Ocean County Superior Court Assignment Judge Francis Hodgson today put the brakes on a lawsuit which reveals massive allegations that a number of powerbrokers in Lakewood politics no longer live in Lakewood, in violation of the bylaws of the Republican Club.

The reason? The Republican Club is a private club, and members are free to come and go.  It's not an arm of the Township which is bound to follow actual rules.

The Regular Republican Club of Lakewood is the representative of the Republican publical party in Lakewood. The club nominates candidates for local government offices, who are then listed on the ballot as being nominated by the club.

The club is an unincorporated association, governed by published by-laws.

The by-laws expressly restrict membership of the club only to USA citizens who are residents of Lakewood and registered Republicans. Only members who have been active for 3 years may vote and hold office.

As the news was broken here on FAA News, back in April 2024, Yaakov Wenger, represented by Attorney Larry Loigman Esq. filed an explosive lawsuit in New Jersey Superior Court, Chancery Division in Ocean County alleging that, contrary to club by-laws, Club President Craig Theibault no longer resides in Lakewood as he has sold his home and moved to Howell.

According to the Complaint, Mr. Theibault was questioned at a club meeting how he is keeping his president position despite having moved out of town.  Mr. Theibault responded by pledging to "step aside." However, subsequently, Mr. Theibault sent all club members an email stating that the March meeting was canceled. The email was signed "Craig T, president," indicating that he was refusing to resign from the club and even from giving up his president position. 

Mr. Wenger has been active, dues paying member of the club for many years. In late 2023, he made repeated requests for certain records of the club. Many of these requests have been ignored. Even now, Mr. Theibault refuses to give up the requested records. He also refuses to relinquish control of the records and finances of the club, according to the complaint.

A number of other club members have also relocated out of Lakewood.

What this means is that a number of the very people who are self appointed to direct us in who to vote for each election do not even live in our town anymore!

"As a result, the club does not accurately represent the views of the voters, residents, citizens and taxpayers of Lakewood," the suit charges.

Instead of resigning from the club, they are conniving to attempt to amend the bylaws, ostensibly to permit them to remain in the club, thereby continuing to control elections in the Township.

"All of the above improper actions have impeded or obstructed Mr. Wenger in the exercise of his right to advocate for the election of Republican candidates for office.

"The interests of Mr. Wenger, and of the club, have suffered, and will continue to suffer, grievous harm if its governance is not conducted in accordance with the by-laws and by persons other than those who are eligible for membership," the Complaint asserts.

The suit sought a court order ousting Mr. Theibault from the club, as well as for the appointment of a receiver who would be tasked with reviewing club records to determine which other members have also moved out of Lakewood and need to be ousted from the club.

FAA News has learned that Justin Flancbaum, Greg Staffordsmith, as well as Senator Bob Singer have retained membership in the Republican Club despite that they no longer reside in Lakewood. A court order appointing a receiver for the club could have had a major impact on their membership, and ultimately change the course of party line endorsement in Lakewood elections.

Judge Hodgson today dismissed the lawsuit on jurisdictional issues.

"The Republican Club is not a corporation being governed by statutes. Rather, it is a private club whose purpose is to promote and advance the causes of the Republican party in Lakewood. The club encourages political participation and makes recommendations for candidates. It is not an entity of statue.

"Unincorporated associations are given considerable latitude to accomplish their objectives. Here, Plaintiff can choose not to remain a member of the club, leave, and form his own club. Plaintiff has no authority as a member of a private club to file a lawsuit on behalf of the club, request the appointment of a receiver, or seek to oust defendant from his elected position," Judge Hodgson wrote.

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Anonymous said...

It's a good decision. New Club elections are happening soon anyway, so it really is a moot point to try to kick him out. Just like there aren't recall elections in the last year of a term, there shouldn't be an ouster now either. A peaceful transfer of power through a regular club election is the best path forward. Signed.... Number 1

ab said...

This is a horrible decision that sanctions the shenanigans of the club. On another note, they probably lost because of the attorney they chose. Mr Loigman is a repeat loser and no one should be hiring him.