The minutes of a November 30, 2010 Special Meeting of the Jackson Township Council appear to be the smoking gun linking long time Ocean County Republican Chairman George Gilmore to Paterson Mayor Jose “Joey” Torres. It was during that Special Meeting that the Jackson Council voted to give Torres a $125,000 job as Jackson’s Business Administrator. At the behest of Gilmore, Jackson officials also waived the requirement that the Business Administrator position require a Bachelor’s Degree (Torres lacked a Bachelor’s Degree). Both Gilmore and Torres were present during the meeting.

Mayor Torres appears in public after being indicted

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is currently investigating whether Gilmore was later rewarded with a $100,000 contract by the City of Paterson in a quid pro quo. At the time of the 2010 meeting, Torres had been out of a job for 4 months after having lost a reelection bid.

Then Councilman Michael Kafton was the sole town official to inquire about Torres’s qualifications or lack thereof and questioned why Gilmore and Torres were even present at the meeting. “[H]e doesn’t have a degree and he has never served as a Business Administrator for any other town,” Kafton said of Torres. Kafton would be the only council member to vote against approving Torres for the job.

Gilmore argued  that “the knowledge and experience that Mr. Torres has will benefit Jackson Township tremendously.” Kafton responded that “we have rules and regulations and you’re saying that we can just change them”–referencing the town ordinance that required that the Business Administrator have a Bachelor’s Degree. Kafton also questioned why the town had paid Gilmore if ordinances could be changed at any time. To that, Gilmore responded that “an Ordinance can be amended at any time”.

During the meeting, Gilmore amended the Jackson ordinance “to include the provision that Council is waiving the educational requirements based on work experience of the individual.”

Jackson Mayor Michael Reina and council members Ann Updegrave, Ken Bressi, and Bobbie Rivere effusively praised Torres. Then council president Scott Martin even said that he believed “Mr. Torres is the best man for the job.”

Some residents pushed back at the meeting. Jackson resident Kimberly Lum had asked Reina and the other council members how they had come across Torres. Reina replied that “the applications came from everywhere.” Another resident, John Gaskill, said “he did a Google search on Mr. Torres and questioned some of the information he found about mismanagement of money in the Department of Housing.” Torres responded that he was not responsible for that.

On March 10, 2015, Paterson awarded Gilmore’s law firm, Gilmore and Monaghan, a $100,000 contract for legal work. Our friend, Joe Malinconico, reported at the time that “a prominent GOP fund-raiser with ties to Ocean County last year helped generate contributions for Torres’ election” in 2014.

Gilmore is currently being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service for tax evasion and is being separately investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Attorney’s Office in Newark for honest services fraud, bribery, and Hobbs Act extortion. Torres was indicted by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office in March on charges that he used city employees to perform work at one of his businesses while allowing them to collect overtime from the city. Torres himself is also currently facing  separate FBI investigation.

Federal grand jury subpoenas were served on Jackson township officials over the past few months seeking documentation regarding Torres’s appointment as Business Administrator. Paterson officials were served with federal grand jury subpoenas concerning the award of the $100,000 contract to GIlmore’s law firm.

Documents:

Minutes of the November 30, 2010 Special Meeting of the Jackson Township Council (PDF)

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