brian unger

Unger: Dwek drama ginned up Schneider support

LONG BRANCH - After absorbing a Tuesday pounding from Mayor Adam Schneider, Councilman Brian Unger credited the 20-year incumbent with running a strategically sound campaign, and admitted to failures within his own operation.

"Long Branch is south of the Driscoll Bridge," said Unger, who received 1,610 or 35.34 percent to Schneider's 2,476 or 54.45 percent. "It is urban, but it's south of the bridge. Adam put together a tremendous ticket that did very well. I made the classic error of using outside consultants, who alienated grassroots advisors. I'm afraid that happened. I did not run the grassroots campaign I would have wanted."

In his campaign pieces, Schneider tagged Unger as "Lyin' Brian," arguing that his challenger was ill-suited to serve as mayor. Unger said his campaign never responded effectively.

Five days before Election Day, disgraced developer Solomon Dwek told a federal court that he had used middle men to give bribes to the mayor of Long Branch, a charge Schneider flatly denied.

Previously demoralized Unger allies rejoiced at the timing, and prepared to watch the mayor implode.

It never happened.

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Sources: Long Branch turnout higher than usual

Sources: Long Branch turnout higher than usual
Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider

Sources in the oceanfront city of Long Branch report higher than average turnout.

Mayor Adam Schneider appeared to be taking apart his nemesis piece by piece until bombshell testimony by convicted felon Solomon Dwek threw the mayor's reputation into doubt and bumped him off message.

Running against the independent-minded mayor is Councilman Brian Unger, who has the backing of the Monmouth County Democratic Organization and labor.

Also running is fed-up homeowner Bob Krebs.

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Dwek mailer from Unger camp infuriates Schneider

Dwek mailer from Unger camp infuriates Schneider
Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider

LONG BRANCH - Stung by courtroom testimony made last week by Solomon Dwek, then hit with weekend mail underlining that testimony, embattled Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider today blamed his opponent for presenting the statement of a known thief as the truth in a last minute glossy attempt to win Tuesday's election.

At the federal trial of former Assemblyman Dan Van Pelt last Wednesday, convicted felon Dwek said he gave bribes to the mayor of Long Branch through middle men, a bombshell that the 20-year incumbent Schneider promptly denounced as a lie.

On Saturday, the mayoral campaign of Councilman Brian Unger unleashed mail pieces prepared by campaign consultant Pat Politano, which contained the line, "Breaking news: official federal court documents: Mayor Schneider bribed."

The mayor went ballistic.

“I have instructed my attorney to immediately prepare and serve a demand upon Mr. Unger, and Mr. Politano to retract and publicly apologize for the comments made in relation to Mr. Unger’s last minute attempt to save his failing political campaign," said Schneider. 

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Confined to the redevelopment zone, Krebs tries to find an opening in Schneider v. Unger

Confined to the redevelopment zone, Krebs tries to find an opening in Schneider v. Unger
Bob Krebs in his frontyard, within eye and earshot of Pier Village.

LONG BRANCH - Testimony by disgraced developer Solomon Dwek last week that he offered bribes through middle men to Mayor Adam Schneider outraged Long Branch with just days to go in a municipal election in which Schneider faces two challengers.

Vehemently denying the charges, Schneider is threatening to take legal action against the campaign of Councilman Brian Unger for stirring up the issue in the hours before Election Day.

A third candidate, angry homeowner Robert Krebs, believes he has an opening to win the election with Schneider and Unger battling amid bruising local headlines.

"It's very unfortunate, because eventually the truth is going to come out one way or the other, which it always does," said the candidate, referring to the Dwek story as he faced the ocean on the front lawn of his two-story Victorian that stands in the city's redevelopment zone.

"It's going to start leaking out one way or the other and the public is very distrustful of politicians now because this stuff just keeps coming and coming and coming and they're just tired of it," added Krebs, who has sued the city for refusing to take his property out of an area slated for demolition to make way for newer and more upscale Beachfront South housing to complement the existing Pier Village project.

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Schneider defends his integrity, vows victory

Schneider defends his integrity, vows victory
Schneider fights back. The supporter behind the mayor wears a T-shirt that reads, 'Solomon Dwek is a liar and a thief.'

LONG BRANCH - A day after he learned that disgraced developer Solomon Dwek told a jury he used middle men to dispense bribe money to the "mayor of Long Branch," Mayor Adam Schneider stood in his his campaign headquarters surrounded by friends and supporters and went on offense.

"Seeing people I have worked with and gone to wrestling matches with, people on the planning board and recreation - people with whom I have served at City Hall for 20 years drop whatever they're doing, leave work, cut their calendar short and come out to show their support means the world to me, my wife, my family, my running mates and the people I have worked with... all of whom are not going to stand for our reputation being trashed by a liar and thief," said the mayor.

Moments later, campaign handlers would have to hurry along the testimonials of support for the mayor - there were so many. Now Schneider paced in a headquarters draped with the red, white and blue finery of a campaign stunned by Dwek's Wednesday testimony during the trial of former Assemblyman Dan Van Pelt. 

This coming Tuesday is Election Day, and Schneider faces an aggressive challenge from Councilman Brian Unger.

"I've spent the last 20 years... doing everything we can to make this city the best city we could make it, by working with people who live here, by working with the people who want to live here, and working with investors - and we treasurer that. We've done nothing to embarrass ourselves. We never have and we never will.

"Part of me is so angry about this but part of me is gratified. I'm gratified to know that my friends..."

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Dwek tells court he used a middle man to give bribes to Long Branch mayor, who denies it

Dwek tells court he used a middle man to give bribes to Long Branch mayor, who denies it
Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider

With just days remaining before Election Day in Long Branch, disgraced developer Solomon Dwek threw a political bombshell into the mix when he testified at the corruption trial of former Assemblyman Dan Van Pelt that he gave bribes through a middle man to Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider, who adamantly denies the charge. 

"There were times where I had a middleman make a bribe payment like to the Mayor of Long Branch or council people of Long Branch or sometimes I would give out auction tickets," Dwek told the U.S. District Court of Judge Joel A. Pisano yesterday.

"The Yeshiva would hold a charity auction every year and I would at times give public officials, like council people in Long Branch, primarily it was the council people in Long Branch and others, free auction tickets for their official assistance in expediting my land use applications, my use for my zoning," added Dwek, in testimony transcribed by court reporter Joanne M. Caruso. 

Schneider in the past acknowledged that he took legal campaign contributions from Dwek, an investor convicted for bank fraud in 2006 who subsequently donned a wire for the FBI and helped net dozens of political operatives as part of Operation Bid Rig, including Van Pelt. But Schneider said he severed ties with Dwek eight years ago after consultations with allies.

 

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Schneider has edge in Long Branch fundraising

The two major candidates for mayor of Long Branch are keeping relatively even in fundraising.  Incumbent Adam Schneider, who has been mayor since 1990, has raised $87,118, spent $81,317, and has $5,685 cash on hand.  Unger, a Councilman, has raised $72,351, spent $71,003, and has $1,446 cash on hand, combining individual and team accounts.

A third candidate, Robert Krebs, has raised $4,825, spent $3,620, and has $1,204 remaining.

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The Krebs factor in Long Branch

The Krebs factor in Long Branch
From left: Krebs, Schneider, and Unger

LONG BRANCH - The presence of a third candidate in the mayor's race in a winner-take-all election prompts comparisons to last year's gubernatorial contest, in which incumbent Jon Corzine hoped for third party candidate Chris Daggett to chew away support from under Chris Christie. 

In a three-way contest on paper, Mayor Adam Schneider is pursuing re-election against Councilman Brian Unger (the mayor's arch-rival with a busy campaign headquarters located a block and a half from the mayor's digs) and angry homeowner Robert Krebs.

"I thought he did great at the debate," said Schneider, who wasn't referring to himself in the third person.

He was referring to Krebs.

Schneider and Unger both acknowledge that the lower profile Krebs - if he does anything in terms of generating votes - is likely to help Schneider and drain from Unger.

"We're running on some of the same issues - opposition to the redevelopment project," Unger said.

"People see signs and they think 'candidate,'" said the mayor, who doesn't mind Krebs upping his image to turn a Schneider-Unger showdown long in the making into a legitimate three-way contest.

Unger is convinced at this point that Krebs's presence in the race is the only way the mayor can win re-election.

 

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Post debate spin cycle: Schneider

Post debate spin cycle: Schneider
Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider

LONG BRANCH - Mayor Adam Schneider talked to PolitickerNJ.com after the debate tonight at the Long Branch Middle School.

"Carl Jennings does a great job at recreation. He's on the Martin Luther King guild. He's chairman of the housing authority, as well as being head of the recreation department, and he (Brian Unger) starts talking about how he's going to fire him. I thought that was disgraceful.

"And if you're really that concerned about recreation, you've had three years as a councilman, show up at one event. And he makes a flip comment about, 'well, I have a fulltime job.' I've got a full-time job, I have a family, and I make the time, I've made time over the course of the last 20 years to go to these events, because I care about my town."

Coming back on Unger's wrestling comment again during the debate after his initial reaction, Schneider said later, "It's called a reversal."

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Post debate spin cycle: Unger

Post debate spin cycle: Unger
Long Branch Councilman Brian Unger

LONG BRANCH - Councilman Brian Unger in the Long Branch Middle School auditorium after the mayoral debate, gives his thoughts to PolitickerNJ.com

"It was a great forum for the voters. I thought the mayor was tired. Some of his responses indicated somebody who has been in office 20 years. He spent a lot of time defending his policies. I thought it was odd he wouldn't support an eminent domain ordinance, while in the same breath claiming he would never use it again. And frankly, I was really surprised that he said he was going to increase taxes this year. He didn't say how much, but I think that's a big question.

"There are different ways to be mayor. I don't plan to spend a whole lot of time walking around the middle school and elementary school hallways. I think it's something I would delegate to the school system. I'm not sure how appropriate it is having the mayor asserting himself within the school system that much. I think it's great to be a fan, but it's kind of a symbolic thing. You show up at a game, you're the mayor, but frankly, we have a lot of issues to address other than who won the wrestling match. We've got high taxes, eminent domain. We have a disenfranchised community here in Long Branch. There are things that are lot more serious than high school sports.

"Adam saw fit to go back again and again and again to Pier Village, but frankly the rest of the community doesn't feel that connected. I wanted to talk about what is happening on the other side of Ocean Boulevard. We have six or seven major neighborhoods in the city, and they feel neglected. That's what they're telling us when we go door to door."

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Wake-Up Call

Morning Digest: August 29th

Belmar mayor's race: a wave of post-Sandy project politics stirs up seaside Monmouth borough BELMAR - When Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty rolled out his re-election campaign in February, he did so still basking in the glow of what many residents of the 6,000-person Monmouth County seaside borough saw...

Op-Ed

White House’s Tuition Challenge Being Met in NJ

By MICHAEL W. KLEIN In his weekly radio address on August 16, President Obama challenged colleges “to do their part to bring down costs” and lighten the tuition burden on students.  The state colleges and universities in New Jersey have... Read More >

Contributors

My Republican Hillary Clinton Experience    There is a veritable plethora of reportage in print, internet, television and radio media speculating as to whether Hillary Clinton will seek the Democratic... more »
(8-27-14) All Americans Should Support Gov. Perry - Political prosecutions have no place in American life. Those who use the justice system as they are using it in Texas... more »
(Asbury Park, NJ) -- There's a word for someone who says one thing and does another: hypocrite.  There's no shortage of 'em in Trenton -- from ... more »
 The following letter was sent today to Republican state legislators, county chairs, state committee members, and New Hampshire... more »

Quote of the Day

quote of the day

"Christie’s method for coping with scandal has been more complicated. In January, the seemingly-local issue of lane closings on the George Washington Bridge, which created a massive traffic jam in the Hudson River town of Fort Lee, became one of national interest when it was revealed that one of Christie’s closest staffers had ordered them—for what looked like political retribution against a Democratic mayor. The scandal was quickly dubbed 'Bridgegate,' and unfortunately for Christie, it played into his reputation as a bully. Christie's response was to act unlike himself: humble." - Olivia Nuzzi

- The Daily Beast

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