A $7.5 million dollar payment to Florida-based Ashbritt, Inc. has been approved by Ocean County officials for Superstorm Sandy debris cleanup.  At Wednesday's meeting of the Ocean County Board of Freeholders, a Star Ledger reporter challenged the decision to use the firm.  In the last few days, there has been growing questions about whether or not the contract awarded to the state was based on political favoritism and no-bid backroom deals.

Governor Christie has denied that saying the contract was actually from Connecticut first, before coming to Jersey - and there was nothing sneaky about it.  During the Freeholder meeting, the reporter continued to pepper the board with questions.

Freeholder John Bartlett fired back when the reporter suggested they should have gone out to bid instead of using the state agreement.

Bartlett said "We should all sit around here chewing on our thumbs, while nothing happens on the beach because we have to go out to bid on our own.  That's dumb.  We're here to get a job done."

The board also defended Ashbritt, saying without them, the cleanup would have taken a lot longer.

Freeholder Director Jack Kelly also fought back with this statement "we were never hit with a storm of this magnitude in the history of this county - and we took the best action we felt for the people of our county. Maybe your newspaper don't like that.  God bless them."

The board denies claims that county GOP Chair George Gilmore had anything to do with getting the contract.