Category Archives: John Cantalupo

>This Is What I was Talking About: ARTHUR Z. KAMIN: Bring out the brooms at Brookdale

>Just the other day I posted, Cantalupo’s Resignation From Brookdale Exposes Shady Ties To Lillian Burry and County. The post was about the ties between former Freeholder Director Lillian Burry and Brookdale Community College lawyer John Cantalupo, who finally resigned from the college’s Board of Trustees last Friday in the weak of the Peter Burnham scandal.

In today’s Asbury Park Press the commentary written by Arthur Z. Kamin states pretty much exactly what I had stated in my earlier post. It’s all there almost verbatim, how Cantalupo was Lillian Burry’s campaign treasurer, how Cantalupo helped negotiate Burnham’s generous employment contract and how Lillian Burry sits on the college board of school estimates which is responsible for approving contracts and budgets for the college.
I’m glad to see that someone else picked up on it and has connected the dots. I think the next one to step down after Jacob S. Elkes, the Vice -chairman of the College Board of Trustees, as Mr. Kamin has called for would be Lillian Burry herself.
Burry should step down from her position as a Monmouth County Freeholder and not seek re-election this November. Too many disturbing and questionable ethical revelations about Burry have been surfacing over the past few months that need closer examination from county residents.
Below is what Arthur Kamin wrote in today’s APP:
It’s been almost one weekly bombshell after another in the aftermath of the Brookdale Community College scandal that forced the school’s president, Peter F. Burnham, to resign in disgrace amid allegations of improper spending habits.


It raised anew serious questions about whether its board of trustees was doing an effective job of oversight or just sleepily rubber-stamping for payment Burnham’s excessive vouchers. The county prosecutor’s office is now investigating how the money was spent. There is no word yet from that office on when the probe will be completed.

So far, under strong pressure to quit, the high-level Brookdale resignation casualties, in separate actions, have been the board of trustees chairman Howard C. Birdsall, a 23-year veteran of the board, and the board’s multi-faceted attorney, John M. Cantalupo, who served for two years. Cantalupo took new heat last week when it was reported in the Asbury Park Press that he had been serving as Republican Freeholder Lillian G. Burry’s campaign treasurer.

But wait. Could that be right? Freeholder Burry’s campaign treasurer, a political position?

Didn’t Cantalupo serve as the attorney representing the Brookdale board of trustees and as general counsel for the college? And didn’t Cantalupo help negotiate the generous contract with Burnham that included lavish pay and perks at the same time the board was weighing an 8.2 percent tuition increase?

And don’t the freeholders, of which Burry is the former board director, appoint most of the Brookdale trustees? Don’t the trustees, in turn, appoint the attorney? Doesn’t Burry sit on the board of school estimate that votes on budgets that include the contracts of the president and the attorney? Wasn’t Burry a strong supporter of Burnham?

Is there anything wrong here? Is this a potential conflict of interest for Burry? Doesn’t it raise ethical concerns for Burry to have the Brookdale attorney as her campaign treasurer, often said to be her spokesman, at political fundraisers?

Cantalupo, in the May 14 issue of the Press, said he resigned as Burry’s campaign treasurer because he didn’t want to serve as a “political distraction for the most outstanding freeholder in Monmouth County.”

Interestingly, I asked Burry before the resignation if Cantalupo was serving as her campaign treasurer. She and her chief administrative assistant never replied to my e-mails. Neither did Cantalupo, who I also queried about the treasurer role and what it entailed. Bill Bucco, who described himself as Burry’s campaign spokesman, asked that any questions relating to her campaign be directed to him. But he did not reply to my questions about the Cantalupo campaign post. So much for transparency.

To their credit, Freeholder Deputy Director John P. Curley, a Republican, and Freeholder Amy A. Mallet, a Democrat, repeatedly called for Cantalupo to resign as Brookdale attorney. Curley said he was “very concerned” that Cantalupo was working for Burry as her campaign treasurer. Mallet questioned whether it was ethical for Burry to sit at the board of school estimate table deciding on the attorney’s fees.

There is no question that the freeholders now will have to grapple with the way Burry handled this matter — especially the fact that she would not disclose the Cantalupo link and kept the other freeholders in the dark on the issue. It was poor judgment on her part.

But now it’s time for another bombshell to drop. This one should come with the resignation of Jacob S. Elkes, the former board vice chairman who is serving as its interim chairman. He is a 16-year veteran of the board.

Elkes, like Birdsall, was part of the institution’s leadership vacuum that permitted the Burnham mess to take place. It’s time for him to go. The rest of this sleepy board should make plans to depart in an orderly fashion.

On his way out, Elkes should take with him the law firm of Wilentz, Goldman and Spitzer that gave Brookdale Cantalupo. It’s time for a complete culture change at the college and a new law firm, without any freeholder connections. There is no shortage of good law firms to choose from in Monmouth County.

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Filed under Arthur Z. Kamin, Asbury Park Press, Brookdale College President, Brookdale Community College, Freeholder Lillian Burry, John Cantalupo, Peter Burnham

>Monmouth Freeholder Amy Mallet Comments On Birdsall Resignation From Brookdale Board of Trustees

>I am grateful to Howard Birdsall for his service to Monmouth County and Brookdale Community College. I called for his resignation in February and I applaud him for having the good sense to do the right thing. During his term the school realized positive change; but as we are all well aware, problems with accountability also occurred. These problems are largely due to complacency that I believe can be a common consequence of 23 years on the board. This resignation is a start, but in order to realize a new era of accountability more change must take place. I feel that the co-chair, Mr. Elkes, should consider resigning as he has also served for more than 15 years.

In addition, my colleagues on the Freeholder Board need to take my call for term limits on this and other boards seriously. There is overwhelming support from the public for rotation on these semi-autonomous bodies, and my office has received numerous resumes from residents interested in serving.
I have also called for the resignation of John Cantalupo, the attorney who serves as general counsel for Brookdale. His role in drafting the perquisite laden contract of the former President demonstrates a lack of good judgment. Brookdale Community College is a fine institution and the students, staff and alumni deserve finely tuned representation.

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Filed under Board of Trustees, Brookdale College President, Brookdale Community College, Freeholder Amy Mallet, Howard Birdsall, John Cantalupo, term limits