POINT PLEASANT BEACH — A police investigation of alleged mishandling of funds from a senior committee boat cruise in 2021 resulted in a finding that there had been “no theft” or “nefarious activity,” Borough Administrator Christine Riehl told the borough council Tuesday.
Ms. Riehl said she shared the investigation’s conclusion that the discrepancy was caused by sloppy handling of transactions aboard the boat, which were not properly recorded.
“It was strictly crappy, sloppy recordkeeping by everyone involved,” Ms. Riehl said.
She told The Ocean Star that she was notified of the discrepancy on Oct. 20, 2022, and met with Police Chief Robert Kowalewski the same day. The investigation by police detectives began the next day, Oct. 21. 2022.
Ms. Riehl provided the explanation during the council’s Oct. 17 meeting because social media postings alleging wrongdoing in connection with the boat cruise had prompted an angry statement by Mayor Paul Kanitra during the meeting.
The mayor cited “unhinged lunatic theories” resulting in allegations against Councilwoman Caryn Byrnes, who was the council’s liaison to the Golden Gulls seniors group.
Ms. Byrnes denied any wrongdoing and declined to comment further following the meeting.
The mayor’s statement set off a tense exchange with Larry Schwartz, the Democratic candidate in a three-way race against Ms. Byrnes and Art Gant, both Republicans, for two seats on the Nov. 7 ballot.
Mr. Kanitra is currently a Republican candidate for State Assembly in New Jersey’s 10th legislative district. He attributed the Facebook posts to Mr. Schwartz’s campaign.
Mr. Schwartz denied that he had personally posted the allegations but defended the relevance of the matter to the current election. The Facebook post or posts in question have been deleted and are no longer available.
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