GOP Freeholder Battle Heads to Court Aug. 18

Judge to rule on alleged illegal campaign contribution before possible trial starts.

A judge will decide Aug. 18 whether a charge of an alleged illegal campaign contribution by father of William “Hank” Lyon—the upstart Republican Morris County freeholder candidate who ousted incumbent Margaret Nordstrom in primary race tallies so far—will be heard in his court, or by the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.

Superior Court Judge Thomas L. Weisenbeck said Wednesday he wants all the attorneys in the case to file opinions by Friday on the jurisdictional issue.

Once that decision is made, testimony from up to 24 Parsippanny voters could be heard beginning Aug. 18 as a trial begins to determine the winner of the June 7 Republican freeholder primary.

Incumbent Nordstrom is trailing Lyon, a first-time candidate from Montville, by six votes in current tallies. The Republican nominee will face Democrat Truscha Quatrone of Montville  in the November general election.

After a recount of absentee and provisional ballots failed to alter Lyon’s small lead, Nordstrom filed a contest of the results.

Her petition alleges Parsippany voters cast illegal ballots. It alleges instances of voters filing multiple ballots, of illegal signatures appearing on one or more voting forms, of signatures in the same handwriting appearing on multiple forms, and of ballots that include votes for both Lyon and Nordstrom. It cites one alleged instance of an unregistered voter casting a ballot.

Two voters also claimed they were denied the right to vote because of circumstances beyond their control. In one case a voting machine did not record two votes, and in the other, the location of the polling place given to voters was incorrect.

All the voter irregularities, except two claims of voters being denied their rights, occurred in Parsippany, the petition said.

Wednesday’s conference was called by the judge to get some of the details of the trial cleared up. One concern was having sufficient translators fluent in languages native to India and Pakistan.

The trial comes up against election-related dates that can not be altered.

A drawing for ballot positions for the November election takes place Monday in the office of Morris County Clerk Joan Bramhall, and ballots must be mailed by Sept. 15.

Nordstrom’s petition also claims that Robert Lyon, the father the candidate and treasurer of the “Lyon for Conservative Freeholder” campaign, made an illegal campaign loan of $16,000, well in excess of the $2,600 limit for individuals.

New Jersey election law counts individual loans as individual contributions, the petition says.  The remedy under state law for such a contribution, is that the nomination of that candidate be voided, it says.

The petition says that Lyon’s final 11-day pre-election report to the state’s Election Law Enforcement Commission showed a balance of $636.88, from a total raised of $3,800. Lyon’s 20-day post-election ELEC report indicated that Robert Lyon provided a $16,000 loan on May 31, for a total of $20,250 raised, the petition says. This loan put Robert Lyon’s contribution at a total of $15,400 more than the per-person donation limit of $2,600.

The petition says that the $15,400 must be immediately refunded by the Lyon campaign. It cites state elections law saying the term "contributions" includes "all loans and transfers of money or other thing of value to or by any candidate."

Lyon has cited state election law in  defense of his father’s contribution.

He cited the candidate’s guide issued by ELEC: “There is no limit to the amount of personal funds a candidate may contribute or lend to his or her own campaign (except for publicly funded gubernatorial candidates). Also, a corporation one hundred percent of the stock of which is owned by the candidate, or by the candidate’s spouse, child, parent, or sibling residing in the candidate’s household, may make contributions without limit to a candidate committee established by that candidate, or to a joint candidates committee established by that candidate.”

The petition also says Lyon failed to file any “48-hour” reports, which are required for any donations received in the last 13 days of the election from one source of $1,200 or more. Lyon also made an expenditure of $14,225 for mailing of campaign literature on May 31.

The petition claims that because of Robert Lyon’s contribution, his son’s campaign was able to place signs and conduct a last-minute mailing.

The petition further claims the failure to file the required 48-hour forms was a deliberate attempt to conceal the funding of the Lyon’s campaign in a way that placed Nordstrom at a disadvantage.

As proof the petition points to a last-minute mailing by the Lyon campaign that attacked Nordstrom’s record.

The petition said, “Nordstrom reasonably believed that Mr. Lyon would not have the funds available for such a substantial mailing,” the petition states.

Without the  failure to disclose the donation, “Nordstrom would have been able to alter her campaign strategy to prepare for a last minute mailing by Mr. Lyon distorting her record that arrived one day prior to Election Day,” the petition states.

Hank Heller August 11, 2011 at 12:19 PM
What is sad, to me, in this overly long and drawn out fight between two Republicans is that it is clear that the Morris County Republican Party is using Mrs. Nordstrom's name to try to have it's way over the choice of the Republican voters. It seems that the Morris County Republican Party is doing everything in it's power to use it's well funded coffers (that means your and my contributions) to force the Lyon family to have to give up the fight for the Freeholder seat by causing them to have to incur large legal bills in order to maintain their rights. Too bad that the Republican Leaders cannot allow Mrs. Nordstrom to bow out with the grace that we know she possess. In the end, I suspect that the effort will not succeed and we will be left with disillusioned voters once again. Hank Heller
Maxim Sapozhnikov August 11, 2011 at 12:56 PM
Holy cricket, you still contribute to these clowns?! I always thought that the primary reason the Internet was invented is to contribute directly to individual candidates. The GOP won't get a single cent from me until they clean up their act, and that likely happens no sooner than H311 team wins Stanley Cup outdoors..
Edward france August 11, 2011 at 02:17 PM
Many registered voters do not even vote. That is a shame. Could it be because our elections are really more about money then ideas and issues? Look at our president he spends lots of rime raising money in order to get re elected. Hank Lyon is a good man. Comes from a family of honor and hard work. He would be a good elected official. Anybody can try to run in Morris county. Now if you win, they will take these kinds of actions to sink your ship. If they knock mr.Lyon out many people will be unhappy. Politics is a dirty blood sport. That is why few good , qualified people run. It could also be why so many residents do not even bother to vote. God bless america.
Richard Babcock August 14, 2011 at 04:48 PM
There is no formal or informal involvement by the Morris County Republican Party in this challenge, that is simply a fact. When 24,000 people vote and the election is down to just 6 votes, this is absolutely the correct circumstance to look into any inconsistencies or improper behavior in the election to determine that the final outcome is the correct outcome. To remark that this is just an establishment Republican conspiracy to block a new candidate's victory is simply not looking at the facts that surround this election. There were obvious and intentional improper votes that require inquiry. There was an enormous, and apparently illegal, campaign contribution. There was a failure to disclose that this contribution was made. These are all very serious issues that must be looked into and a decision must be made regarding their impact on this extremely close race. If any of you wish to argue the facts, that is one thing, but all you are doing is writing opinions in order to support your desired outcome. This election is basically a tie and thus it needs to be carefully and legally evaluated. There is no other alternative than having the courts rule on these issues, so that is what is being pursued. In the near future the court will make some very important determiniations that will hopefully bring clarity and finality to this election. Once that happens, we can all move on with a legally "approved" Republican victor,
Maxim Sapozhnikov August 14, 2011 at 05:06 PM
Serious issues, my donkey! How the H311 Obama getting millions of single-use credit card donations is not a serious issue worth investigating by the court, but a modest gift from dad to son is?
Richard Babcock August 14, 2011 at 05:39 PM
Max, there are things called laws. If the father personally donated in excess of the maximum limit of $2600, and the campaign failed to declare this donation, they broke the law twice. I am not comparing against things Obama did, and you cannot simply equate the two, they have nothing to do with one another. Anyway, It is like all our mom's taught us, two wrongs don't make it right. You may not respect the law, but if they broke the law, they broke the law. There is no room for opinions or emotional preferences in this, the law is clear and must be followed.
Hank Heller August 14, 2011 at 05:51 PM
Richard, I do not have a preference at all in this dispute. I would like the laws to be followed in all cases. It just seems that is almost never the case, what with new laws being enacted each day and the old laws almost never being adherred to. Nevertheless, I have met both candidates and would be very satisfied with either. I am sorry to disagree with your premise that the Republican Party is not behind the effort to keep Mr. Lyon out of the Board of Freeholders.
Maxim Sapozhnikov August 14, 2011 at 06:31 PM
Richard, The things called "laws" only remain such when enforced universally and equally. When one side can violate them with impunity, they stop being laws and become arbitrary tools of advancing the agenda.
Dan Grant August 14, 2011 at 09:32 PM
The fact is that the contribution issues ought to be before ELECT not a judge. These are administrative issues and even if found in violation result in fines not disqualification from holding office. This issue of voter fraud or improper voting does lie with the Courts and sometimes these cases run on and on. Lyon is a Tea Party candidate so what is keeping them from stepping up to the plate and donating to his campaign to help with his legal costs and helping him to repay any contributions he will be required to repay. He has a campaign committee and could use that for both, what beside the fact that the Tea Party is big on rhetoric and short on the willingness to put up cash to help a fellow Tea Partier is stopping them. It is one thing to sit around the Green in Morristown on a sunny day and quite another to support your beliefs with work and cash. If Nordstom is getting County funds it would be a violation of the spirit of open Primaries that is the rule for the Morris County Republican Party. Knowing her and the Republican Chair I would be suprised that they are funding her court actions.
Hank Heller August 15, 2011 at 01:56 AM
Like most of the politically motivated junk put forth by Don Grant, as he works to confuse and obfuscate, this comment is substantially incorrect. As Jeff Weingarten of the Morristown Tea Party Organization wrote to him on this blog site, neither Mr. Lyon nor Mrs. Nordstrom were Tea Party candidates. Both attended a meeting to present their case. Neither were chosen to be endorsed but were respectfully received. Clearly Mr. Grant does not care to hear truth nor does he disseminate it. Hank Heller
Dan Grant August 15, 2011 at 01:49 PM
I believe Hank Lyon is the Tea Party Candidate and a part of the Greater Tea Party of Montville so he ought to be able to get the help he needs from the Tea Party. If you want to disavow him now that he has problems that is your business but don't say it isn't true. I don't care what endorsements were given to who. The point is that while I don't believe that the campaign contribution problem was anything more than not understanding the rules, he ought to have some support from the like minded Tea Party People. If they don't want to help him it says more about them than him. Now that is not political junk, just a statement of opinion.
Maxim Sapozhnikov August 15, 2011 at 02:34 PM
Are you under influence, incapable of reading English, or just have a senior moment? Mr. Heller has just informed you, very unambiguously, that the Tea Party did *not* endorse or support any candidate, and thus have nothing to disavow. You certainly have the right to state an opinion, but stating a patently false one says nothing of candidates and lots of your mental capacity.
Hank Heller August 15, 2011 at 03:22 PM
Thank you, Max, I appreciate your support. In candor, which is something unknown to Grant, I don't know anything about the Greater (or Lesser) Tea Party of Montville. What is really going on here is several things. 1) Grant is running for office using the dishonest vehicle that he is for "community" and "charity" and against those big, bad Tea Party bullies, 2) Grant claims that I and THE Tea Party are only for ourselves because we do not want our tax dollars put into the hands of politicians of any stripe, so they can give our moneys out to those who might support their candidacy. Grant is an ultra left-leaning liberal Democrat, (told to me by people who have lived in Morris County for decades) who tries to win friends among those who want public funds. I argue against him because he is not honest in his approach nor in his comments. He is of the tribe that is strangling our country with their entitlement gifts. Until now, he never mentioned the Greater Montville Tea Party as the sponsor of Mr. Lyon. I can not find that printed anywhere. He is so dishonest that he wants the public to imagine that ALL Tea Party groups are associated. I can tell you they are not. Each unit is unallied and each does as the local members feel is most right. Grant would like to make all citizens who attend Tea Party meetings to be seen as enemies of the people. In fact that is just not true. Most just do not agree with his approach to leadership for our country. Hank Heller
Maxim Sapozhnikov August 15, 2011 at 03:35 PM
Mr. Heller, I have the questionable fortune of living in the same town with that troll. He's still bitter over the fact that Montville voters flushed him down the toilet, hopefully for good. My best regards to the MC Tea Party.
Hank Heller August 15, 2011 at 04:01 PM
Thank you, Max. I will do my best not to respond to Grant's dishonest blogging in the future, since he is just wasting all of our time. I appreciate your kind wishes for the Morristown Tea Party Organization. To my mind, it really is a very diverse and decent group of people from all walks of life, from doctors to teachers to retired folks to Democrats, Republicans, Conservatives (mostly) to union members and truck drivers. As Jeff Weingarten noted, "the salt of the earth". I invite you to attend a meeting and see for yourself. Grant had also been invited, but I am fairly sure that he is not interested in having real information. It would interfere with his beliefs. One of the really sad issues of Grant's accusations is that the group that I have mentioned has among it's attendees some of the most charitable people I have met. While most are not happy to increase taxes to enlarge entitlements, many give huge amounts of time, money and effort in benefiting those who are less fortunate. Those gifts are of no importance to the Grants of this world because THEY cannot gain benefit for themselves without being able to establish that they are the benefactor from which all moneys spring forth. Too bad for him. Best regards, Hank Heller
Dan Grant August 19, 2011 at 05:43 PM
Hank, here is a quote from your Tea Party regular Max and the guy you defend. It must fill you with pride. 1:27pm on Friday, August 19, 2011 Max Well, what can I do? He *is* an America-hating racist with a fake birth certificate (I literally beg you to sue me for defamation on this issue), he *is* actively destroying the country (how about we settle some of those 300,000 illegal immigrants he won't deport in Montville?), and needless to say he is not my President.
Hank Heller August 19, 2011 at 06:07 PM
Don, Please read what Max wrote above. By the way, as long as we are speaking truth as we each see it, I only disagree with Max in one area in this debate. That is, no matter what, he IS my President. These are highly personal comments and are not Tea Party or Democratic or Republican or any group's opinions. These are Max's thoughts and I happen to agree with him on some of his comments. You do not have to agree nor like nor support anyone's thoughts but your own. My real problem with you is that you keep trying to paint groups as you find useful. That is not honest nor helpful in our society. Your group generalizations do nothing good for your arguments nor for your candidacy. I suggest you work on forming a platform for whatever position you are running for and stick to that. Casting aspersions on others thoughts will not help you get elected. Tell us what you will do when you are elected to whatever you run for and maybe you can earn some respect instead of disrespect, which is all you have earned here so far. Hank Heller
Dan Grant August 19, 2011 at 09:46 PM
So you believe the President is a racist and hates America and his birth certificate is not real. Just to be clear you are a Tea Party member and touting the Tea Party as an all inclusive group. I presume you do speak for the Tea Party. Your position is that I am wrong about the Tea Party ? You still think I am painting with a broad brush?
Maxim Sapozhnikov August 19, 2011 at 09:52 PM
Technically, if Obama's birth certificate is not real, he is not a President but an usurper.
Hank Heller August 20, 2011 at 03:41 AM
Dan Grant Just to be clear, I am speaking for myself alone and not THE Tea Party and not the Democrats and not even the Republicans. Your need to paint groups for your own personal benefit is so dishonest that you make me sick. I do NOT speak for THE Tea Party. I speak for Hank Heller. And yes, I believe that the Tea Party group that I have attended, that is the Morristown Tea Party Organization is very inclusive and very accepting of all people regardless of race, background or political affiliation. You seem to work so hard to damn others just so you can claim that you and yours are better is as disgusting as it is dishonest. You are an abusive political operator and no one of decent character should want a person like you representing them. Hank Heller
Dan Grant August 20, 2011 at 03:42 PM
Hank you condemn me for simply pointing out that you are a Tea Party person. You agree that the President is a racist, hates America and isn't even a citizen. I believe that is the heart and soul of the Tea Party Movement and you affirm my belief as a member. As a Country we don't need those kinds of distructive elements although of course it is your right to espouse them. Just don't pretend that this is some kind of patriotic, all American movement. I had no personal problem working with anyone as an elected official as long as I felt it was in the interests of the people of Montville. I even worked with Assemblyman Carroll ( the most conservative member of the Assembly ) on a Bill to return some of the power of COAH back to the municipalities and that was successful. There have been lots of groups that have sprung up in America some good some bad. Some who hide their agenda and some who are right up front but I know of no person who is a believer in Democratic principles that would join a Tea Party.
Richard Babcock August 20, 2011 at 04:36 PM
Well, any accusation that the challenge of the voting irregularities in Parsippany were nothing more than a fishing expedition were certainly proven wrong on Friday!!! There is no doubt any longer that there was a real and intentional effort to illegally influence this election!! The sad thing is that the voters apparently were not willing participants but were taken advantage of by those that wished to influence the outcome. It just goes to show that the "vote by mail" process is open for fraud. If it can happen at this level in Parsippany, imaging what could happen in Newark, Camden, Paterson, Jersey City, etc. OMG, reforming "vote by mail" must be a top priroity of anyone who wants election to remain fair, legal, and transparent, the current system is just the perfect vehicle for those that wish to illegally influence the outcome of future NJ elections.
Hank Heller August 20, 2011 at 06:01 PM
MotownRepub Can you please explain to me what it is that happened on Friday to cause you to write what you have written above? I have not seen any information that would lead to this comment and I would like to see the substantiation for your comment. Thank you Hank Heller
Hank Heller August 20, 2011 at 06:50 PM
Dan Grant No, I condemn you for not being an honest commentator. I have written that I have attended meetings of the Morristown Tea Party Organization. You try to place my comments as official positions of THE Tea Party Movement. The fact that I do not support President Obama is my personal choice. I think he is the worst president that I can ever remember. I believe that he will go down in history as one of the great mistakes of the American voting public. I believe that his policies will prove to be the worst for America and her future.. Again on a personal note, i can tell you that many of the people whom I have met at Morristown Tea Party Organization events are in fact card-carrying DEMOCRATS and your comment about "I know of no person who is a believer in Democratic principles would join a Tea Party" is totally out to lunch. Which Democratic principles do you believe in that are alien to a Tea Party? I think you just spout off so you can get attention. You are getting it, but I believe you will find the attention you are garnering to be against your political interests. Hank Heller
Richard Babcock August 20, 2011 at 07:32 PM
what is the saddest part of this growing story is that the press was invisible. They were there thursday to hear the testimony about the ELECT issues, but not there at all to report on the other aspect of this saga, the voter fraud that was carried out by those that have put winning a political campaign above the very laws and principles they would be asked to swear to protect. The testimony by voters on Friday made is VERY clear that ballots and signatures were forged, and a concerted effort was made to have innocently ignorant voters to be party to this fraud. I cannot spend the time to give you the blow by blow of all the testimony, but you will soon see that this case will open up the depth of this fraud for all to see. As a result, I am going to do all that I can to work to change the vote by mail process in NJ, as it simply makes fraud and coersion far too easy, and it will eliminate any degree of integrity that the election process in NJ must have in order to be considered democratic and trustworthy.
Dan Grant August 20, 2011 at 07:36 PM
Hank, you feelings about the Presidents policies are one thing but the accusations of not being born in America or of hating America or of racism are over the top and have no place in the public dialogue of civil people. Ask even one of your so called Democratic Friends that are members of the Tea Party if you can name them publically. Prove me wrong.
Hank Heller August 20, 2011 at 08:19 PM
Dan, my feelings are my feelings and I am entitled to them. You may not agree with them, but I am entitled to believe as I believe. Your telling me what is over the top and what has place in America is bogus. And why would I want to involve another human being in a discussion with you? That is not appropriate. You keep taking shots at THE Tea Party because it serves a purpose for you. I keep taking shots at YOU because you are lacking in integrity. I don't need to prove you wrong. You prove you wrong each time you blog. Regarding the Presidents racism, please revisit Rev Jeremiah Wright and Van Jones and Atty General Eric Holder's public comments and actions (or the lack therof) as related to the Black Panther Party's actions in Philadephia on election Day 2008. If the President was born in this country that is fine, but why has he made such a game of it in refusing to answer questions and provide original documents that are not "layered". I am a very civil person but I do not like to be pushed around and used by people like you. You have a political agenda and it is clear that you are doing all you can to besmirch THE Tea Party even if you are wrong. I do not even defend THE Tea Party, just the very small entity that I have some familiarity with. Tell you what, YOU try to defend the President and his policies since he has been in office. That should keep you busy for a year or two. Hank Heller
PatienceWorth August 21, 2011 at 02:32 AM
@Hank. Look at my comments on the Aug. 18 Patch story on the election challenge for more of what happened Friday.
Hank Heller August 21, 2011 at 03:45 AM
Thank you, PatienceWorth, I will look it up. Hank Heller


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