Candidate for Morris County Freeholder John Krickus issued a press release on Wednesday claiming that the Team Morris freeholder slate—consisting of incumbent freeholders Tom Mastrangelo, Doug Cabana and Kathy DeFillippo—received large donations from political action committees that were not reported until after the 11-day pre-election New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) deadline had passed.
According to ELEC filings, the documents in question were received on May 27. The primary where Krickus will face Team Morris—as well as the Morris United slate—is on June 7. As per ELEC regulations, candidates must file 29 days before, 11 days before and 20 days after an election.
In Krickus’ release he claims that the incumbent team failed to completely list names of PACs in order to obscure details. Krickus’ statement pointed to a donation on the joint committee’s May 27 report. In that report, Team Morris lists an $8,200 donation from “Political and Education Committee” on Springfield Avenue in Springfield, New Jersey. According to Krickus, that information should, instead, be listed as the Operating Engineers Local “IUOE Local 825 Political Education Committee” at 65 Springfield Ave.
Krickus also claims that “two mailings supporting Mastrangelo” and “one attacking Valori team” were paid for by “Local Government Voter Education,” a PAC out of Mount Laurel. Krickus says that PAC was funded by a $50,000 donation from local 825 Operating Engineers in Springfield.
The ELEC claims followed an earlier release by Krickus where he called for the incumbent team to apologize to sitting freeholder Deb Smith for “attacking” her regarding making public a non-confidential apprenticeship resolution mandating union labor on county contracts.
“At our debates the Mastrangelo team has attacked Freeholder Smith for disclosing their ‘apprenticeship’ resolution written by the Carpenters union,” said Krickus, “They need to apologize to Deb Smith as the county counsel ruled this document was not confidential. What really upsets the Mastrangelo team is they were caught with their hands in the cookie jar, selling out Morris County taxpayers in exchange for union donations and union endorsement letters.”
The presence of union money was also controversial in last year’s Morris County freeholder race when Krickus lost his seat on the board. At that time, Morris County Republican Chairman John Sette claimed he was against such “Democratic intrusion” in a Republican primary. Now, with contributions like the one Krickus highlighted, the challenger is claiming that union contracts and donations encourage elected officials to “sellout Morris County taxpayers for campaign contributions.”
PolitickerNJ reached out to Team Morris for comment on Krickus’ claims. The campaign issued this statement in response: “John Krickus has been rejected twice by Morris County Republican voters and not surprisingly seems to be panicking in the closing days of this campaign. We’re proud to be the team that stopped property tax increases three years in a row, cut taxpayer debt by $30 million, and independently rated as one of the 35 best run counties in America at managing tax dollars. That’s why we’ve attracted support from all corners of Morris County much like the Reagan coalition – taxpayers, business leaders, building trades, and nearly every Republican Mayor and dozens of local elected officials across Morris County. John Krickus is simply trying to distract voters from his catastrophic fiscal management that resulted in an 11 percent tax hike in one year in Washington Township. We look forward to putting our record before voters on Tuesday.”
Krickus is one of seven Republicans who will be facing off in Tuesday’s primary.