Republican Bergen County Freeholder candidates John Felice and John Mitchell criticized the Bergen County Democrats for taking $37,500 from Empower Newark, Mayor Cory Booker’s PAC (Political Action Committee).
The PAC has other troubles. Run by former Booker Chief of Staff Pablo Fonseca, Empower Newark cancelled a fundraising event last Friday on the eve of a Star-Ledger report citing federal subpoenas of companies that received contracts from the City of Newark.
In the meantime, Bergen Republicans used the PAC’s money surge into Bergen s evidence of influene peddling.
“The indisputable fact is that Newark politicians are not concerned about what’s in the best interest of Bergen County residents; they are concerned about what’s in their city’s best interests,” said Felice, a former River Edge Councilman. ‘And what’s in Newark’s best interest is to force the Izod Arena to close, thereby depriving the largest county in the state of its only major indoor recreation center.
“Bergen County’s Democrats are clearly being influenced by Newark politicians. They are not fighting for Bergen County,” added Felice, who noted that last year the county’s Democratic Freeholder Bernadette McPherson suggested closing the Izod Center to create a movie studio.
Mitchell said closing the Izod Center would hurt the South Bergen economy in a desperate attempt to help Newark’s flagging economy.
“If the Democrats are influenced by Mayor Booker’s $37,000 donation — and I am sure they are — they will back Booker’s efforts to see the Izod Center closed. And when it closes, hundreds of local jobs will be affected, not to mention the economics of local eateries and stores that depend on arena events for customers,” said Mitchell.