Ocean County Politics

Inside Ocean County Government

Little Egg Harbor, Pay-to-play

Leaked Documents: Remington Engineers Paid Off Embattled Former MUA Boss With Pricey Sports Tickets

Little Egg Harbor MUA's sign (Photo by Gavin Rozzi)

How far will Ocean County’s politically connected public contractors go to keep their lucrative professional services contracts? Engineering firm Remington, Vernick & Vena allegedly had to buy sports tickets with company money for David Johnson, the embattled former executive director of the Little Egg Harbor MUA, presumably in order to keep their contract, according to leaked police documents obtained by Ocean County Politics.

David Johnson

David Johnson

Alan Dittenhofer

Alan Dittenhofer

Engineering firm Remington, Vernick & Vena has a reputation of giving generously to many of Ocean County’s Republican candidates, but according to a police intelligence report authored by Little Egg Harbor Police Chief Richard Buzby, they’ve been giving out a little more than the usual vig campaign contributions, according to documents we’ve obtained.

Earlier this year, we reported that the Toms River-based Remington firm was cited as the largest business entity donor to candidates around New Jersey by the state Election Law Enforcement Commision (ELEC).

Report: MUA Director Johnson Given Sports Tickets 

According to Chief Buzby’s intelligence report, the Remington firm’s Alan Dittenhofer, who serves as the MUA’s engineer, was for years provided with a “long list of expensive expensive entertainment tickets,” which were required to be provided to then-MUA executive director Johnson, who after being the highest paid MUA director in Ocean County, retired in the midst of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by a former MUA employee. 

Buzby’s report said that witnesses revealed the arrangement saw Remington, Vernick & Vena expend company funds to purchase the tickets, which were then given to Mr. Johnson, presumably to ensure they keep their contract as the Little Egg Harbor MUA’s engineering firm.

“These lists required four tickets for each event,” Buzby wrote. Mr. Johnson specified “premium conditions” he wanted along with the tickets, to include box seating in prime locations, all paid for with company money.

Free Tickets Stopped In 2013 After Learning Of FBI Investigation

Chief Buzby’s report said that Mr. Johnson stopped demanding the sports tickets after he learned of an active FBI investigation into the affairs of the Little Egg Harbor MUA, according to statements made by Mr. Dittenhofer.

A confidential informant cooperating with authorities during the 2013 investigation into the MUA corroborated these claims in previous interviews, according to the Buzby report.

“[Confidential Informant], in one of his interviews stated to investigators that Johnson regularly attended sports events in Philadelphia using very expensive box seating,” according to Buzby.

The informant said that the seats were frequented by Mr. Johnson so often that MUA employees came to believe that they were actually owned by the municipal utilities authority, which was not the case.

Mr. Dittenhofer would not confirm or deny the allegations presented in the report, as attempts to reach him for comment were not immediately returned.

See the full report:

 

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