Inside Ocean County Government

Opinion, Waretown

Roche: “Special Deal” for GOP Candidate LoParo “Reeks of Improprieties”

a Ben LoParo campaign sign

WARETOWN –  Libertarian candidate Mike Roche – the sole challenger to GOP township committee nominee Ben LoParo – alleges in this op-ed that a deal between a GOP-aligned property manager and his opponent has resulted in the mysterious disappearance of his campaign signs, while LoParo’s have stayed up.

TO THE EDITOR: I am writing today to discuss a perceived impropriety on the part of my opponent in the race for Waretown Township Committee. The issue involves campaign signs of mine that went missing in our local Shop Rite Plaza.

My opponent and I both had placed signs in the plaza here in town. I had over a half dozen signs go missing. I inquired with the GM of Shop Rite, as well as the property manager for Coastal Redevelopment Group, the plaza landlord. I was assured by both that my signs were not officially removed, and that the unofficial policy was that if they did not get caught in the middle of any turmoil that the signs could stay.

Guided accordingly, I filed a police report for my missing signs. I was informed two hours later that the police interviewed the owner of Coastal Redevelopment Group. I was told that he had given Mr. LoParo permission to place signs around the plaza, while also ordering all other signs to be removed.

a Ben LoParo campaign sign

a Ben LoParo campaign sign

Mr. LoParo is a tenant of Coastal Redevelopment. He also has been a member of the Planning Board for years, the same board of which Coastal Redevelopment currently has a matter before. I believe he may have recused himself from the last vote, but no matter, the board is controlled by the local Republican Club of which Mr. LoParo is a member, and representative candidate. He still carries great influence, even in the absence of a vote, via the club that runs the Planning Board.

The LoParo office

The LoParo office

Today I take my case to the people. I think it reeks of improprieties that a special deal was cut for Mr. LoParo and his signs. A deal that his landlord property manager, and the GM for the anchor store for the plaza had no knowledge of prior to my inquiry.

I ask the public at large today: Do you think it is proper for a developer to support a sitting member of the local planning board in their campaign for public office? Is it appropriate for the candidate to accept that support to gain an unfair advantage in the election?

Stop the nonsense. Vote Column D November 8th

Michael Roche

Libertarian Candidate for Ocean Township Committee

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