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MacArthur, Lonegan Both Facing Scrutiny Over 'Hurricane' Issues

Lonegan under fire for comments made after Sandy; MacArthur's company accused of short-changing storm victims

Patch File Photo
Patch File Photo
In a tale of two new Ocean County residents running for the Republican nomination for Congress in New Jersey's third district, both are facing backlash over their would-be district's top issue: Superstorm Sandy recovery.

The well-funded Tom MacArthur campaign, supported by the regular GOP organizations in both Ocean and Burlington counties, began running attack ads last week over comments made by his opponent, Steve Lonegan, who said storm victims should "suck it up."

Lonegan's full quote, as reported by Patch in 2012, was a criticism of the multi-billion dollar Congressional aid package passed after Sandy devastated the U.S. east coast, including the Jersey Shore.

“Tragic things happen every day to people – worse things than having your house flood – and we don’t hand them a check,” Lonegan said. “Having your shore house flood doesn’t rank.

“This is not a federal government responsibility," he continued. "We need to suck it up and be responsible for taking care of ourselves.”

But MacArthur is facing his own round of backlash over his company's response to Hurricane Ike, which struck the U.S. Gulf Coast in 2008.

Last week, the British Daily Mail newspaper ran a lengthy story on MacArthur, which revealed that in his role as chairman of the board of York Risk Services Group, a unit of AIG insurance, the company was sued for cheating Ike victims as well as victims of a 2008 California wildfire.

While MacArthur, the newspaper reported, is not named personally in any of the lawsuits, he was an officer of York and one of its major shareholders.

York makes its money by processing claims and vetting them for traditional insurance companies.

In the case of the wildfires, York paid half of a $285,000 fine following a state government allegation that it short-changed victims of the disaster by $10.8 million, the Daily Mail reported.

While Lonegan carried the third district in his unsuccessful bid to represent New Jersey in the U.S. Senate last fall, the GOP establishment in the two-county area chose to strongly back MacArthur.

The anti-Lonegan ad referencing the "suck it up" remark features Toms River Mayor Thomas Kelaher, Berkeley Township Councilwoman Judy Noonan and former Brick Township Councilwoman Ruthanne Scaturro.

Both Lonegan and MacArthur are former North Jersey mayors – Lonegan, of Bogota, and MacArthur, of Randolph Township. Lonegan now owns a home in Lavallette; MacArthur owns a home in Barnegat Light. Toms River Councilman Maurice "Mo" Hill, who was at one point the strongest local candidate in the race, has endorsed MacArthur.

The congressional primary is set for June 3. The winner will face Democrat Aimee Belgard, a Burlington County freeholder, in the general election.
Rock.n.Roll May 09, 2014 at 09:39 AM
And you keep voting demo gene, you won't even have any pockets left in your pants....
Mike Mazzucca May 09, 2014 at 09:55 PM
RnR, gene will have pockets, in fact they'll be bigger so more hands can get in there
Gene May 09, 2014 at 10:38 PM
Only a Republican will try to put their hands in my pocket and everyone else. In fact they'll see what's in there and follow it behind closed doors to make sure we don't irritate the wacky religious right.
Brandy the Dog May 09, 2014 at 10:41 PM
As opposed to the religious left that wears skirts without pockets per se?
Rock.n.Roll May 11, 2014 at 09:42 PM
If i remember the last demo went to jail? Who is tossing stones? Most all are crooks in some form, as evidenced every day in the news. I could care less, who is in charge, I want my taxes lowered, too much waste from the brick machine. It isn't the repubs saying to double and triple building permits, i believe the dems are in right, doing this?? Hey, at one time Point, Bayhead, mantoloking, all the higher end areas were once part of Brick. they saw the light years ago and got away, higher end with lower taxes..smart moves

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