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Tail of $10,000 check’s trail leads to call for ad hoc investigation committee

The Atlantic City Democratic Committee will form an ad hoc committee to look into how a $10,000 check meant for them was able to be deposited in a candidate’s bank account. The committee spent more than  an hour of its meeting Monday listening to those involved try to track exactly the check from the Atlantic County Democratic Committee was endorsed and deposited by then-mayoral candidate Frank Gilliam, the group took formal action to form a committee. The check was first brought to the group’s attention by Chair Joyce Mollineaux. But at an emergency meeting the Executive Committee held Friday, some took issue with Mollineaux and wanted a no-confidence vote. An alternative meeting agenda called for her removal Monday, but that could not be done in accordance with the by laws. Instead, it was a game of he said, he said, he said and he said as Gilliam, county committee Chairman Michael Suileman and others tried to recount the check’s path. Gilliam has said signing the check was an oversight on his part, after it was delivered to his campaign headquarters “without instruction.” But county treasurer Stephen Dicht said, in his years dealing with such checks, the only instruction were the name written in the “pay to the order of” line. That received applause from several in the gathering. But Gilliam said he didn’t always look at the checks given to him, just endorsed them, had copies made and had them added to the ELEC report. Suileman said the check was sent to Gilliam’s people because it was his campaign manager, Richard Winstead, who inquired about it. Both Gilliam and Winstead took issue with that. Suileman said Dicht was instructed to deliver the check to Winstead. For Mollineaux’s part, it seemed she was the one who learned that a large check has been written to the city committee, and then went about tracking it down. When it was found in Gilliam’s report, she said she took his camp at its word that it was an oversight. Committee Treasurer Barbara Hudgins confirmed that Gilliam wrote the check back to the county group, who in turn, wrote a new check to the city committee. That $10,000 was reflected in the treasurer’s report she gave to the group. Still, the whole thing didn’t add up for a majority of the members, who called for an investigation, including why TD Bank would have allowed a check made out to the committee to be signed and deposited by a candidate who was not named on the check. The entire discussion about the check can be viewed here:

The group also voted to form a standing committee for information and technology, bylaws and political asking. They also reversed the previous censures of Atlantic City Councilman Marty Small and Atlantic County Freeholder Ernest Coursey for publicly supporting then-incumbent Mayor Don Guardian — a Republican — over Gilliam. And the censure of City Councilman Kaleem Shabazz for his public support of Republican Chris Brown for state Senate over Democratic nominee Colin Bell.

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