ELIZABETH — It appears city police, fire and municipal employees have been contributing heavily to Mayor Chris Bollwage’s campaign fund, according to state Election Law Enforcement Commission Reports for just one year.
A review of four quarters of ELEC reports in 2011 and 2012 revealed that in a 12-month period, Bollwage raised $270,358 in donations over $300.
However, this does not show the full picture because donations less than $300 do not have to be reported. This means money raised could be significantly higher and show a more complete picture of what was contributed financially to his campaign effort.
Of the $270,358 raised in donations, $57,585 came from city employees, including police, firemen and municipal employees.
These same individuals, according to information obtained by LocalSource from ELEC reports, contributed a total of $132,285 over the previous three and a half years.
In fact, according to documents obtained from a fire department source, employees promoted in 2012 contributed $17,300, with one detective and family members giving over $4,400, while one fire chief and his wife contributed over $3,700 that year.
Fire unions, both local and statewide, have donated to Bollwage as well. ELEC records for 2012 also show discrepancies, though.
For instance, the New Jersey State FMBA made a $2,000 contribution on Aug. 30, 2011 and another on Dec. 20, 2011 for $1,500. This showed up on the Jan. 15, 2012 ELEC report as a total donation by the state FMBA of $2,600, rather than the $3,500 to which they add up.
Contributions by the Elizabeth Fire Officers Association through Sept. 30, 2012, came to $2,400, but on an ELEC report that followed, another contribution of $1,500 was reported.
This should have brought the new total to $3,900. However, the report submitted to ELEC for Jan. 15, 2012, by Bollwage, showed a total amount of $2,600, not $3,900.
Given the fact there is a $2,600 limit per election period, this appears deceptive and is being questioned by the ELEC commission.
According to ELEC reports filed by Bollwage since 2008, there were three firefighters who donated the most money to the mayor’s campaign fund, including Fire Director Onofrio Vitullo, $2,400, Firefighter Thomas McNamara $2,325 and Fire Captain Walter Clarke, Jr. $1,500.
In addition, the fire chief gave $2,325 and Police Director James Cosgrove, his wife and son, contributed a total of $5,500. The Elizabeth PBA also gave $2,600 and directors and management personnel at city hall contributed $18,150.
The total amount donated by fire department personnel in 2012 came to $20,800, with the total amount contributed since 2008 coming in at $35,600.
According to ELEC records, police department personnel, including uniformed officers, contributed a total of $46,100; fire employees, including uniformed firemen, contributed $16,950; and city employees contributed $45,410. The total from all three divisions of city government came to $108,460 in 2012.
Other fire department personnel made contributions totaling $6,100 in 2012. Battalion fire Captain Robert Inderwies contributed $2,250 and later was promoted. Nine other members of the department who contributed amounts ranging from $300 to $1,550 in 2012 were also promoted that year. The nine fire department contributors also were also promoted, according to internal memos obtained by LocalSource.
Some of the major contractors and professional firms doing business with the city also contributed to Bollwage’s campaign in 2012, including $2,025 from Waste Management, a statewide garbage hauler; Workforce Advantage, $2,600; Cleveland Tire, $3,200; Elberon Development, $2,800; Elizabeth Auto Glass, $3,500; Harbor consultants, $4,350; Legal firm of Hehl and Hehl, $2,150; Highway Towing, $6,500; $6,000 from attorney Edward Kologi and members of his family; $8,650 from LaCorte, Bundy Varady Linsel; M and M Construction, $2,100; Mal, $3,600; Netta Architects, $2,300; Alfonso and Alfonso, $3,975; Cecchoni and Chelfitz, $2,850; Hatch McDonald, $875; Londa and Londa, $2,250; MAR, $1,850; Mely Mei Productions, $2,600; and Nobel Equipment, $1,150.