Levy stands at the center of the storm

The pressure mounted today on embattled Atlantic City Mayor Robert Levy, and although his press spokesman steadily denied rumors of an impending resignation announcement, the Press of Atlantic City is reporting that Assemblyman Jim Whelan called on Levy to address rumors that he is the target of a federal law enforcement probe.

The mayor for months has been battling backlash from his campaign cycle comments about serving in the Green Berets. Now the rumor on the street in this seaside gambling city is that Levy improperly applied for and received certain military benefits. The mayor did not respond to a call from PoliticsNJ.com to quash those allegations.

“As far as I know, there is no factual basis to him stepping down or resigning,” Nick Morici, Levy’s press secretary, said early this afternoon.

Levy, who served in Vietnam, received an honorary cap from the elite fighting unit, but was never in the Berets, though he said he was when he ran for office.

Elected in 2005, Levy this year became the target of a recall effort, whose members charge that he’s been mostly a no-show mayor. Worse for Levy: a majority of council members lent their signatures to the recall movement.

The Atlantic City native and former lifeguard has had physical problems that recently landed him in the hospital, but has not met much sympathy on the council.

“We had a president named Roosevelt who was in a wheelchair,” said Atlantic City Councilman Bruce Ward, who has signed the recall petition. “You can have physical problems and you can surround yourself with competent people who will do a good job for you. The mayor has not done that, and Atlantic City needs so much more.”

(Matt Friedman contributed to this report)

Levy stands at the center of the storm