Last week, state Senator Kevin O’Toole made told Politico that former Assemblyman Paul DiGaetano had once threatened his life in an incident 11 years ago when DiGaetano was pursuing the Republican nomination for governor. Those allegations led Bergen County Republican Chairman Bob Yudin—against whom DiGaetano is competing for the county chairmanship—to make a statement urging the former assemblyman ask the New Jersey Attorney General for any and all documents pertaining to the issue. In a statement released on Monday morning, Yudin renewed that call.
“It has been four days now since I challenged Mr. DiGaetano to stop the political posturing and simply ask the Attorney General to release these records,” Yudin’s statement said. “The fact that Mr. DiGaetano has refused to do so should worry all BCRO members, and all Bergen County Republicans. His silence on this matter speaks volumes.”
According to Yudin, if DiGaetano does not ask the AG to release information related to the alleged incident, his leadership capabilities come into question.
“If Mr. DiGaetano truly wanted to address these accusations, he would have called on the Attorney General to release the records by now. He hasn’t,” Yudin’s statement continued. “For the good of the Republican Party, Mr. DiGaetano needs to let the sun shine on the facts of this incident, or neither BCRO members or Republicans across our communities can trust him in a position of leadership.”
DiGaetano remains insistent that the claims are false. In his response to Yudin’s renewed call, DiGaetano questioned the political motivations behind claims of an 11-year-old incident surfacing so close to the June 21 BCRO reorganization where Yudin or DiGaetano will be elected as county chairman. He also questioned O’Toole’s decision to retire after his term ends at the end of this year. O’Toole has endorsed Yudin.
“The accusations alleging an event from over 11 years ago by Kevin O’Toole are false and defamatory,” DiGaetano told PolitickerNJ when questioned about Yudin’s renewed call. “Given, however, the cloud of speculation surrounding [O’Toole’s] unexpected retirement from the senate, the statements are not surprising. In my opinion, they are designed to influence the outcome of the chairman race in order to support the failed leadership of Bob Yudin whom [O’Toole] has endorsed. The committee members are smarter than that. I look forward to proving these statements are false in whatever forum my attorneys recommend. ”
The death-threat claims allegedly occurred in 2005 when O’Toole was the Essex County Republican chairman. He retired from that position in 2011.