In the aftermath of the Michael Einwecther / Amazing Ventnor arrest, the following comments are from Ventnor’s Chief of Police, Doug Biagi.
I have been reviewing the responses on this forum over the past 30 hours concerning Amazing Ventnor and I’m not sure everyone understands how this entire situation unfolded. At this time I will explain the timeline that may help paint a clearer picture without undermining the spectacular work that was completed by the Investigating Detectives.
Within 24 hours of the Puerto Rico Benefit being finished complaints and allegations concerning how the event was managed and accountability started trickling in to my office and appearing online. These complaints came from a wide variety of people including people who worked at the event, The Ventnor City Administration, members of this forum as well as many concerned citizens.
At this point I determined an investigation should be conducted. I informed the City Administration of the investigation and immediately requested a gag order on any and all discussions related to the event and it’s organizer. Their cooperation with the investigation and gag order was swift and unanimous, for that I am truly grateful. This placed an immense burden on them, not being able to respond to anything being said on social media, this also created a false impression that they didn’t care, which was farthest from the truth.
The second hurdle was trying to quell all of the discussions on Facebook concerning this topic, many of which were quite accurate and actually assisted in the investigation. To those people who assisted when I reached out to them for help concerning this, I want to say Thank You. There was a point where too much information, speculation and theories were coming in that it was actually hindering the investigation. The public feared nothing was being done and because of the gag order across the board nothing was being said to the contrary. This is one of the pitfalls of fighting crime in the Age of Social Media.
Eventually the pieces of the puzzle were fit into place, the dots were connected and the investigation completed resulting in charges being filed.
Now we have to deal with the aftermath, the unanswered questions, what’s next? This will be the hardest part, the waiting game. We were all affected by the outcome of this investigation. We stood together as one community on October 15th and enjoyed a beautiful benefit. It was epic. I donated, you donated, we all donated something. It may have been money, time, skills, food ,talent, the list goes on. Impassioned speeches of faith, unity and compassion were made by people of all walks of life. It felt good to be part of a worthy cause.
When the time comes, restitution will be requested and the funds earmarked for the suffering families of Puerto Rico will be turned over to them for proper dispersion.
As I conclude this statement it should be known that the City Administration is in the process of planning a town hall style Q and A meeting to try and answer whatever lingering questions those involved that were directly affected by this break of trust may have . I hope my words and explanation helped in some small way.
A town hall meeting will be held on December 21 regarding the Puerto Rico fundraiser. 4:30 to 6 p.m. at the City of Ventnor Commission Chambers for residents to voice their concerns, speak with City Commissioners and Chief Douglas Biagi regarding the alleged mishandling of funds donated to a recent fundraiser for Puerto Rico hurricane victims.
Statement from Tim Kriebel, Ventnor Commissioner of Public Safety:
“Dear Ventnor residents and those that donated or participated in the Puerto Rico fundraiser on October 15, 2017:
Now that the investigation into the mishandling of proceeds from the Puerto Rico fundraiser has been made public, we want to make it clear that Mayor Holtzman, Commissioner Landgraf, and myself condemn the actions that allegedly took place. The promoter Michael Einwechter is accused of taking advantage of the kindness and generosity of our city, our residents, our police and fire departments and the donated time of many.
We are working with Chief Biagi and the city’s detective bureau in every way to ensure as much of the funds as possible can find their way to the intended charity and the people of Puerto Rico. With VCPD’s help we are taking measures to ensure this promoter, if found guilty, does not promote events in the City of Ventnor again, and that special events in the city are vetted even more thoroughly than they are now.
If you participated, attended, donated, or volunteered for the Puerto Rico fundraiser and are interested in discussing further, please attend a public meeting to be held at the City of Ventnor Commission Chambers on Thursday December 21, 2017, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. where you can voice your concerns and hear from your Commissioners and Chief Biagi with the goal of collectively moving forward from this very unfortunate incident.
I think I speak for many of us when I say we are a caring and generous city that responded quickly and selflessly by giving food, money, equipment, time, talents and goodwill to those in need. That is the real Ventnor, and that is what we should all be proud of.”