Relationship Between Mayor, Councilman Turns Ugly

Accusations are flying between Mayor Keith Hartman and Councilman Dennis Kleiner, who are both Republicans.

It's common for elected officials from different parties to butt heads. 

But here in the township, two members of the same GOP party—Mayor Keith Hartman and Councilman Dennis Kleiner—have had a serious falling out, and apparently are not talking to each other at this time.

According to Kleiner, the feud escalated  when Hartman accused Kleiner of tipping off a state agency about alleged pay violations by a business Hartman partially owns. 

Jersey Shore Pharmacy, the local pharmacy partially owned by Hartman, was the subject of an investigation by the State Department of Labor and Workforce Development on March 28. The agency determined the company owed three employees a combined $53,735.03 in back pay for overtime payment violations.

Hartman said the employees were paid, and that his company conducted a complete self-audit which encompassed all employees going back to 2008. The three employees in question were the only three owed any pay, Hartman said.

"We paid them everything going back to 2008," Hartman said. "We didn't have to do that. We only had to pay them for 2009 and 2010, but we went back to 2008 because it was the right thing to do."

Kleiner said he wasn't the one who dropped a dime on the mayor, and Hartman later learned he was wrong about the accusation.

Hartman later discovered it was one of the pharmacy’s employees who had called the state, which then came in to conduct an audit of the company.

“I apologize for the accusation, but what was I supposed to think?” Hartman said during an interview Thursday night. 

Kleiner said the mayor never apologized, even after learning the truth. “I told him it wasn’t me and he told me he would never believe me.”

Hartman said Kleiner has a political vendetta against him, but the mayor wouldn't offer any details. 

“Councilman Kleiner is trying to divert attention from more serious issues by trying to make an issue out of what goes on in my private business,” Hartman said.

Township government has been in a bit of turmoil in recent weeks, with the township's longtime business administrator leaving, and the township clerk on leave for what she said was a

, who has worked in the township for 24 years, including a stint in which she served as township manager and business administrator simultaneously, will be leaving the township on July 15 to take a similar position in Asbury Park.

Lisa Tilton recently missed her first meeting since she became township clerk, and hasn't been to work in two weeks while Carol Hackney serves as acting township clerk.

During an interview with Galloway Patch, Hartman also addressed some rumors circulating about his personal life, saying he still lives in Galloway and has the documentation to prove it, and that he is running in this year’s election, “at this time.”

Hartman is one of three councilmen up for re-election in November. Kleiner is not up for re-election until 2013. 

Meanwhile, the distrust between Hartman and Kleiner continues to grow. 

“I know he said that in anger, but you have to know the facts before you accuse someone,” Republican Party League President Terry Luccarelli said of Hartman's accusation against Kleiner regarding the pharmacy. 

Luccarelli said she knows Kleiner is willing to sit down with Hartman to discuss the situation, but is unsure about Hartman.

She said she sent him a text message asking him if he would sit down and talk about the situation, but Hartman didn’t respond.

She said she didn’t call him on the phone because Hartman is going through a lot in his personal life right now. 

“I’m going to give him time to think about it, and I think it will work out in the end,” Luccarelli said. “They do have to serve together.”

She said she’d probably give the two “another week” to think about the situation.

Hartman has called Kleiner "Luccarelli's lap dog," and said he feels he no longer considers himself a Galloway Township Republican.

“I’m not concerned,” Luccarelli said. “We always come together. We’re always united and we always work together. They’re not going to allow their differences to affect the way they govern.”

Keep Galloway Green June 25, 2011 at 02:16 PM
This is too funny!....Hartman should resign or be removed from office. If the Mayor is wiling to cheat his own employees out of over $50,000 in wages....Would he cheat the residents out of say.....the Sports Fields?
Tadizzy June 25, 2011 at 03:39 PM
Whats even funnier is that Kleiner is considered a republican! He's a union lackey who actively campaigned for Captain Communist during the last Presidential race. He had to change his registration before he ran for office because when asked to run as a republican he was still registered as a democrat. He only switched because his union higher ups told him to so they could get one of their stooges into a power position in Galloway.
Tadizzy June 25, 2011 at 03:42 PM
Whats even more humorous is that "this' council was supposed to be the smarter council, what a joke. Everyone complained about how when Hanko, DeSimmone and Bassford were in charge they were running the place into the ground, and before that, Meg and her bunch were the worst thing on planet earth. The bottom line is that if someone decides to run for an office, the odds are they are a very flawed individual with a real ego problem. There is a real story here. Its just not the one being reported. There is a lot of talk going around town and everyone is hearing the same story. I guess the 'real' reporters are not up on the local rumors or just haven't put all the ducks in a row yet. When and if they do, I think people are going to ask for more than one current councilperson to resign.
Keep Galloway Green June 25, 2011 at 04:18 PM
Hartman should resign....He's proven to be dishonest! .....Join my Facebook Page...."Keep Galloway Green"
Keep Galloway Green June 25, 2011 at 04:53 PM
Secret deals....a mystery complaint by the Township Clerk....Manager leaving in 2012....CFO leaving in 2011....Clerk out for now....Mayor fined for cheating his employees...... Maybe the state will take over Galloway?......lololololo
Chiwag Desai June 26, 2011 at 12:43 AM
Can the state take over Galloway next?? PLEASE!!!! I don't know who is dumb and who is dumber in mayors LankFraud or DJ Pauly D in Galloway.. I say we start a petition for a state take over of Galloway!! lol
Red June 26, 2011 at 02:59 AM
“I’m not concerned,” Luccarelli said. “We always come together. We’re always united and we always work together. They’re not going to allow their differences to affect the way they govern.” LOL -- she thinks they are governing. This crew coouldn't find their way out of paper bag even if they had directions let alone "govern." The mayor cheated his employees and is really really angry (boo hoo) that somone turned him in to the state and his # 1 suspect was his fellow Republican -- kind of tells you a lot about the high esteem in which this bunch holds one another. Pathetic.
Keep Galloway Green June 26, 2011 at 03:09 AM
Did Hartman think he could cheat 3 people for 3 years out of over $50,000 & nobody would say anything?...That's about $18,000 a person....I guess he thinks he is special !....lolololol
Carl Crowley June 26, 2011 at 09:03 PM
Keep Galloway Green - if you want to call out a public official, you should at least have the courage to put your name to it. It just shows you are a coward. You are a shill for the democratic party.
Keep Galloway Green June 27, 2011 at 01:51 AM
I don't feel compelled to give out my name. Hartman worked on his plan to get Galloway land removed from open space list for 3 years without telling the public. Maybe in 3 years I'll give out my name...Maybe. So your request is denied!....Shill for the Democrats?....Nope....But maybe a pissed off 23 year resident of Galloway. I got a feeling the fat lady hasn't sung yet!....lol
Rodger Smith June 27, 2011 at 03:34 AM
Mr. Crowley - Name - calling is one of the oldest propaganda techniques used by bullies and Governors. Since you see the need defend your mayor than i guess that would make you a shill for the republican party. You seem to be in the "know" so please give Galloway citizens an intelligent explanation to the situation that the Mayor finds himself in. If you can't ---then stop the name calling. BTW Mr. Crowley - Why aren't you attacking Republican Councilman Kleiner's comments on the AC Press about your mayor. I guess he is a shill for the democrats as well ?? Copy and paste this link to see Councilman Kleiner's comments on Mayor Hartman http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/article_64380bd2-9d1f-11e0-8276-001cc4c03286.html?fb_comment_id=fbc_10150211551922653_16724476_10150211737982653#fe0a3ad53c4014
Keep Galloway Green June 27, 2011 at 02:32 PM
Who were the builders & developers that Hartman was talking to?....Why was Hartman having discussions at all since the Galloway Soccer Fields have been open space for 25 years & DEP has no intention of changing that?... Seems like putting the cart way before the horse. What are all these secret deals & decisions being made?....Maybe the Patch should interview each council person to find out?....I'm sure there is plenty more to find out. .....Regardless....Hartman should resign. Why should Galloway be stuck with a dishonest mayor?.....God only knows what's going on at the Municipal Complex!
Dennis Kleiner June 27, 2011 at 02:43 PM
Mr. Smith I left comments on the Press and I will leave them here too. As an elected official we are held to a higher standard, we are role models for the children of the town and we are the face of Galloway Township. The most recent and ongoing actions of Keith Hartman and the way in which he conducts himself both personally and professionally is unacceptable to me as both a councilman and a proud resident of Galloway Township. I have the right to be upset with this act against me along with other action perpetrated against me by him and accomplice this year. The reporter on this article did not do his due diligence in reporting the facts so I will fill in the blanks Here is the direct quote sent by the Mayor on Friday, March 18, 2011 8:09 AM “Seriously kleiner wants to f..k w me? He filed wage and hour against my company. Ill let him swing for this. Get ur puppy dog on a leash. Or ill let him swing.” He sent this message both verbally and through text to mutual friends and acquaintances. Most of them buying his story defaming my character until the press printed their article. (Thank you to the press of AC for clearing this matter up.) Guess I shouldn’t have been mad, right!?
Dennis Kleiner June 27, 2011 at 02:58 PM
Keith new exactly what he was doing! He was screwing these three people out of their hard earned wages, and tried to use me as his scapegoat. He has no respect for working people and this proves his mentality not only towards his employees who keep his business running, but this also carries through to the employees of Galloway, just ask them what they think of our Mayor! Here are some additional facts left out of the report not reported on by the patch: On Jan 28th, 2011 an employee turned him in to wage and hour (not me) Keith's quote to his employee when he asked for his money owed to him was, drivers are in a different category I don't have to pay you over time. On march 28th 2011 Wage and hour conducted an investigation they found him liable of not paying OT to 3 employees’ total 53,735.03 back pay fines and admin fee $11,373.50. D.C was owed $21,815.16, W.C was owed $27,569.10, and J.L $4,350.77 You can have this info. Too for $5.50, and yes contrary to Keith’s thoughts on the subject it is all available through OPRA https://www6.state.nj.us/DCA_OPRA/department.jsp First page pick "Labor" then "Division of Wage and Hour complience" One last note if I had know about this situation and the money he owed his employees it would have been my pleasure to help them get what they were owed, and everyone would have known it was me helping them.
Dennis Kleiner June 27, 2011 at 03:10 PM
I will be happy to clarify the accusations you have made as I can only assume you are one of Keith's last remaining allies. The truth is that the price was closer to 12,000.00 and the Mayor and an accomplice was responsible for it.
Keep Galloway Green June 27, 2011 at 04:05 PM
Hey Kleiner....Go ahead....Lay the smackdown on Hartman!....I love it!.....lol.....What's the point of selling Galloway Soccer Fields to Stockton College ( The Enron of Colleges & Universities) ? They don't pay taxes!...They just borrow $$$$.....LOL
Red June 27, 2011 at 06:29 PM
Kudos to the Patch for publishing this story in the first place and for giving Kleiner a place to let it all hang out by allowing him to publish Hartman's text. Appears there is a lot more to this story -- esp. in regard to Hartman and his "accomplice" as Kleiner mentioned in his post.
John Doe June 27, 2011 at 07:14 PM
Hartman cannot keep his lies strait even here! Let’s start here. Taken from the article above: Kleiner said he wasn't the one who dropped a dime on the mayor, and Hartman later learned he was wrong about the accusation. Hartman later discovered it was one of the pharmacy’s employees who had called the state, which then came in to conduct an audit of the company "I apologize for the accusation, but what was I supposed to think?” Hartman said during an interview Thursday night. (but he went on to say this next) “Councilman Kleiner is trying to divert attention from more serious issues by trying to make an issue out of what goes on in my private business,” Hartman said. WTF are you talking about Keith you just admitted it was not him then in the next breath said it was him distracting attention from some made up issue in your fictional world, and why would Kleiner have a political vendetta against you unless you did something to wrong him first? Keith due everyone a favor and leave! Kleiner isn't the only one with a vendetta add the taxpayers to that list! Just resign!!!!!!!
Dennis Kleiner June 27, 2011 at 10:11 PM
Since your intellect is obviously far superior to mine and you had to include a definition of what perpetrated means i would tell you the part that reads "execute something likened to a to a crime or deception, happens to be exactly spot on! so I guess I haven't a need to tell you what you can do with your definition I won't even entertain any further conversation with you because someone who believes everything they are told, and writes under an alias to hide your identity doesn't get my respect or time. When you grow a pair let me know and then we can talk.
Keep Galloway Green June 28, 2011 at 02:02 AM
So Hartman & Kleiner are battling each other....Kleiner & Tilton battling... ( According to someone on here)....Sounds like a triple threat match!...Where is Vince McMahon?....lol..... But that still doesn't clear Hartman from ripping off his own employees to the tune of about $54,000!....Over 3 years....Hartman should resign....He's an embarassment to Galloway. And how can he be trusted. He doesn't abide by the rules on NJ. It's very common knowledge that employers have to pay 1 1/2 overtime.
Rodger Smith June 29, 2011 at 12:00 AM
Congratulations, Councilman Kleiner for not backing down from the bullying tactics of the Galloway Republican party. I wonder where they learned that from?? Although you are very upset and I don't agree with how you phrased some of your response --the important aspect is that you stood up! Where is the Mayor in all of this - no comment from the Mayor? He certainly had something to say about the AC Press article titled - Galloway Township fights DEP for open space - Check out his posts. Where are the plans for the downtown area - Mayor and Deputy Mayor? Where's the vision? Galloway has been waiting to see it? http://www.pressofatlanticcity.com/news/press/atlantic/galloway-township-fights-dep-for-open-space/article_43d7ea98-88d8-11e0-9051-001cc4c03286.html
Keep Galloway Green June 29, 2011 at 01:24 AM
Hartman still says Galloway will fight DEP....Sure ...waste the taxpayers $$$ on a lawsuit. How much will that cost?....$50,000...$100,000...1 mil?.....Now council says they are going to keep Skate Park....Imagination Station & Lake. But somehow I don't believe them!....If a big developer comes along & wants to buy everything...I have no doubt they will sell it all!.....Does anybody really believe politicians?


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something