The former mayor of Ocean Gate, Ocean County, has pleaded guilty to the crime of pattern of official misconduct and now potentially faces three years behind bars.

Authorities say when 66-year-old Paul Kennedy is sentenced on December 8th, besides the potential prison sentence, he will not be able to hold public office or employment ever again in New Jersey.

The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office says the charges are the result of an investigation that revealed Kennedy, in his capacity as Mayor of the Borough of Ocean Gate, failed to turn over proceeds from the sale of borough assets, sold via, and instead took possession of those proceeds for his own personal benefit.

Kennedy also failed to deposit borough parking meter funds in the borough’s bank account and he sold borough office furniture through a private Facebook Marketplace account, attempting to keep the proceeds for his personal benefit, according to authorities.

On March 18th of last year, Kennedy was charged with official misconduct and theft. After surrendering, he was released on a summons pending future appearances in Ocean County Superior Court.

Continuing investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Professional Standards/Corruption Unit and Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Economic Crime Squad determined that Kennedy collected cash from the sale of scrap metal originating in the Borough Recycling Center, and then failed to turn the proceeds over to the Borough. Likewise, as Mayor, Kennedy converted funds donated by contributors to “Friends of Ocean Gate” for his re-election campaign, as well as the campaign of his running mates, for his personal benefit.

As a consequence, Kennedy was also charged with additional counts of official misconduct and on May 4th, 2022, Kennedy, again, surrendered at the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office and he was, again, released on a summons.

Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley Billhimer thanked the Ocean Gate Police Department and the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office for their collaborative efforts in connection with this investigation.

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