Category Archives: IRS Tax Exemption

>It Was Grenafege Vs. Scharfenberger In A Heated Exchange During Budget Meeting

>One of the more lively exchanges that took place during Tuesday night’s budget adoption meeting in Middletown, was the heated words that flew around the court house between resident Jim Grenafege and mayor Scharfenberger.

There has been bad-blood between the two that dates back to 2008 when Jim Grenafege ran on the Democratic ticket for a seat on the Middletown Township Committee.

Durning that campaign Scharfenberger, who is a part-time adjunct professor at Monmouth Univeristy, was caught using the Monmouth University’s email system to send out false and misleading campaign information about Grenafege and his running mate to Republicans and their supporters in Middletown.

Scharfenberger’s ethical lapse nearly cost Monmouth University its IRS tax exempt status and was in clear violation of Monmouth University’s Guidelines for Political Activity.

To this day it isn’t exactly clear what disciplinary actions, if any, Monmouth University took against Scharfenberger. And since this time, whenever Jim Grenafege stands in front of the Township Committee to address a concern that troubles him mayor Scharfenberger usually looks away and ignores him, that was until Tuesday night.
Dustin Racippio from the website RedBankGreen.com caught the exchange and wrote about in his column:
“…Frustration mounted when resident Jim Grenafage, a meeting regular, criticized the committee for lacking transparency — a common complaint at the meeting — and accused it of withholding information from committeeman Sean Byrnes, the body’s lone Democrat.

Scharfenberger, clearly chafed by the “heavy accusation,” uncharacteristically let his frustration show, and got into a back-and-forth of raised voices and finger pointing with Grenafage.

“There’s much more of an effort to keep things opaque than to bring transparency to the town,” Grenafage said….”


If you would like to listen to it for yourself I have the audio posted below. I hope to have an expanded sound bite soon of the exchange because much of what is not captured in this piece of audio was very insightful and at some point should be looked into.

http://www.archive.org/flow/flowplayer.commercial-3.2.1.swf

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Filed under budget meeting, code of ethics, Gerry Scharfenberger, IRS Tax Exemption, Jim Grenafege, Monmouth University, RedBankGreen.com

>Monmouth Univ. Handling Scharfenberger Email Incident and Possible Loss of Tax Exemption Internally (For Now)

>I was copied as a recipiant to the following email from Jim Grenafege, Democratic candidate for Middletown Township Committee, sent to Monmouth University’s General Counsel Rhonda Rehm. Grenafege has been in constant contact with officals at the Univeristy over this matter and has said that he would keep us informed as to the outcome of this situation.

Dear Ms. Rehm:

I have carefully reviewed Monmouth University’s policies — available on-line — related to ethics, political campaign related activities and Monmouth University’s 501(c)(3) status. I did not do this prior to sending a letter to the Atlantic Herald — on-line newspaper. Time constraints and campaign activities have occupied my time until now.

I realize that Dr. Scharfenberger has been reminded of university policy regarding utilizing university resources for political purposes: that the issue has been addressed internally. My deep concern is that there is the external matter of the impact that using his university e-mail account (resources) may have had on my and my running mate’s campaign. The false and malicious nature of Dr. Scharfenberger’s, ‘electronically’ written statement, in my opinion, was intended to damage my campaign by denigrating my character and injuring my reputation. I cannot and do not speak for my running mate, although I would be very surprised if she were not closely aligned with my perspective on this matter.

The fact that he sent this e-mail to thirteen people with instructions to pass his message to as many residents as possible is very disheartening and disturbing and instructive. The situation would make for an interesting discussion in an ethics seminar — perhaps Dr. Scharfenberger could lead that seminar?

Although the university appears to have remedied the matter internally, my concern, again, is that the potential impact, consequences, of an university employee’s action has not been remedied externally. What might this remedy be?

An immediate (as in urgent) straight-forward without equivocation e-mail to me and my running mate, Patricia Walsh, (duplicating all those addressed in the original e-mail) from Dr. Scharfenberger, using his university account, that acknowledges and repudiates the fabrications in the e-mail that is the source of this matter?

A press release in a daily newspaper (Asbury Park Press?) from the university stating its position and possible 501(c)(3) consequences regarding Dr. Scharfenber’s use of university resources to promote partisan politics and my position regarding the elements of his message that I know to be pure fabrication?

Is it possible that both suggested remedies could be combined?

Is the the most reasonable remedy the first one noted because it best matches the incident in-kind that is the source of my grievance?

Are there other possibilities; what shall the remedy be?

As you can see I have copied others within the university’s administration. Let us hope that “where leaders look forward” is grounded in leadership in the present.

Sincerely yours,

James Grenafege

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Filed under email, IRS Tax Exemption, Jim Grenafege, Mayor Scharfenberger, Middletown, Monmouth University

Monmouth Univ. Handling Scharfenberger Email Incident and Possible Loss of Tax Exemption Internally (For Now)

I was copied as a recipiant to the following email from Jim Grenafege, Democratic candidate for Middletown Township Committee, sent to Monmouth University’s General Counsel Rhonda Rehm. Grenafege has been in constant contact with officals at the Univeristy over this matter and has said that he would keep us informed as to the outcome of this situation.

Dear Ms. Rehm:

I have carefully reviewed Monmouth University’s policies — available on-line — related to ethics, political campaign related activities and Monmouth University’s 501(c)(3) status. I did not do this prior to sending a letter to the Atlantic Herald — on-line newspaper. Time constraints and campaign activities have occupied my time until now.

I realize that Dr. Scharfenberger has been reminded of university policy regarding utilizing university resources for political purposes: that the issue has been addressed internally. My deep concern is that there is the external matter of the impact that using his university e-mail account (resources) may have had on my and my running mate’s campaign. The false and malicious nature of Dr. Scharfenberger’s, ‘electronically’ written statement, in my opinion, was intended to damage my campaign by denigrating my character and injuring my reputation. I cannot and do not speak for my running mate, although I would be very surprised if she were not closely aligned with my perspective on this matter.

The fact that he sent this e-mail to thirteen people with instructions to pass his message to as many residents as possible is very disheartening and disturbing and instructive. The situation would make for an interesting discussion in an ethics seminar — perhaps Dr. Scharfenberger could lead that seminar?

Although the university appears to have remedied the matter internally, my concern, again, is that the potential impact, consequences, of an university employee’s action has not been remedied externally. What might this remedy be?

An immediate (as in urgent) straight-forward without equivocation e-mail to me and my running mate, Patricia Walsh, (duplicating all those addressed in the original e-mail) from Dr. Scharfenberger, using his university account, that acknowledges and repudiates the fabrications in the e-mail that is the source of this matter?

A press release in a daily newspaper (Asbury Park Press?) from the university stating its position and possible 501(c)(3) consequences regarding Dr. Scharfenber’s use of university resources to promote partisan politics and my position regarding the elements of his message that I know to be pure fabrication?

Is it possible that both suggested remedies could be combined?

Is the the most reasonable remedy the first one noted because it best matches the incident in-kind that is the source of my grievance?

Are there other possibilities; what shall the remedy be?

As you can see I have copied others within the university’s administration. Let us hope that “where leaders look forward” is grounded in leadership in the present.

Sincerely yours,

James Grenafege

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Filed under email, IRS Tax Exemption, Jim Grenafege, Mayor Scharfenberger, Middletown, Monmouth University

Monmouth Univ. In Jeopardy of Losing IRS Tax Exemption – Scharfenberger May Face Disciplinary Action


Monmouth University has been put in a precarious positions and is in jeopardy of losing its IRS tax exemption status thanks to Middletown’s extremely partisan Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger.

On October 19th the good mayor, who moonlights as an adjunct professor at Monmouth University, used Monmouth’s email system to write a partisan letter of support for Pam Brightbill and Tony “the fibber” Fiore, the Republican Candidates for Middletown Township Committee. This letter also contained biased and untrue claims against their democratic opponents.

In his partisan zeal, he then emailed this letter which was titled “message from the mayor”, to a dozen of his fellow Middletown republicans and asked them to forward it to as many residents as possible.

(click here for larger view of email)

This partisan act by Mr. Scharfenberger was  in clear violation of Monmouth University’s Guidelines for Political Activity which states:
As an organization exempt from federal income tax pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, Monmouth University is prohibited from directly or indirectly participating or intervening (including the publishing or distributing of statements) in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for elective public office. Even activities that encourage people to vote for or against a particular candidate on the basis of nonpartisan criteria are prohibited. According to the IRS, whether an organization is engaging in prohibited political campaign activity depends upon all the facts and circumstances in each case.

POLICY
A. While the University encourages students and employees to exercise their civic duty by registering and voting, and further encourages political debate and discussion, the University prohibits the use of University resources to support partisan political efforts. In addition, University policy prohibits the following.

  1. Employees are not permitted to utilize University resources to support political candidates. This includes the use of University letterhead, postage, e-mail accounts, message boards, or other University resources.
  2. Employees should not post political statements (e.g., bumper stickers) on University-owned vehicles or uniforms.
  3. No one is permitted to release the names of University employees or students to an outside party, including but not limited to providing such lists for political purposes.
  4. Campaign contributions on behalf of the University are not permitted….

The penalties that may be incurred by Monmouth Univ. because of the mayor’s senseless use of the University’s email system for partisan politicking is as follows:

A. If the IRS finds that the University has engaged in prohibited campaign activity, the University could lose its tax-exempt status and could be subject to an excise tax on the amount of money spent on that activity.

B. In cases of flagrant violation of the law, the IRS has specific statutory authority to make an immediate determination and assessment of tax. The IRS can also ask a federal district court to enjoin the University from making further political expenditures.

C. In addition, contributions to organizations that lose their section 501(c)(3) status because of political activities are not deductible by the donors for federal income tax purposes.

In the coming weeks it will be interesting to find out just what the out come of this incident will be. Scharfenberger’s careless  one-upsmanship and biased partisan politicking using Monmouth University’s resources, is clearly a violation of Monmouth’s policies that govern such activities and puts the university in clear danger of losing it’s tax exempt IRS status.
This incident is just the latest example of how ethically challenged Scharfenberger is. 
Lets hope that Monmouth University decides to take the proper disciplinary actions against the mayor for putting the institution in such a potentially bad  situation.

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Filed under Guidlines for Political Activity, IRS Tax Exemption, Mayor Scharfenberger, Middletown Republicans, Monmouth University

Monmouth Univ. In Jeopardy of Losing IRS Tax Exemption – Scharfenberger May Face Disciplinary Action


Monmouth University has been put in a precarious positions and is in jeopardy of losing its IRS tax exemption status thanks to Middletown’s extremely partisan Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger.

On October 19th the good mayor, who moonlights as an adjunct professor at Monmouth University, used Monmouth’s email system to write a partisan letter of support for Pam Brightbill and Tony “the fibber” Fiore, the Republican Candidates for Middletown Township Committee. This letter also contained biased and untrue claims against their democratic opponents.

In his partisan zeal, he then emailed this letter which was titled “message from the mayor”, to a dozen of his fellow Middletown republicans and asked them to forward it to as many residents as possible.

(click here for larger view of email)

This partisan act by Mr. Scharfenberger was  in clear violation of Monmouth University’s Guidelines for Political Activity which states:
As an organization exempt from federal income tax pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, Monmouth University is prohibited from directly or indirectly participating or intervening (including the publishing or distributing of statements) in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for elective public office. Even activities that encourage people to vote for or against a particular candidate on the basis of nonpartisan criteria are prohibited. According to the IRS, whether an organization is engaging in prohibited political campaign activity depends upon all the facts and circumstances in each case.

POLICY
A. While the University encourages students and employees to exercise their civic duty by registering and voting, and further encourages political debate and discussion, the University prohibits the use of University resources to support partisan political efforts. In addition, University policy prohibits the following.

  1. Employees are not permitted to utilize University resources to support political candidates. This includes the use of University letterhead, postage, e-mail accounts, message boards, or other University resources.
  2. Employees should not post political statements (e.g., bumper stickers) on University-owned vehicles or uniforms.
  3. No one is permitted to release the names of University employees or students to an outside party, including but not limited to providing such lists for political purposes.
  4. Campaign contributions on behalf of the University are not permitted….

The penalties that may be incurred by Monmouth Univ. because of the mayor’s senseless use of the University’s email system for partisan politicking is as follows:

A. If the IRS finds that the University has engaged in prohibited campaign activity, the University could lose its tax-exempt status and could be subject to an excise tax on the amount of money spent on that activity.

B. In cases of flagrant violation of the law, the IRS has specific statutory authority to make an immediate determination and assessment of tax. The IRS can also ask a federal district court to enjoin the University from making further political expenditures.

C. In addition, contributions to organizations that lose their section 501(c)(3) status because of political activities are not deductible by the donors for federal income tax purposes.

In the coming weeks it will be interesting to find out just what the out come of this incident will be. Scharfenberger’s careless  one-upsmanship and biased partisan politicking using Monmouth University’s resources, is clearly a violation of Monmouth’s policies that govern such activities and puts the university in clear danger of losing it’s tax exempt IRS status.
This incident is just the latest example of how ethically challenged Scharfenberger is. 
Lets hope that Monmouth University decides to take the proper disciplinary actions against the mayor for putting the institution in such a potentially bad  situation.

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Filed under Guidlines for Political Activity, IRS Tax Exemption, Mayor Scharfenberger, Middletown Republicans, Monmouth University