Hoboken 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco is going after colleague/fellow mayoral hopeful Ravi Bhalla for running with a “political establishment attorney,” whose two law firms combined for $7.6 million in government contracts in 2016.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“It was difficult to contain my shock at hearing that Ravi Bhalla, a politically connected insider lawyer at one of New Jersey’s most powerful law firms, made the stunning choice to select a fellow political establishment attorney in John P. Allen for his Council slate,” DeFusco said in a statement.
“Who could have ever guessed that a lawyer like Ravi, whose law firm was paid over $3.8 million in government contracts in 2016, would decide to run with a lawyer whose firm was also paid over $3.8 million in government contacts? A truly inspired, outside-the-box pick.”
Earlier today, Bhalla announced his slate of fellow Councilman-at-Large James Doyle, Allen, who works for the firm Schenck, Price, Smith & King, LLP, and gun safety advocate Emily Jabbour.
Meanwhile, Bhalla’s full-time position is as an attorney for Florio Perrucci Steinhardt & Fader.
Clearly, DeFusco, who has already taken a shot at another mayoral candidate in Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5), clearly remains unimpressed by the opposition field.
“In all seriousness, this is just the latest example of a candidate for Mayor in Ravi Bhalla who claims to represent reform, but who in reality is a pay-to-play lawyer more interested in the next government contract than in delivering for the people. That’s who Ravi Bhalla is and this selection of a fellow insider attorney is just the latest proof.”
Bhalla campaign spokesman Rob Horowitz brushed off the criticism by claiming DeFusco had sour grapes since Allen and his fiancee declined to support his candidacy.
“Once again Mike DeFusco is showing his true colors putting his naked ambition ahead of principle. DeFusco neglected to mention that two days ago he solicited the support of John Allen and his fiancée Tara Mullins for his campaign, asking them to host a meet and greet, and even going so far as dangling the prospect of a board appointment,” he said.
“Now, that John Allen is running with Ravi Bhalla, he launches a distorted, reckless attack. Class is welcoming opponents into the race, not hypocritically attacking them on day one. But that is not something we’ve seen much of from Mr. DeFusco so far.”
The tension between Bhalla and DeFusco dates back to at least February, long before Mayor Dawn Zimmer decided not to seek a third term, when they hosted fundraisers on the same day.
At the time, when neither elected official had declared a mayoral run yet, both attributed the situation to a lack of communication, though political observers pondered how such a coincidence could have occurred.