The Internal Revenue Service’s zeal in pursuing Ocean County Republican Party Chairman George Gilmore for tax evasion widened into a full blown federal corruption probe by the United States Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Now, the probe into the 67-year old Toms River attorney, who has held the Chairman post since 1996, appears to be focusing on kickbacks and bribes.

According to sources, in recent days, federal investigators have approached officials in municipalities that have awarded contracts to Gilmore’s law firm, Gilmore and Monahan.

In late January, an FBI Special Agent served a subpoena to Ocean County officials for all Ocean County Freeholder Board resolutions approving contracts with Gilmore’s law firm. Legal bills issued by Gilmore’s firm were also sought by the federal government. Ocean County general counsel John Sahradnik will be responding to the subpoenas. Taxpayers will be footing the bills for Sahradnik’s review of records and response to the subpoenas.

Taxpayers in Jackson, Seaside Heights, and other Ocean County towns will also be footing the bills for attorneys who will have to respond to federal grand jury subpoenas that have been issued to those towns in recent days for records concerning Gilmore.

A retired, former federal prosecutor told NJ Corruption that “when the federal government begins issuing a flurry of subpoenas for a target’s records, they are essentially notifying the target of the investigation and the potential scope of the investigation.”

Gilmore takes in at least $2 million a year in tax payer funded contracts from municipalities in Ocean County. An example, obtained by NJ Corruption from Lakewood, shows that Gilmore served as Special Counsel for the town in 2014:

The minutes of a February council meeting in Little Egg Harbor show that while town leaders have grown concerned about the ongoing investigation into Gilmore, they will continue to provide him contracts:

Schlick: Asked for the outcome of discussions with the conflict attorney regarding Gilmore and Monahan and if the township should step away from the firm.

Gormley: Explained he spoke with the conflict attorney who is prepared to step in at any time. At this time, there is no need to step away from Gilmore and Monahan.

That may now change as the probe has intensified and may now ensnare local officials who may have received kickbacks and bribes from Gilmore in exchange for legal contracts.

Gilmore’s criminal defense attorney, Kevin Marino, has acknowledge the existence of the investigation. According to the January subpoena, the lead prosecutor on the case is Assistant United States Attorney Vikas Khanna, who recently tried the “Bridgegate” case against Bill Baroni and Bridget Anne Kelly.

Tax liens placed on Gilmore’s properties by the IRS (obtained by the Asbury Park Press) show that Gilmore owes at least $1,000,000 in taxes: