Paterson Ward 6 councilman Andre Sayegh says he plans to amend both his ELEC filings and lawn signs in order to be in compliance with ELEC regulations. The move by Sayegh comes after his challenger in Ward 6, Al Abdelaziz issued a statement criticizing Sayegh for failure to include a “paid for” line on campaign materials as required by ELEC.
“This was brought to my attention by an upset resident who asked, ‘who is paying for his literature?’ As a staunch believer in transparency, I know how important to have these ‘paid for’ lines on all materials,” said Abdelaziz in a statement. “The residents of the 6th Ward deserve transparency, and deserve an answer to the question: Who is paying for his campaign? If he isn’t abiding by election law and his campaign isn’t paying for his literature, then the 6th Ward needs an answer to who is buying Andre Sayegh’s campaign for him?”
According to Sayegh the issue will soon be addressed.
“Unfortunately, our printer didn’t include it so we have created stickers,” Sayegh said. The councilman said that lawn signs, in particular, will all be amended with stickers.
Another ELEC issue that Sayegh says he plans to correct in the immediate future is the failure to include employer information on ELEC filings. According to the ELEC compliance manual, “the contributor’s occupation and employer information will also be required to be reported for any contribution in excess of $300 in the aggregate.”
“We will go as far back as we see where we didn’t include the occupation,” Sayegh said. “But, the most important thing is that we have always been on time with our reports. And we have always shown transparency as to who is donating, and by how much. So that is the most important aspect, just to let them know where our donors are coming from and where the donations are coming from.”
According to Sayegh, he plans amend his reports to include occupation. Sayegh also said that an amendment to Abelaziz’s ELEC report (received on March 17) was submitted because of an initial omission of employer information. Abdelaziz’s campaign has not issued a statement on the ELEC reports but is, instead, focusing on the campaign materials.
“He did the same thing, he failed to list the donor’s occupations,” Sayegh said. “So he is essentially accusing us of what he did so we are just going to amend it like he did. For him to make the same omission and accuse us, my opponent is coming across as an April Fool.”
Other elected officials like Paterson Mayor Joey Torres and Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty have faced charges due to similar campaign finance violations. However, Torres’ violations were more far-reaching because he also failed to report information on donors, including names in addition to employers.
Abdelaziz issued a statement in response, claiming that Sayegh needs to amend more than just lawn signs and city council ELEC reports. Abdelaziz claimed that Sayegh instead, must amend a much more significant portion of filings for past races and other campaign material.
The statement said: “He needs to amend every report for the past 8 years. And put paid for on ALL his materials.These are two huge wide-ranging violations by Sayegh. Fool us once shame on us. Fool us twice, shame on Sayegh. Transparency isn’t a joke, as he believes. And he is not in a position to offer his own definition of transparency. Andre calls himself a teacher – if a student hands in a paper on time but barely complete, that’s not considered a job well done.“