Monday, November 20, 2017

ELEC files complaints against Cumberland Freeholder Director and County Democratic Committee Chairman

Joseph Derella, Director
Cumberland County Board
of Freeholders.
A search of the Election Law Enforcement Commission's (ELEC) complaint database reveals that on November 9, 2017, the Commission filed a twenty-two count complaint against the current Director of the Cumberland County Board of Chosen Freeholders and a nineteen count complaint against the current chairman of the Cumberland County Democratic Organization.  Both complaints also name the pair's campaign treasurer as a respondent.

The main respondents in the two ELEC complaints are Joseph Derella, the current Director of the Cumberland County Freeholder Board and Doug Long, who previously served as Freeholder Board Deputy Director and who now serves as Chairman of the Cumberland County Democratic Committee.  Albert Marmero, who is managing partner at Grace Marmero & Associates, LLP, is also named in both complaints in his capacity as treasurer for both Long's and Derella's campaigns.  The law firm's website shows that Long was one of the founders of the firm's predecessor and now serves "Of Counsel" to the firm. 

Both complaints allege violations of the New Jersey Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting Act and ELEC's regulations that were promulgated pursuant to that Act.  Both complaints allege reporting deficiencies during the 2012 primary and general elections.  While the allegations are too numerous to mention, Long is accused of filing a report that was due on April 23, 2012 on December 1, 2014 which is 952 days late.  Derella is accused of filing a required report 1,115 days late.

Derella is also accused of accepting a "currency contribution" of $1,000 and contributions from Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs) even though acceptance of cash contributions in excess of $200 in aggregate from any one source and acceptance of contributions from LLCs are disallowed. 

Long, among other allegations, stands accused of making cash withdrawals in the 29-day period prior to the 2012 general election and also writing reimbursement checks totaling $5,600.29 to himself and a person named Marcus Wilson for services such as "lit drop street walk" and "phone bank, lit walk and canvassing."  ELEC contended that Long and Wilson "were not the ultimate recipients of" the $5,600.29 and suggested that some of the funds were used to pay "street money" in cash. 

These allegations are just that--allegations--and the ELEC has the burden of proving them.