$10K mistake on Jay Gillian’s campaign report

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OCEAN CITY — Whether $10,000 from a candidate’s father is a loan or a gift to his re-election campaign has become a hot issue in this year’s Ocean City mayor’s race.  

Mayor Jay Gillian notified local media Thursday that he incorrectly reported a $10,000 loan from his father to his re-election campaign as a donation.

The legal limit of a donation from a candidate committee in New Jersey is $2,600.

On Thursday, Ed Price, Gillian’s challenger in the Tuesday, May 13, election, slammed Gillian. In a prepared statement, Price’s campaign said, “The issue has nothing to do with the city directly but goes to the mayor’s attitude and disregard for the law.”

Price said the money could have been returned within 48 hours. He called it an “attempt to buy the election” and said “there is no excuse for this action.”

In a short statement released on May 8, Gillian said he has filed an amended report with the state Election Law Enforcement Commission. He said he contacted ELEC immediately after discovering the mistake.

“I have said from the beginning of my campaign that I did not intend to accept contributions and that remains the case,” he said in a prepared statement. Gillian did not immediately respond to a request for an interview.

It seemed that Price’s statement was released before Gillian’s, which came out at 3 p.m.

The most recent election financing report, filed with the state on May 2 and recently made public, Gillian shows a $10,000 contribution on April 22 from his father, former Ocean City Mayor Roy Gillian, identified in the public document as retired and living in Florida.

In his prepared statement, Price said the state is unlikely to take any action of rule on the filing until after the election. He said all candidates were giving information detailing the law, and said there is no excuse for Gillian accepting the donation.

“I have made my campaign one of ideas and how we can do better as a community.  I have purposely resisted bringing up past sins and issues of the Gillian administration illustrating their ability to circumvent established rules and regulations.  Unfortunately an issue has arisen that clearly shows Mayor Gillian’s lack of respect for the law and one that I believe the voters of Ocean City should be aware of before the election,” said Price.

In previous interviews, after the first campaign financing report of the election, Gillian has said he was considering accepting a loan from a family member. But while the campaign finance forms include a section for loans in excess of $300, the $10,000 is listed under donations.

Gillian’s only other campaign contribution, included in the prior filing, is $25,000 given to his own campaign.

He spent most of that on the election already. The report shows cumulative spending of $23,989 for Gillian in this reporting period.

The most recent finance report from the Price campaign shows a total of $15,345 for the election, including $6,624 in this reporting period. Most of that money came from donations of $300 or less, which is below the state’s rules for identifying the donor.

In this report, Price shows no cash contributions over $300, but does report an in-kind donation of a billboard advertisement, worth $1,475.

The report shows Price spent $8,920 on the election so far.

The report shows Price spent $2,590 on printing and mailing services with Edmunds Direct Mail, and $2,189 on advertisement with the Ocean City Sentinel.

Gillian’s report shows $588 spent with the Sentinel, and $817 with The Gazette, with the largest amount in this filing going to MC Signs of Ocean City, spending $4,000 on signs. He spent an additional $1,000 on advertising with Interstate of Cherry Hill.

Gillian also spent $4,350 on consulting with Jamestown Associates of Princeton, a Republican-tied campaign consultant and $3,905 more with that company for creative design, set up and printing.

Campaign reports can be reviewed at www.elec.state.nj.us/

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