Inside Ocean County Government

Little Egg Harbor

Gilmore Attorney Demands Investigation Into Sources of Leaked Documents

Robin LaBue

Her boss has been under federal investigation for questions surrounding his tax situation, among other things, but that hasn’t stopped attorney Robin La Bue of the firm Gilmore & Monahan from formally requesting a state investigation into the sources of leaked documents that exposed misconduct in Little Egg Harbor, which were published earlier this year by Ocean County Politics.

Robin La Bue, Esq.

In what may prove to be another questionable expenditure of taxpayer dollars on another investigation, Robin La Bue, Esq. of Ocean County GOP chairman George Gilmore’s law firm, the Little Egg Harbor township attorney, has sent a letter to a trifecta of outside agencies, to include the state Attorney General’s Office, State Commission on Investigation (SCI) and Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato’s office seeking their assistance in ascertaining the sources of leaked documents we published that exposed questionable conduct within the township. Plans to contact the agencies were first revealed in the fall.

Once again, rather than assure the public that the township’s officials are working to prevent reoccurrences of some of the questionable actions described in the leaked documents, the Little Egg administration and its legal counsel instead appear focused on finding the identity(ies) of leaker(s), presumably to put the kibosh on any future whistleblowing activity from inside town hall.

The letter, obtained earlier this week in response to an Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request filed with Little Egg Harbor, saw La Bue list three articles that contained unauthorized confidential information that she believed warranted an investigation.

“The Township Committee is very concerned about an unknown agent jeopardizing the executive privilege, ensuring the protection of its employees, and security going forward and seek to ensure that no more confidential information is released,” La Bue wrote in the letter.

After the allegations of public corruption made within the leaked documents became public, federal agents along with detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office were observed making surprise visits to speak with unidentified individuals at the Little Egg Harbor Administrative Justice Complex, on multiple occasions.

The three articles La Bue didn’t like included the following:

1. Little Egg Harbor Patronage Hire Accused of Sexual Harassment

In this article, we first broke the news of sexual harassment allegations made against Michael Fromosky, the Little Egg Harbor code enforcement officer. Fromosky is a member of Ocean County Freeholder Jack Kelly’s extended family and his repeated hirings have earned the scorn of the county’s nepotism watchers.

GOP Pay-To-Play Law Firm: “No Question” Kelly In-Law Violated Sexual Harassment Policy

La Bue specifically took issue with the fact that in a subsequent article, we published the Citta Holzapfel & Zabarsky law firm’s full investigation, commonly referred to at township meetings as the “Greitz Report” into the allegations against Fromosky, in which they concluded there was “no question” that his actions violated the township’s policy. Read the full story.

2. Little Egg Tax Assessor Kept Township Car in Violation of Contract, Administrator Alleges

In this article, we explored allegations made by township administrator Garrett Loesch in disciplinary documents obtained by OCP. Loesch, by way of a check of the township’s GPS vehicle tracking system, was able to determine that Little Egg Harbor Tax Assessor Joe Sorrentino was keeping his township-issued car at his home overnight, despite that not being a provision currently within his contract as Little Egg Harbor’s tax assessor, according to the documents. Read the full story.

3. Police Chief’s Leaked Email Implicates Fromosky, Kehm in “Reign of Witness Tampering Terror”

Chief Buzby

John Kehm (left) Ray Gormley (right)

The final article mentioned in the letter was a story where we published a leaked copy of an email sent by Little Egg Harbor Police Chief Richard Buzby to Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato, in which he asked for the prosecutor’s assistance in putting an end to what he described as a “reign of witness tampering terror” being orchestrated by Mr. Fromosky (from the first story) and Little Egg Harbor Committeeman John Kehm allegedly conspired to harass the police chief after he investigated potential misconduct by Republican Committeemen John Kehm & Ray Gormley in the township.  Read the full story.

According to the letter, La Bue also printed out copies of the OCP articles in question that were sent to county and state prosecutors.

The “investigation” will likely be fruitless and yield no benefit to the public, due to the extreme difficulty in precisely identifying the source of the leaks and broad protections offered by the First Amendment. As articulated in the so-called “Pentagon Papers” United States Supreme Court case, New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971), news outlets have immunity under the First Amendment to publish leaked documents, provided that the news outlets themselves don’t break the law in the course of obtaining them.

As a reasonable precaution, before publication, Ocean County Politics ensures that documents are scrubbed of metadata that could identify sources, and we make extensive use of the Signal by Open Whisper Systems encrypted phone call / messaging app to communicate with sources to ensure guaranteed confidentiality, and provide plausible deniability to sources since calls and texts are routed by way of an encrypted internet tunnel and won’t appear on phone bills / records, even if subpoenaed.

We also employ other undisclosed methods to protect sources, but they will not be discussed in the context of this article.

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