CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE - Wildwood Mayor Gary DeMarzo entered a not guilty plea to charges of official misconduct and conspiracy during a brief court appearance Wednesday afternoon.

Attorney Louis Barbone, representing DeMarzo, entered the not guilty plea during DeMarzo's first court appearance since he was indicted by a Cape May County grand jury on March 8.

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The mayor, who is currently running for re-election in Wildwood's May 10 election, is charged with second-degree official misconduct for allegedly paying attorney Sam Lashman with city funds for private legal work.

The Prosecutor's Office has not named the exact dollar figure involved.

The charge stems from a lawsuit that began in 2007 after DeMarzo was elected to City Commission.The other two commissioners at the time said DeMarzo had an inherent conflict of interest because he was an elected official while still a member of the city's Police Department.

DeMarzo has since been forced to choose which position he wanted and he chose to remain a commissioner, giving up his job as a police officer.

Lashman, represented by attorney Joseph Grassi, was also in court today and he also entered a not guilty plea to the official misconduct charges.

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