with husband, David, son, Otto, and former Assemblyman John Wisniewski. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

The two women on competing tickets moved closer to claiming wins in the Red Bank Democratic primary election for council Wednesday.

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RED BANK: THREE CLOSE IN DEM’S PRIMARY

By JOHN T. WARD

Incumbent Councilwoman Kate Triggiano led three other candidates after a rare Red Bank Democratic primary challenge Tuesday.

But the race for two openings on the party ticket in November was far from settled, with the second spot an even closer call.

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RED BANK: ONE PRIMARY CONTESTED, ONE NOT

By JOHN T. WARD

Four Red Bank Democrats square off Tuesday in a rare primary election for two spots on the November ballot for borough council.

Meantime, the borough’s Republicans have two “placeholder” candidates on the primary ballot.

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RED BANK: BROADWALK DRIVING RECOVERY

Broadwalk bars vehicular traffic to enable restaurant expansions into Broad Street between Front and White Streets. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

By JOHN T. WARD

hot topic red bank njWith the second season of Red Bank’s Broadwalk about to begin in earnest – weather permitting – downtown merchants say the pedestrian dining and shopping concept is doing what it’s intended to do: improving their receipts.

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RED BANK: CHARTER REVIEW VOTE SLATED

Authorization of the charter study, and all five seats on it, would be on the November ballot if the council follows through on Wednesday’s informal vote. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)

[Updated to include borough attorney memo on charter review timeline.]

By JOHN T. WARD

Red Bank’s council informally agreed Wednesday night to have voters decide whether the borough’s form of government should be reviewed for possible overhaul.

The unanimous action by the council, all Democrats, could eventually lead to nonpartisan elections, watering down the party’s long dominance of municipal government.

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RED BANK: BROADWALK RETURNS

Broadwalk, Red Bank’s foremost attempt to bolster downtown business in the COVID-19 pandemic, returns for a second year of mid-street strolling, dining and cone-licking Friday.

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