Home School News Brick BOE Set to Vote on Contract for Politically-Connected Financial Firm

Brick BOE Set to Vote on Contract for Politically-Connected Financial Firm

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Brick Township Board of Education/Schools (Photo: Daniel Nee)
Brick Township Board of Education/Schools (Photo: Daniel Nee)

The Brick Township Board of Education is set to vote this week on whether to appoint a firm that has drawn scrutiny over its political connections and contributions as the district’s financial adviser.

NW Financial, a Hoboken firm led by a well-known Democratic campaign contributor, appears on an agenda to be appointed as the Brick school district’s financial adviser this Thursday. The firm drew scrutiny in the early days of the administration of Gov. Chris Christie – and in the years preceding his administration – for collecting $2.2 million in fees from the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, and was the subject of an administrative review of its fee structure. The IRS also looked into the company’s fees charged to the authority.

The district’s previous financial adviser, Phoenix Advisors LLC, was provided a termination notice in January when a new board majority with ties to the Democratic party took office. In a comparison of the Phoenix contract and the NW contracted rates, some of NW’s fees are more expensive than Phoenix’s while others are cheaper.

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The contracts between the two firms are structured similarly, listing an hourly rate, maximum rate per transaction and minimum rate per transaction for various services. The full fee tables for each contract appear below.

Phoenix Advisors Fee Schedule
Phoenix Advisors Fee Schedule
NW Financial Fee Schedule
NW Financial Fee Schedule

The firm’s founder and principal, Dennis J. Enright, is a well-known Democratic campaign contributor in state political circles, with he and members of his firm having donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to political candidates – almost all Democrats – over the past decade.

The board will also consider a measure that will appoint Montenegro, Thompson, Montenegro & Genz as the district’s legal counsel. The Democrat-aligned firm will replace the GOP-aligned firm of Berry, Sahradnik, Kotzas & Benson, which was ousted at the board’s reorganization meeting last month. The contract for Montenegro runs through the 2017-18 school year, with legal services provided at a rate of $145 per hour.


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  • Spock’s Brain

    This article is completely misleading.

    It suggests that the new board is firing a Republican firm (Phoenix Advisors) and hiring a Democrat firm (NW Financial). In reality, Phoenix Advisors has close ties to South Jersey Democrat Power Broker George Norcross. NW Financial has appointments in over 50 Republican jurisdictions.

    To say that either of these firms is “Democrat” or “Republican” is complete nonsense. Municipal Financial Advisors are very specialized group. In New Jersey, 3 major firms (Phoenix, NW, and Acacia) have over 95% of the contracts. All 3 firms work for over 100 jurisdictions, both Democrat and Republican.

    The most likely reason that Acacia did not submit a proposal is because the Brick BOE Business Administrator, Jim Edwards, is married to the Vice President of Acacia. Legally, they could probably be appointed, but I doubt Mr. Edwards would want there to be an appearance of a conflict.

    Note to FORMER Brick BOE Board President Sharen (Kight) Cantillo. Not everything is “Political” just because you say it is. There is a new board and they are hiring new people and taking things in a new direction. After what happened under the leadership of Ms. Cantillo, I think some changes are a good idea. And I think most people in Brick agree.

  • At $145.00, those rates are pretty competitive to what I’ve seen on both sides of the fence. But let’s be honest, it’s always a politically connective firm that gets the work, no matter what it is. Why are you so surprised?

  • Spock’s Brain

    This article is completely misleading.

    It suggests that the new board is firing a Republican firm (Phoenix Advisors) and hiring a Democrat firm (NW Financial). In reality, Phoenix Advisors has close ties to South Jersey Democrat Power Broker George Norcross. NW Financial has appointments in over 50 Republican jurisdictions.

    To say that either of these firms is “Democrat” or “Republican” is complete nonsense. Municipal Financial Advisors are very specialized group. In New Jersey, 3 major firms (Phoenix, NW, and Acacia) have over 95% of the contracts. All 3 firms work for over 100 jurisdictions, both Democrat and Republican.

    The most likely reason that Acacia did not submit a proposal is because the Brick BOE Business Administrator, Jim Edwards, is married to the Vice President of Acacia. Legally, they could probably be appointed, but I doubt Mr. Edwards would want there to be an appearance of a conflict.

    Note to FORMER Brick BOE Board President Sharen (Kight) Cantillo. Not everything is “Political” just because you say it is. There is a new board and they are hiring new people and taking things in a new direction. After what happened under the leadership of Ms. Cantillo, I think some changes are a good idea. And I think most people in Brick agree.

  • Spock’s Brain

    Not sure why this post was deleted so I am posting it again.

  • Spock’s Brain

    This article is completely misleading.

    It suggests that the new board is firing a Republican firm (Phoenix Advisors) and hiring a Democrat firm (NW Financial). In reality, Phoenix Advisors has close ties to South Jersey Democrat Power Broker George Norcross. NW Financial has appointments in over 50 Republican jurisdictions.

    To say that either of these firms is “Democrat” or “Republican” is complete nonsense. Municipal Financial Advisors are very specialized group. In New Jersey, 3 major firms (Phoenix, NW, and Acacia) have over 95% of the contracts. All 3 firms work for over 100 jurisdictions, both Democrat and Republican.

    • J W

      Are the accounts attached to certain agents? If so, the agents who are essentially salesmen could potentially be the ‘politically connected’ part of an otherwise neutral large organization.

  • Scott

    I woukd agree with the “democrate” comment but in all fairness I do not see any “republican” comment. I assume you are putting 2 and 2 together but there is no republican mention.