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Ocean County GOP boss George Gilmore to give up public jobs – Asbury Park Press


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Political friends and foes alike react to the news that George Gilmore has been convicted of failing to pay payroll taxes and submitting a false bank loan application.
Erik Larsen and Jean Mikle, Wochit

TOMS RIVER – An attorney for Ocean County political boss George R. Gilmore said late Thursday that he will resign from his public offices in the wake of his conviction this week on three federal tax charges. 

Earlier, a spokeswoman for New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said the state would seek to remove Gilmore from “all public positions,” after a jury found Gilmore guilty of failing to pay payroll taxes and falsifying a bank loan application.

“I can confirm that the Attorney General’s Office will be pursuing the forfeiture of all public positions held by Mr. Gilmore,” said Sharon Lauchaire, a spokeswoman for Grewal.

“George is stepping away from those positions voluntarily, pending a decision on his post-trial motion. We are working with the AG’s office on a stipulation to that effect now,’’ said Kevin Marino, Gilmore’s criminal defense attorney.

Gilmore has served as chairman of the Ocean County Board of Elections since 1995.

As a partner in Gilmore & Monahan of Toms River, his law firm has more than $2 million in taxpayer-funded government contracts. The firm represents municipalities such as Seaside Heights, Stafford, Jackson, Berkeley, Little Egg Harbor and Plumsted. The firm also represents the South Jersey Transportation Authority, which has oversight of the Atlantic City Expressway and Atlantic City International Airport.

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However, Lauchaire said the Attorney General’s Office could not immediately say whether Gilmore’s firm’s legal contracts represented “public positions.”

George Gilmore’s political friends and foes alike react to his conviction, in the video above. 

Gilmore has also served as chairman of the Ocean County Republican Party since 1996, from which most of his power and influence stems. Under his leadership, the county GOP organization has evolved into the seat of Republican power in New Jersey.

More: George Gilmore tax trial: Pressure builds on Ocean County GOP leader to resign

More: George Gilmore tax trial: Ocean County GOP leader guilty on three of six counts

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A federal jury in Gilmore’s tax trial Wednesday found Gilmore not guilty of filing false tax returns and was unable to reach a decision on perhaps the most serious charge against him, that he evaded income taxes in 2013, 2014 and 2015 — but convicted him on one count of filing the false bank loan application and two counts of failure to pay payroll taxes for the first two quarters of 2016 for employees at the firm.

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It is unclear if the U.S. Attorney’s Office will seek to retry Gilmore on the tax evasion charge. He is scheduled to be sentenced on July 23 and faces a maximum sentence of 40 years in federal prison and fines totaling $1.5 million.

After his conviction Wednesday, several of Gilmore’s close political allies began to publicly question whether he could continue in his public roles even as his attorney vowed to appeal the convictions.

Marino had made clear in the immediate aftermath of the verdict that Gilmore had no plans to resign from his position of county chairman.

More: Ocean County GOP leader bought $33K George Washington statue

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Former Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato, who was Gilmore’s choice for the Republican nomination for mayor of Toms River in the June 4 primary, was among those local GOP leaders who called on Gilmore to step down.

“As a former prosecutor, I have the utmost respect for our legal system,” Coronato said. “While I am deeply saddened by this news on a personal level and respect his constitutional right to appeal the verdict, I am hopeful George does what is best for the party and steps aside as chairman while he continues his legal fight.”

Gilmore, who lives in Toms River, was key last month to ensuring that Coronato received the coveted — Regular Republican Organization of Ocean County — official line on the primary ballot.

Toms River Councilmen Maurice B. “Mo” Hill Jr. and Daniel T. Rodrick, who are also seeking the Republican nomination for mayor in the primary, both called on Gilmore to resign as party chair.

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Jean Mikle: 732-643-4050, @jeanmikle, jmikle@gannettnj.com; Erik Larsen: 732-682-9359, @Erik_Larsen, elarsen@gannettnj.com

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