Toms River GOP Leader Rips Maruca Primary Challenger’s Team as “Anarchists” After $14m Firehouse Referendum Fails

TOMS RIVER – Republican Club President Robert DiBiase joined with school board member Christopher Raimann in expressing outrage at a Republican primary challenger over the outcome of a Saturday referendum where voters rejected a proposed $14m firehouse plan, in an email sent to Republican Club members and obtained from a GOP source Monday.

Christopher Raimann

Robert DiBiase

A memo sent by a Toms River school board member and endorsed by township Republican Club President Robert DiBiase appears to place significant blame on a Ward 1 GOP primary challenger for this weekend’s defeat of a controversial fire district referendum in Toms River.

Toms River fire commissioners along with Fire District Administrator Brian Kubiel, who is also a Republican councilman, proposed a new plan to consolidate two Toms River fire companies under the roof of a brand new, 33,000 square foot, 3-story firehouse to be built on a municipal parking lot.

In a Saturday special election, District 1’s voters overwhelmingly voted to reject the proposal in a 535 – 306 vote.

Both of the Ward 1 Republican primary challengers, Chris Grimes and Justin Lamb, made public statements opposing the $14 million plan leading up to the special election. Lamb made an effort to aggressively campaign against the referendum and call voters to encourage them to vote against the multi-million dollar proposal.

Unlike her campaign surrogates, Councilwoman Maria Maruca’s campaign Facebook page was silent about the Saturday referendum or its outcome.

Raimann: Don’t Take Lamb Lightly

Republican primary candidate Justin Lamb

In the memo, Raimainn, a member of the Toms River Board of Education’s Republican minority, cautioned that Ward 1 Republican primary candidate Justin Lamb is not to be taken lightly by Toms River’s Republican establishment following the township council primary challenger’s advocacy of the firehouse referendum’s defeat.

“As most of you are [a]ware the vote for a new and much needed fire house was defeated due to misinformation (lies) being put out in the news and on social media,” Raimann, a supporter of incumbent Toms River Councilwoman Maria Maruca wrote.

The school board member placed blame with Lamb for the referendum’s defeat.

“Moving forward, no one should take Mr. Lamb lightly and his stretching of the truth is hurting the township and our fire fighters [sic],” Raimann wrote in an email communication that was forwarded by DiBiase to Republican Club members.

Raimann took issue with Lamb’s vocal criticism of the financial details of the failed $14 million referendum.

“Mr. Lamb who is running for Ward 1 put out false information which led people, specifically on the island to believe a huge tax increase was coming. In truth the annual tax bill would be only 35 per year,” Raimann, an employee of the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department claimed.

Lamb’s criticism of the firehouse plan centered on, among other things, the reliance by proponents on numbers based on the “average” cost to Fire District 1 taxpayers for the proposal. Lamb claimed that many homes in Ward 1 fall above that figure, resulting in a “disproportionate tax impact.”

The primary challenger previously decried the proposal as “astronomical” in an article written on his campaign Facebook page.

The race has already become contentious, with Republican Club President Robert DiBiase hurling accusations about Lamb’s residency due to his voting history in a statement that was exclusively provided to the Asbury Park Press. Last week, the other Republican primary challenger, Chris Grimes, took aim at DiBiase after he allegedly pushed him not to run.

“This memo is one of many I have received and agree with since the Fire House vote,” DiBiase wrote of Raimann’s statement in an email sent to Republican Club members. “We will continue to expose them as the anarchists they are!”

For his part, Lamb brushed off the “anarchist” label in a statement to OCP Monday.

“While we could only speculate over the TR GOP’s silence over this backdoor tax increase prior to the Saturday’s vote, this latest revelation from this surrogate shows they have been in full support of a huge tax increase all along,” the council candidate said of DiBiase’s email.

“As a volunteer fireman myself, I fully support the firemen of Toms River,” Lamb added.  “However, I will always keep my promise to the taxpayers to bring real transparency and change to Toms River.”

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Gavin Rozzi

Gavin Rozzi

Gavin Rozzi is the editor of Ocean County Politics and a lifelong Ocean County resident, residing in Lacey Township. Gavin's work centers on the intersection of money and politics in Ocean County, with a focus on public corruption. He can be reached via email at editor@politicsoc.com or via phone at (848)-667-0840 or on encrypted phone / text app Signal.

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  • SeasideMaria

    Raimann, up and coming Gilmore puppet. Thought he was next in line for council spot, must be jealous of Lamb! Public silence from council and GOP before vote. Why?? Tough to claim conservative credentials when advocating for gross govt waste. RINO alert 🚨!

    • guest

      What is Lambs voting record in Toms River?

      • SeasideMaria

        What’s Maria’s voting record on tax increases?

        • guest

          I asked first. I will make it easier , did he ever vote in Toms River?

          • SeasideMaria

            Guess you’re not on bowtie bobs email chain, you missed the memo about that half crocked smear campaign not working. No he hasn’t voted but who would he vote for anyway? Maria never ran against anyone. That $500 she spent on the media consultant ain’t cutting it! Raimann to the rescue! He smells blood in the water, making a power move for himself.

          • guest

            Yes just what I thought he NEVER EVER even BOTHERED TO vote in the town he is running in. LMAO We will leave it at that.

          • Mac

            Perhaps your lifetime voting record praises and successes are the reason so many people in Toms River seldom, if ever, vote. Lamb’s entry into this race may go a long way, by itself even, in finally overcoming this often noted national tragedy.

          • Halley

            Mac, I actually have no use for any of the current crop. However I am not running for office, and if I was, I probably, or most likely, would want to at least have voted maybe once in the town that I’m running in. I get it and understand what you’re saying. But, I am not running for office, this man is, and he has absolutely never voted in Toms River.

          • Im Trump the 25 mil FRAUD

            Vote for anyone not associated with Happy Gilmore

          • Mac

            I hope he voted in this firehouse election at least.

          • Halley

            That is a good point, if he did vote, it would be his first in Toms River.

    • panacea

      10 minutes to Wapner.

  • Tommy p

    $14 million for a fucking firehouse???? Glad the people said enough!

  • llewellynh

    No point in building anything with so many empty malls and retail strips around. Shop for the best price and the taxpayers will be ahead of the game. However, the public ought to know up front just who the seller is and what if any connections he or she has to the entrenched political establishment.

    • Roger Houston

      Good idea!

  • Roger Houston

    there isn’t a piece of fire equipment in Ortley Beach. You know, where Toms River is allowing 35′ tall 5-bedroom vinyl tenements to be built. Not to mention the cars associated with those whoppers parked crazily along the street in the summer, potentially blocking large vehicle access, as in fire trucks. Seaside generally responds (volunteer fireman are as noble as it gets) to Ortley Beach. The Toms River building department websites flowchart for an existing home elevation shows plenty of paths for the town to nickel & dime homeowners/builders, yet when it comes to fire prevention and the safety of volunteers the pertinent box reads – “Fire Subcode Inspection: None”. Tell me about the wisdom of the ‘leaders’ of Toms River. Vote them out

    • Gary Puckett

      This entire shamozzle does not pass the smell test. The recent resignation last month of the Toms River Republican Club Chairman that lives in Seaside no less, the defeat of this referendum Saturday plus numerous odious embellishments of the current crop of incumbents in Toms River is ominous. What to do, what to do?

      • guest

        Don’t you worry your pretty little head my dear. The former club Chairman is now running the Toms River M.U.A with his former Brick boss and current accounting partner , as Chairmen of the Utilities Authority TR. Now that’s the ticket. Leave one position and they give you another. “What about Bob” is now holding the reigns at the club level trying to get the troops out for the upcoming primary.

  • Karen Deak Colyer

    It’s appalling to me that as a taxpayer and resident of Chadwick Beach, neither I nor any of my neighbors was notified that this special election was even taking place on 5/13/17. If it weren’t for Justin Lamb passing along this information to us residents in Ward 1, we would NOT have known to vote. Voting location on Kittiwake in Lavallette offered limited voting hours, displayed not a single sign indicating a vote was taking place, and the voting booths were virtually hidden behind the fire trucks. Everything about this was sneaky – shame on Toms River and its current “leadership.” Whether or not we agreed with the merits of this proposal, at least Justin Lamb let us know this vote was taking place and gave us the opportunity to voice our opinion and exercise our right to VOTE.

  • Mac

    Oh no! Say it’s not so! No $14M firehouse bonanza. WARNING: Big reduction in this year’s GOP campaign contributions both possible and probable. No wonder the GOP chiefs are in such a lather. Not only is the traditional flow of money taking a hit, but more concerning is the thought that the sheep might actually be starting to pay attention. That is no good for them but it is good for us. Three hundred years without a new thought is long enough. The time for a change is now.

    • Im Trump the 25 mil fraud

      How is Happy Gilmore? Still under investigation? Any more liens?
      Cost estimate for the Sunrise Beach drive way expansion?
      Whos owns the land locked property west of the road?
      Send in the drone

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  • Guest

    This LAmb guy is bringing this weak and outdated club to its knees…a little competition is a great thing

    • guest

      For the past years they have let that club be run that way “weak and outdated”, even with the new Chairman I doubt it will be new and improved.

    • Gilford

      Has mr. lamb ever voted in Toms River?

      • guest

        Nope

        • Im Trump the 25 mil FRAUD

          Can Happy Gilmore vote from Jail?
          Take the deal happy and send most of the Republicons of Ocean to jail in your place

  • Not Sandy’s Friend

    “Anarchists”?!? Call them what you will, but the fact is people on the barrier island are fed up with being treated like Toms River’s stepchild.
    What would you expect- another raise in taxes for a building which will provide not an iota of safety here. Perhaps if even one of the powers-that-be was a resident of the island, they might understand the frustration resulting from decisions made by people who have little knowledge (and disregard residents’ opinions) of what is needed here. What benefits the mainland doesn’t always apply on the barrier island.

  • Pingback: Toms River GOP Primary Challenger: I ‘Stood Up’ to $14M Firehouse Plan | Toms River Shorebeat()

  • CJIS

    Which one illegally accessed state database first, the DMV employee or the guy in charge of the sheriffs radio room? Inquiring minds want to know.

    • guest

      What you talking bout Willis?