Stafford’s Newly Appointed Law Firm Besmirched By Ocean County GOP Chairman George Gilmore’s Federal Indictment

By VICTORIA FORD | Jan 11, 2019
George R. Gilmore

Not 10 days after his firm was appointed as Stafford Township municipal attorney, George Gilmore of Gilmore and Monahan, chairman of both the Ocean County GOP and Board of Elections, was indicted by a federal grand jury on six counts of tax evasion and fraud.

According to the indictment, prepared and signed by U.S. Attorney Rachael Honig, Gilmore’s personal expenses exceeded $2.5 million between 2014 and 2016, while in calendar years 2013, 2014 and 2015, his taxes reported due and owing were approximately $500,000, $321,000 and $311,000, respectively.

“Based on the taxes Gilmore reported on Form 1040s, he owed the IRS approximately $1,520,329 in total taxes, penalties and interest for calendar years 2013 through 2015,” the indictment reads.

Ocean County Freeholder Jack Kelly has publicly vouched for Gilmore, whom he has known and trusted for decades, describing him as a truthful man. Gilmore’s attorney, Kevin Marino, has told reporters he looks forward to Gilmore’s vindication at trial.

Stafford Township Mayor Greg Myhre did not comment on Gilmore directly but spoke highly of Jean Cipriani, the attorney from Gilmore’s firm who handles the town’s legal matters.

“(Cipriani) has been doing a great job and is widely admired by her peers in the legal community,” Myhre said. “I don’t have any comment on Mr. Gilmore’s personal legal situation. However, we will continually assess the performance of all township appointments to ensure that Stafford Township taxpayers get the best representation at all times.”

One of the “affirmative acts of tax evasion” as outlined in the indictment was Gilmore’s bounced check to the IRS. He submitted a check for almost half a million dollars to pay his tax liability, drawn on a personal bank account containing $2,500. The check was returned due to insufficient funds, and Gilmore never submitted any further payment.

Another point of scrutiny has been his extravagant lifestyle, as characterized in the indictment by his spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on antiques; finely appointed home remodeling projects; artwork and collectibles, including animal tusks, a Steinway piano and model trains; and lavish vacations, all while under federal investigation for his debt to the IRS, with liens on several of his properties.

“From in or about January 2014 to in or about December 2016, defendant Gilmore also borrowed over $1,700,000 from professional associates, friends, and law firm clients, and obtained approximately $572,000 from OceanFirst Bank N.A. from the cash-out portion of a home mortgage loan that he refinanced,” according to the court document.

The first of six counts deals with the acts of evasion; the second and third are filing false returns, i.e. underreporting income; counts four and five are “failure to collect, account for and pay over payroll taxes”; and count six is lying on an application to refinance a mortgage loan through OceanFirst, by answering “no” to the question about outstanding federal debts, in order to receive a half-million-dollar cash payout.

Gilmore faces a maximum of 30 years in prison and fines of more than $1 million.

In an unrelated but parallel matter concerning Stafford Township’s professional appointments, following the Jan. 1 Stafford Township reorganization meeting, a question arose about the contracting of safety/risk management firm JA Montgomery to perform an operational assessment and to help recruit and hire a new township administrator to replace James Moran.

“It is common practice for new management to hire outside firms for objective analysis,” Myhre explained. “Paul Shives of JA Montgomery has been an administrator for three similar-sized towns in Ocean and Monmouth counties and has been an invaluable asset. We look forward to his report and recommendations.”

Shives served as Stafford township administrator for a number of years.

— Victoria Ford

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