Count former Jersey City Mayor Bret Schundler as one ally of former Assemblyman Lou Manzo in his quest to force Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy to forfeit his office.
“If what the officer said happened actually happened, then I think Healy should be removed,” he said.
After grand jury testimony surfaced from a police officer alleging that Healy tried to use his political status to “sweep” his 2006 disorderly conduct arrest in Bradley Beach “under the rug,” Manzo filed a lawsuit asking the Monmouth County Prosecutor to look into the matter.
Manzo feels that Healy was held to a different standard than former Newark Councilwoman Dana Rone, who was forced to leave the city council after a disorderly conduct conviction in which she tried to use her influence to get her nephew out of a traffic ticket.
Manzo’s suit met with harsh criticism not only from Mayor Healy, but also from fellow potential mayoral rival Steve Fulop – who’s no friend of Healy’s. Both pointed to what they said was a pattern of Manzo using lawsuits to further his own political ends.
Schundler, who is also plotting a return to City Hall next year, thinks that criticism is unwarranted.
“I would imagine that an awful lot of people think that he should be removed from office if that’s true,” said Schundler.
“Instead of an ad hominem attack on Lou, the question is whether what Lou is seeking is appropriate. What I really dislike very much about politics… is that rather than people dealing with your policy proposal, or in this case with the merits of Lou’s lawsuit, they attack him personally. What does that have to do with it?”
Fulop argued that he never personally attacked Manzo, and accused Schundler of hypocrisy.
"I’m just point out the facts. Lou has a track record of taking legal action to try to win elections, as opposed to going to the ballot box," said Fulop. "Bret has a very short term memory, because he did a hatchet job on Governor DiFrancesco when he was running in the (2001 gubernatorial) primary."
Timothy Howes, a lawyer representing Manzo in the lawsuit, is a former Schundler political ally, and donated to his 2001 and 2005 gubernatorial campaigns. But Schundler said that he’s not working in conjunction with Manzo.
Schundler also said he won’t have his own official campaign kickoff until after the November election.
“When you do the kickoff, when a lot of people call and say I want to volunteer, you want to have built your infrastructure so you can put them to work,” he said.