the north face running Atlantic City Democrats approve committee to investigate
ATLANTIC CITY The city Democratic Committee voted Monday to establish an ad hoc committee to investigate a $10,000 check they were supposed to get that was deposited in the wrong account.
The city committee met at the Irish Pub for the first time since concerns were raised publicly by Durwood Pinkett, a city committee member, after a $10,000 campaign check meant for the city committee was deposited in Mayor Frank Gilliam’s campaign account.
The two and a half hour meeting drew about 50 people just over 30 of whom were members of the committee. It allowed statements from those who were involved with the handling of the check.
The meeting was marked by accusations and finger pointing among members about who was responsible for what happened.
Joyce Mollineaux, chairwoman of the city Democratic Municipal Committee, said at the meeting she originally raised the issue about the check at a Jan. 22 Atlantic County committee meeting when she saw the treasurer’s report.
“I said, ‘Why is it stating that the Atlantic City Democratic Committee received this money when we don’t know anything about it?'” she said. “In this incident, I was the whistle blower.”
The county committee wrote a $10,000 check to the city committee Oct. 12. That check ultimately was deposited into the “Frank Gilliam for Mayor” account Oct. 16, state Election Law Enforcement Commission report filings show.
On one of Gilliam’s ELEC reports, an entry shows $10,000 from the Atlantic County Democratic Committee on Oct. 16 and another entry from the Atlantic County Democratic Committee of $37,000 on Oct. 31. Gilliam has said the check meant for the city committee had been dropped off at his campaign headquarters and that it was an oversight.
The money has since been returned Gilliam wrote a check back to the county committee, and the county committee then wrote a check out to the city committee, which was deposited properly.
Michael Suleiman, chairman of the county committee, said he originally asked committee Treasurer Stephen Dicht to write the check to the city committee.
He said he then got a call from Richard Winstead, campaign manager for Gilliam, asking if the check was ready for the city committee, and Dicht arranged to meet with Winstead at the campaign headquarters to pass it along.
Suleiman said he didn’t know why or how the check was deposited in Gilliam’s account.
“Now we know in the future to give it (the check) right to the source,” Suleiman said.
Winstead disputed that account, saying he never called Suleiman to inquire about the check.
“Let me make it absolutely clear: I never called you and asked you specifically for a check for the committee,” Winstead said to Suleiman. “Had I known that there was a check specifically for the committee, then I would have called Ms. Joyce and let her know.”
Gilliam said that on the day the check was signed, there were eight checks deposited and one of them “happened to be the committee’s check.”
He said several people came to his campaign headquarters to drop off checks in envelopes for his campaign.
“The check never came with any instructions of who to give it to,” Gilliam said. “It was an oversight, and it was never intended to try to take something from a committee that I am a part of.”
Steve Young, an executive member of the committee, said it was important to figure out a way to get past this issue to move forward and to stay united.
The committee ended the meeting by voting to establish the ad hoc committee to review what happened and to establish a separate panel to review the committee’s bylaws.