Seaside Heights officials on Wednesday vowed to take action against the owner of the infamous “Jersey Shore” house, potentially limiting or eliminating its ability to be rented out in the future.
The furor over the property at 1209 Ocean Terrace, adorned with its world-famous Italian flag painting over the garage, comes after more than 2,000 people showed up in town after the “Nelk Boys,” a group of Canadian YouTube creators, rented the home to host a count down to kick off the sale of new merchandise on their website. The only problem: the home had no rental certificate of occupancy at the time, according to officials.
The owner of the home, D&P Rentals LLC, based in Daytona Beach, Fla., was issued several summonses. They were served upon the brother of Danny Merk, who acted as landlord of the house during MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” which made the building a popular sightseeing and selfie-snapping destination for visitors.
Borough Administrator Christopher Vaz said the property owner was issued summonses for renting a home without a certificate of occupancy on Sept. 12, 13 and 14, as well as maintaining a disorderly home, part of the borough’s nuisance ordinance.
Under Seaside Heights’ nuisance ordinance, sometimes referred to as an “Animal House” law, the ability to rent a property can be revoked if there is a history of trouble or police activity by tenants. There are also potential fines and penalties that include suspending the ability of an owner to rent a property. Officials made it clear that they will be seeking to enforce penalties against the owners of the property following the Sept. 14 fracas, which resulted in eight arrests, a serious car accident and instances of police officers having rocks and bottles thrown at them. There was also effectively no compliance with social distancing orders.
“I’m furious,” said Mayor Anthony Vaz. “The police commissioner and I met with the owners who were involved and there will be repercussions and consequences. I got a text from the governor this morning. He said there’s a dark cloud over Seaside Heights.”
Gov. Phil Murphy publicly commented on the incident during a coronavirus press briefing Wednesday, labeling the Nelk Boys with his signature moniker for those who misbehave – “knuckleheads.”
Vaz said the borough had no knowledge of the Nelk Boys or who they were until last Thursday night. Footage of past incidents was reviewed, including those that prompted ongoing investigations in Illinois. YouTube has demonetized the Nelk Boys page (meaning advertisements will not run on their videos) after several incidents and complaints, but the group has switched to merchandising to earn money – namely apparel emblazoned with their slogan “Full Send.”
“This was not sponsored by us, and this will not happen again,” said Vaz. “We’re not going back to six years ago.”
At one point, there were as many as 57 officers posted outside, said Councilman Michaek Carbone. Vaz said overall, the incident drew the attention of more than 70 police officers from numerous jurisdictions that were called in for both crowd control as well as to disperse a Nelk Boys-themed car club whose members were driving dangerously through the town. Many residents of Toms River and Brick said they heard high-speed races on Route 37 and the Garden State Parkway later in the night.
Carbone complimented the professionalism of police officers in the face of a potentially unstable crowd.
“They didn’t escalate anything, they just controlled the crowd,” he said.
Officials said they are currently looking into seeking restitution to cover the cost of police and other municipal resources linked to the event.
“There has be a consequence where everyone recognizes, ‘you can’t do this anymore,'” Vaz said. I had people texting me at 11 o’clock at night who were frightened. Tickets are good, but they only go so far. To some people, $1,000 isn’t a lot of money.”
As for the summonses that have already been issued: “It’s not going to end there,” the mayor said.