Campaign finance reports show that the political committee opposing the BYOB initiative in the May 8 election has far more money to spend than the group supporting BYOB.
The Committee to Preserve Ocean City lists $11,556 in contributions on its required 29-day pre-election report, while the Friends of Shop, Dine and Play in Ocean City list $3,846.75.
The committees are campaigning on opposite sites of a public ballot question in the May 8 municipal election. The public will vote on an ordinance that would allow diners to bring their own beer or wine to restaurants in Ocean City, where "Bring Your Own Bottle" (BYOB) is prohibited.
The 29-day reports were released by the state on Monday, April 16, and at the time neither committee had filed a complete report.
The Committee to Preserve Ocean City filed a report that showed no detail on contributions or expenses. Committee Treasurer Ken Cooper said he mailed the complete report later last week, but it was returned as undeliverable. He said he sent the report again by overnight mail on Monday. The state Election Law Enforcement Commission had not posted the new report as of Wednesday, but Cooper provided a copy to Ocean City Patch.
The Friends of Shop, Dine and Play had filed no report in time for deadline. They submitted a complete report later last week, and the state posted it on Monday morning.
ELEC requires candidates and political committees to file reports identifying anybody who makes a contribution greater than $300 or a cash contribution of any amount. Political committees must disclose all expenditures, regardless of amount.
"The essence of democracy is an informed electorate," ELEC says in its mission statement. "It is the fulfillment of this goal that the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) embraces as its valued mission."
Committee to Preserve Ocean City
The political committee opposing the BYOB initiative lists $2,138 in contributions of $300 or less, and $9,418 in donations greater than $300 and cash donations.
Among the committee's major contributors are five members of the Ocean City Tabernacle Association Board of Trustees (who donated as individuals). The Tabernacle's roots stretch to the Methodist ministers who founded Ocean City as a religious retreat and dry town. The current trustees who donated include:
- Mary Anne Kull: Kull made separate contributions of $1,000 and $4,000. The Richard and Mary Anne Kull Youth Center at the Ocean City Tabernacle was named in 2008 in honor of its benefactors. The Kulls have donated generously also to Shore Memorial Hospital, the Ocean City Theatre Company and other local organizations, along with Republican candidates including Frank LoBiondo.
- Eric Hostvedt: Hostvedt donated $1,000. He is owner of HPI Sales LLC of Doylestown, Pa.
- Todd Chamberlain: The CEO of Masters Legacy Planning of Linwood, NJ, donated $598.
- Gena Willard: The accountant from Doylestown, PA, donated $300.
- Louis M. Walters: The president of Atlantic City Sewerage Co. made two donations of $250 apiece.
Other contributors included former Mayor Henry "Bud" Knight ($500) and Crab Trap Restaurant owner Kenneth Wallace ($1,000). The Crab Trap is a popular Somers Point restaurant with a liquor license just on the other side of the Route 52 causeway.
The committee lists $4,827.53 in expenses, paying Signal Graphics for postcards and a mailing. The committee shows a closing balance (at the time of the report) of $6,728.47.
Friends of Shop, Dine and Play in Ocean City
The political committee supporting the BYOB initiative lists $885 in contributions of $300 or less, $500 in donations greater than $300 and an in-kind contribution of $2,423.75.
The committee's contributors include:
- Leslie Skibo: The retiree and president of Community Art Projects donated $500.
- Jeff Sutherland: The committee's attorney made an in-kind contribution of legal services worth $2,423.75
The committee's expenses include $640 for advertising on Ocean City Patch, and the committee lists a closing cash balance of $727.54.
Required 11-day pre-election reports are due on Friday, April 27, and ELEC is scheduled to release the reports the following week.