Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on May 4, 2022, Paul Kennedy, 66, of Ocean Gate, was charged with three counts of Official Misconduct in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:30-2a, along with three counts of Theft in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:20-4 and N.J.S.A. 2C:20-8. These charges are in addition to those served upon Kennedy on March 18, 2022 for Official Misconduct and Theft in relation to his capacity as Mayor of the Borough of Ocean Gate – a position in which he continues to serve.
The additional charges are the result of an extensive and ongoing investigation conducted by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Professional Standards/Corruption Unit and Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad. The investigation revealed that Kennedy, in his capacity as Mayor of Ocean Gate, collected cash from the sale of scrap metal originating in the Borough Recycling Center and then failed to turn over the proceeds to the Borough. Likewise, as Mayor, Kennedy converted funds donated by contributors to “Friends of Ocean Gate” for his re-election campaign, as well as the campaign of his running mates, for his personal benefit. It was also discovered during the investigation that Kennedy leveraged his position with the Ocean County Buildings and Grounds Department by requiring certain employees within the Department to perform construction work at his home located at East Lakewood Avenue in Ocean Gate – while those employees were working during business hours for the County of Ocean. Kennedy was processed at the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office this morning and released on a summons pending a future court date.
Kennedy had previously been charged on March 18, 2022 with Official Misconduct and Theft for failing to turn over proceeds from the sale of assets belonging to the Borough of Ocean Gate – sold by way of the government auction website GovDeals.com – and instead took possession of those proceeds for his own personal benefit. Detectives also discovered that Kennedy failed to deposit borough parking meter funds in the borough’s bank account, and that he sold borough office furniture through a private Facebook Marketplace account, likewise attempting to keep those proceeds for his personal benefit. Kennedy was charged on a summons and released pending a future court date relative to the March 18th charges as well.
Prosecutor Billhimer acknowledges the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Professional Standards/Corruption Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crimes Squad, Ocean Gate Police Department, and Ocean County Sheriff’s Office, for their collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation.
The charges referenced above are merely accusations and the press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.