JACKSON TOWNSHIP, NJ – Jackson Township Mayor Michael Reina on Tuesday is expected to rehire the law firm of Dasti, Murphy, McGuckin, Ulaky, Kourtouris, and Connors to a one year pay to play, a political appointment. The firm also represents the Lakewood Zoning Board. Firm partner, New Jersey Assemblyman Gregory P. McGuckin will serve as chief legal counsel for Jackson Township. McGuckin was the New Jersey Assemblyman who proposed a $15,000 fine for New Jersey residents who violated Governor Phil Murphy’s Stay at Home Order. Reina remains a tight political ally of McGuckin. After being aligned with former GOP Chairman George Gilmore, Reina now is in the McGuckin-Holman camp of the Ocean County GOP civil war between Holman and former GOP Chairman George Gilmore. Reina appointed McGuckin after it was decided during a 2019 political caucus at the Toms River Italian Restaurant “Villa Amalfi”.
Ahead of that meeting, Reina boasted that he would try to soothe political infighting within the Ocean County GOP by “giving all parties a slice of the pie”. Reina was referring to public contracts to be doled out to political supporters in Jackson, including McGuckin’s. McGuckin has been a political campaign donor to Reina for years. In return, Reina had provided McGuckin with lucrative contracts within the township.
This fall, FBI Investigator Sean McCarthy questioned several Jackson residents about Reina’s dealings with lawyers and developers. McCarthy was the driving force behind political corruption investigations dubbed “Operation Bid Rig” and was the FBI agent who worked the federal case against former Reina lawyer, George Gilmore.
Reina is also facing a federal civil rights lawsuit by the Justice Department, three lawsuits from his own pay to play patronage job at Ocean County and two wrongful termination lawsuits as Jackson Mayor.