Home Government Elections Vicari Files Defamation Suit Against Ryan Over Allegations Made During Freeholder Race

Vicari Files Defamation Suit Against Ryan Over Allegations Made During Freeholder Race

Joe Vicari addresses an OCGOP rally Monday night. (Photo: Vicari Campaign)
Joe Vicari addresses an OCGOP rally Monday night. (Photo: Vicari Campaign)

Ocean County Freeholder Director Joe Vicari has filed a civil suit against his former rival, Democrat Tim Ryan, and several others for defamation over allegations made by Ryan during the recent, hard-fought freeholder campaign that Vicari was under investigation by the FBI.

The lawsuit was announced Friday at a press conference held Friday at the office of attorney Robert C. Shea of Toms River, who is representing Vicari. The suit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, plus legal fees and interest from Ryan, former county employee and fellow Republican William Santos, who leveled the allegations to the press and at a public meeting of the freeholder board, and Alice Santangelo, Ryan’s campaign treasurer. Also named in the suit is Vision Media Marketing, which handled the Ryan campaign.

Ryan based much of his campaign against Vicari on allegations leveled by Santos – who left his county job as the superintendent of the Building and Grounds Department in 2012 – that Vicari was under investigation by the FBI and that agents had come to his house twice to discuss the matter.


But at a freeholder meeting in October, where each spoke public about the purported investigation, both were forced to admit that they could not produce evidence proving their allegations. At the same meeting, county attorney Jack Sahradnik said no one from the FBI ever was in contact with the county nor had any documents been requested.

The defendants “engaged in a repeated and malicious course of conduct with the purpose of defaming Joseph Vicari and perpetuating a fraud upon the citizens of Ocean County through the malicious dissemination of false information,” the suit says.

Ryan and his co-defendants also defamed Vicari by associating his name in campaign literature with “Sex and Money,” referencing a harassment complaint filed against the county over acts committed by a contractor, Brick resident Joseph Veni, as well as additional campaign literature that accused Vicari of taking bribes, according to the filing.

Ryan acted intentionally by distributing such information to the public, the suit claims.

Vicari ultimately won the freeholder race with a commanding lead.

  • JW P

    Even if Santos and Ryan’s claims aren’t in the least bit true (which I highly doubt), Vicari remains a sleazeball politician from the corruption capital of the world with a closet full of skeletons and dirty deals. Yet, people in this country keep re-electing scum like this to profit at the public’s expense. Good job Ocean County voters, you get the government you vote for.

  • kickyourace

    I’m surprised Tom MacArthur hasn’t said a word of being accused of Felony Voter Fraud.

  • Marynary

    Daniel, it is rewarding to see you posted this on here. I have been waiting for two days for the Patch to pick it up. Apparently they have changed their system over there and most of us have been prevented from posting. I sure wish you would open up a section into the Toms River area as it is the county seat and produces a lot of news. The patch lost a good reporter when you moved on.

    • Thank you very much for the compliments! If the Brick site works out, I’d love to expand. In the mean time, I try to cover as much county news as I can and make it to the freeholder meetings.

      • Marynary

        We will be looking forward to a Toms River edition or even better yet would be expanding Brick Shorebeat to Ocean County Shorebeat.