Is Superstorm Sandy being used as a political football in Brick Township?

Mark Wilson, Getty Images

Democratic Councilman John Ducey, Acropolis, who's running for mayor this November, is accusing current Republican Mayor Steve Acropolis, who opted not to seek re-election, of steering recovery funds to engineering firms who paid into his past campaigns.

As a result, Ducey refuses to sign off on an over one million dollar bill owed to three separate firms. During the last few years, both Ducey and Acropolis have battled on several issues including taxes, township staffers and the overall budget and spending.

The firms Alaimo Group, French & Parrello and Remington & Vernick contributed funds to the local GOP in the past and as recently as a few months back.  "This is totally unacceptable. The money needs to go to help with Sandy relief, not to pay off these guys for political favors," said Ducey.

Acropolis said Ducey is acting like a hypocrite. "He has taken political donations from firms. If he had not, he would have every reason to speak about it. I have done nothing wrong here."

The Mayor also said many of the engineering firms in New Jersey and other states endorse and contribute to campaigns on both sides of the political aisle. Acropolis is calling for Ducey to release his own records of contributions he has received thus far for his November run.

While Brick is spending taxpayer money on the survey, neighboring Toms River took a different approach to determine the impact of the historic storm. FEMA employees surveyed the damage at no cost to the township. Brick has a pool of six engineering firms that they use for projects. Projects are awarded based on proposals that are submitted and then approved by the mayor.

"The most interesting fact is that the donations to this year's campaign were made within weeks or even days of when they received the lucrative job to go door to door," said Ducey.

Calls to the three firms were not returned and County GOP Chairman George Gilmore did not return our calls either.

A meeting will take place later this month at town hall about the issue.