TRENTON, N.J. (AP) -- Gov. Chris Christie has been slapped with an ethics complaint after he endorsed a local beach pavilion-building project.

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Vincent Ehmann of Belmar says he believes it was improper for the governor to take sides on his town's referendum during a town-hall style meeting Christie held on Wednesday.

The $7 million bond question is on Belmar's ballot for a special election scheduled for Aug. 19.

Ehmann says he believes it crossed the line for Christie to make a political endorsement during a government-funded event. Christie said that if he lived in town, he would support the measure, which is part of a major debate in Belmar.

"I understand there's differing opinions in this" Christie said. "I'm just giving you mine. And I believe after reviewing the plan that it's a responsible plan and one that's good for Belmar. But I also understand that there's going to be residents in the town who think that it's not. And for those who think it's not: Vote no."

At his town halls, which include question-and-answer sessions with citizens, Christie gives his positions on a variety of issues. In his first year in office, he told voters that they should shoot down school budget proposals generally.

His office did not immediately respond to questions about the complaint, which Ehmann said he filed Thursday with the State Ethics Commission.


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