Dec. 05 - Former Asbury Park Council member John Hamilton, Restaurant-owner Vince Baker Indicted by Feds 12/13/05  -  Click here for Text of Indictment and Press Release

Hamilton Ends Tenure on City Council

Asbury Park - Jun 15, 2005 - Council member John Hamilton, fingered this spring by an FBI agent participating in a sting to expose corruption among public officials, professed his innocence again in a farewell address at last night's council meeting. The U.S. Attorney's office has yet to formally indict Hamilton on charges he allowed a contractor to install a small driveway at his home in return for city contracts. No evidence of such contracts has been presented. 


Reflecting on his performance, Hamilton, who is of African race, said it was not his style to address the different races in town. "I only saw one race, the human race. Everyone has a right to be treated equally." 


Over the years, Hamilton has alluded to being criticized for speaking out. Last night he said his independent stance had cost him over time a bankruptcy and other hardships. He spoke of threats, harassing phone calls at all hours of the morning and night and violence directed against his two dogs, one of which he said went missing, and the other he found with its "chest split open." Despite all, he said, "I want to say thank you for the opportunity to serve and support those who weren't being supported. At least they were served in the process.


"You have a lot of potential and a lot of growing to do," he told his fellow council members. Council member Ed Johnson, an educator, was away attending high school graduations. Present were Hamilton's political opponents Mayor Kevin Sanders, Deputy Mayor James Bruno, and John Loffredo, whose eyes were downcast during Hamilton's statements. Hamilton predicted that the council will face, "trying times."


"God gives us all the opportunity to good in this life," he said. "I ask this group to try to stick your hand out each day, to do for those not as fortunate as yourselves."


Most of the audience stood to applaud Hamilton. Notably, Larry Fishman, COO of Asbury Partners, the waterfront redevelopment rights holder, remained seated. During the public portion several residents thanked Hamilton for his 9 1/2 years of service to the city. In a poignant tribute, resident Barbara Knight recited an inspirational poem she'd written to thank Hamilton for having advised her to strive to be positive as she goes through life.