Kelly Yaede at her swearing-in ceremony in 2012. Photo by Michael A. Sabo.
The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office confirmed today that complaints were filed in Hamilton Township charging Mayor Kelly Yaede and her primary campaign manager, Dan Scharfenberger, with the disclosure of an expungement order of her primary opponent David Henderson, in violation of 2C:52-30, a disorderly persons offense.
“It’s vindication for me and my campaign for all the dirt they threw at me during the campaign, ” Henderson said when reached by phone after the news broke that Yaede had been charged. “And it underscores the criminal lengths that these people will undertake to keep a grasp on their corrupt administration,” he said of the Yaede administration.
Martin could not be reached for comment about the criminal charges filed by the Mercer County Prosecutors office.
Authorities say Yaede’s campaign manager, Dan Scharfenberger, was the blog’s administrator, and he and Yaede controlled the blog’s content – even though her campaign has said publicly they had no idea who was behind the online site.
Specifically, the complaint states that on or about May 28, 2019, through June 6, 2019, Mayor Yaede did reveal to another the existence of an arrest, conviction or related legal proceeding with knowledge that the records and information pertaining thereto have been expunged or sealed, specifically by posting expunged records on the hamiltonnjnews.blogspot and subsequently reposting on the “Mayor Kelly Yaede” Facebook page and in local media/newspapers, and through the continued publication of expunged records on hamiltonnjnews.blogspot and Facebook.
Scharfenberger’s complaint charges him with, on or about May 28, 2019, through June 6, 2019, revealing to another the existence of an arrest, conviction or related legal proceeding with knowledge that the records and information pertaining thereto have been expunged or sealed, specifically by posting expunged records on the hamiltonnjnews.blogspot and in local media/newspapers, and through the continued publication of expunged records on hamiltonnjnews.blogspot. Scharfenberger was the blog administrator and all content was controlled by him and Yaede.
On February 7, 2019, an anonymous Open Public Records Act (OPRA) request for three police reports was left on the counter of the Hamilton Township Clerk’s Office. The investigation revealed that the anonymous requester was Marty Flynn, Hamilton Township chief of staff.
There was no criminal wrongdoing found on the part of the Hamilton Police Division in responding to the OPRA request and releasing the records. Investigators determined that, in 2008, Hamilton Township Police Deputy Chief George Zimmer was responsible for expungement orders and maintaining proper disposition of those orders. Based on the investigation, it appears that the notice of expungement was received by the Hamilton Police Division, but not appropriately delivered to the records clerk due to Deputy Chief Zimmer’s sudden death on July 1, 2008.
Anyone who may have served an expungement order with the Hamilton Police Division between July 1 and July 8, 2008, should contact the police at (609) 581-4120 to verify the order was received and appropriate action was taken.
The investigation identified additional infractions on the part of a civilian employee of the Hamilton Police Division that are being referred to the HPD for administrative action due to the running of the criminal statute of limitations.
A call to Kelly Yaede’s aide was not returned.