Police should reject effort to make them part of solar retaliation


In the middle of a criminal investigation into the loss of millions in fees paid by Sussex County taxpayers and the improper use of millions in United States Treasury grant money, Concord Energy lobbyist Molly Whilesmith has attempted to use the police to retaliate against Freeholder Gail Phoebus for blowing the whistle on the Sussex solar bailout.

Whilesmith is a lobbyist for Concord Energy/ Concord Engineering, an energy firm that just landed a fat contract from Sussex County.  She is also the chairman of the Marie Bilik for Assembly campaign. 

Bilik was recruited to run against Assemblyman Parker Space and Freeholder Gail Phoebus by another Concord lobbyist.  This was done in retaliation for Space and Phoebus' call for an investigation of a solar energy deal gone bad that cost Sussex taxpayers millions and had to require a $7 million bailout.  The deal is currently being investigated by federal and state law enforcement authorities.

Without revealing her connection to the Bilik campaign, Concord Energy, the solar deal, or the federal/state investigation, Whilesmith contacted every police chief in Legislative District 24 yesterday and asked them to politicize their departments in the effort to retaliate against Freeholder Gail Phoebus.

It was Freeholder Phoebus who opposed the solar bailout.  It was Freeholder Phoebus who led calls for an investigation.  It was Freeholder Phoebus who wrote to the United States Justice Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Securities & Exchange Commission, and the State Attorney General's Office.

Unfortunately, Watchdog has learned that a few did assist in the furtherance of Whilesmith's attempts at retaliation and in violation of accepted ethical practice.  This is unfortunate because most taxpayers in these heavily Republican counties believe that the police should not become partisan political agents in an attempt at retaliation -- particularly when there is an ongoing criminal investigation.