Dear friends and neighbors:
If you read my 12/8 email you would have seen that I referenced a personal attack that happened at the City Council meeting on 12/5 and that I believe it was orchestrated out of the mayor’s office, specifically by John Allen, Mayor Bhalla’s Chief of Staff. If you didn’t read the email or click on the links the attack was by two people – Anthony De Leonardo and Patricia Waiters – who seemed to be coordinated as they implied and directly stated that a certain council person was a racist. And that council person was me.
As you can imagine, being on the receiving end of something like that is awful – an experience that no one should have. Since then I have debated whether or not to speak more fully about it. Do I repeat the story and bring more attention to awful things being said against me? Or do I just let it go and hope it stops? I tried the latter but apparently that has not worked ….
At last night’s council meeting, the same narrative continued as Ms. Waiters came to the microphone again. At the previous meeting she said she had received a call to come the meeting to speak and this time she said she received information from Nancy Pincus who writes a local blog and who has continuously attacked me since I supported another candidate for mayor.
Rather than isolated events, I believe these were just the next in a series of related provocation and attacks from two people (in addition to Ms. Waiters) who seemingly out of the blue spoke out at council meetings and submitted written complaints, although having had no recent or significant involvement in local government or politics. These two people are Mike Donnelly and Anthony DeLeonardo and they both have ties to the mayor’s office and Mr. Allen.
- I believe both Mr. Donnelly or Mr. DeLeonardo were asked by others to perform their attacks, that they had probably no reason or experience to know or be aware of the content of their orchestrated attacks, that they both appeared to rely on statements seemingly prepared by others with similar content as seen on Ms. Pincus’ blog, and that they both have ties to Mr. Allen and others in and close to the mayor’s office.
To be clear - these aren’t two guys who came to a meeting for the first time to advocate for something that happened to them personally like getting a parking ticket under an arcane parking rule (like someone did last night). These two each presented prepared statements on complex issues that were not directed at either of them.
For example, Mr. DeLeonardo’s first action was actually in early November when he filed a bogus ethical complaint about saying that I illegally sought legal services and received a legal opinion in violation of a local municipal code to use such opinion for a public hearing to remove a planning board member. Yes… read that again.
First of all – it is 100% not true. But really? Mr. DeLeonardo is in his mid 20’s and has lived in Hoboken for less than a year. I communicate with all of you regularly on some pretty complicated issues – many of you who have lived here a while and are really active locally. Could or would any of you have come up with this type of complaint on your own without a little help? And who in Hoboken actually knows enough about something like this to provide this help? Maybe the same person who gave it to Ms. Pincus for the story she wrote about it the same day? Maybe a lawyer like Mr. Allen? Maybe both?
I could write more narrative, but instead I have listed below what I have learned about each person, each event, and how they are connected to Mr. Allen and others.
- A 2nd ward neighbor who I first became aware of when he attended a council meeting in July for the first time.
- At the meeting, he read lengthy, prepared statements that included fabricated ethical and political charges against four council members (including me).
- He returned to the August City Council with more prepared comments and similar attacks.
- Mr. Donnelly, who is in his mid 30’s I do not believe to be a lawyer, submitted written ethical complaints to both the Hoboken corporation counsel and the Local Finance Board against other council members that read as legal briefs, with multiple and specific code references.
- Through social media, it was discovered and publicized that Mr. Donnelly is a part time stand-up comedian and is close to Mr. Allen, as evidenced by the multiple pictures on Mr. Donnelly’s Instagram page and Mr. Allen’s wife’s FB page of he in small social groups with Mr. Allen.
- On Friday, September 14th, Mr. Donnelly was seen by people (one who I know personally) and it was reported publicly that he had dinner with Mayor Bhalla and John Allen at Dino and Harry’s.
- We haven’t seen Mr. Donnelly at a council meeting or heard from him since.
- On 11/7, Mr. DeLeonardo, who is also not a lawyer, emailed the complaint noted above to the City Clerk’s office and Hoboken corporation counsel.
- Referenced in the complaint and attached to it was an email that I had sent to Councilwoman Emily Jabbour, seemingly printed from her own email account – only she and Councilman Ramos (cc’d) were on that correspondence so I can only guess how it came into Mr. DeLeonardo's hands.
- Corporation counsel replied to Mr. DeLeonardo that the complaint needed to be filed in Trenton, which I do not believe has happened yet.
- That day I received multiple calls from members of the press inquiring about the bogus complaint against me and heard that someone close to the mayor was actively marketing the story to the media.
- Also that day, Ms. Pincus wrote about the possibility of this complaint being filed on her blog.
- Through social media again, it was discovered that Mr. DeLeonardo only recently moved to Hoboken and is friends with a Hoboken Democratic Committee member who is close friends with Mr. Allen (we looked for it and it wasn't difficult to find...).
- The next time we heard from Mr. DeLeonardo was a month later when he came to the December 5th Council meeting, where he seemed to coordinate with Ms. Waiters and make their personal attacks against me.
- These attacks were focused on racism and were almost entirely different than and unrelated to the bogus ethic complaint he filed about me on November 7th.
- Mr. DeLeonardo and Ms. Waiters walked out of the meeting together after doing a double high five.
- It was almost immediately confirmed and later publicized that Mr. DeLeonardo went to John Allen’s house after leaving the council meeting.
- Mr. Allen has since stated publicly in an “interview” with Ms. Pincus that he is friends with Mr. DeLeonardo.
- Mr. DeLeonardo did not return to the meeting last night.
How can all of this not be related and orchestrated?
I know who I am as a person and can withstand hateful comments and attacks like these. I know that not all of you want to receive or read things like this. I get it. It was as tedious for me to write as it probably is for you to read. But like anyone subjected to this, I would like it to stop. I hope you will support me by telling Mayor Bhalla and John Allen that you want these actions to stop as well. And please keep this all in mind if you see any more similar press or stories over the coming months as we approach next year's elections.
I am writing this specifically today because I do not want our year together to end on this note or for our next year to begin on this note. There is a lot of positive and other updates going on locally and I will move on from here and return to you after Christmas with a end of year recap. And it will not have even a whisper of this in that letter. I promise.
Thank you to all of you who already reached out to me with your support. It means everything to me. And as always, please if you have any questions or want to discuss this or anything else, feel free to email me or call me at 201/208-1674.