Councilman Center Of Defamation Case

Daniel Rodrick

TOMS RIVER – A Toms River Councilman was served a defamation lawsuit during a council meeting, but he says that he is the one who is being dragged through the mud.

Robyn Gedrich, the municipal vice chair of the Brick Democrats, filed the suit recently against Councilman Daniel Rodrick.

The lawsuit alleges that Rodrick owns “fake news” websites Ocean County Chronicle, Brick Beacon, and Toms River Weekly, and Facebook pages Jackson Watch, Brick Watch, Toms River Watch, and Toms River Taxpayers. It also alleges that he operates the group Citizens For Transparent Government, which paid Facebook to direct viewers to his sites. This spending, allegedly, violates campaign finance laws.

Gedrich filed the suit because of an article written about her: “Job Given To Mayor Ducey’s New Democratic Party Underboss.” The Sept. 29 article was written about a Facebook post in which she announced her appointment as vice chair of the town’s Democrats. The article is written to imply she was given a patronage job at the town, which she was not.

Gedrich is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, as well as legal fees. She is being represented by Gregory Cannon, an attorney in Englewood Cliffs.

Rodrick won a seat on the Toms River Township Council in the 2017 election. He was one of three Democrats to unseat Republican incumbents. However, in July, he announced that he was switching to the Republican party, and that he had been a registered Republican in the past.

He argued that this was a “hit job” orchestrated by ranking members of the Democrats. He was served the suit during a Township Council meeting, and a video of it was online a few hours later with the tagline “Councilman Rodrick You’ve Been Served!” This, he said, shows that his political enemies constructed the lawsuit to get a lot of mileage out of it.

“People are tired of the dirty smear tactics of the Democrats, which is why they’ve already suffered the defection of two councilmen here in Ocean County,” he said, referencing himself and Brick Councilman Jim Fozman. “They’ve opened a pandora’s box and they’ll have some sleepless nights once the facts are out.”