LETTER: Jersey City NAACP leaders urge Fulop to release controversial tape

0
807

In an open letter to Mayor Steven Fulop, two ranking members of the Jersey City NAACP are urging him to release a tape recording that allegedly reveals two City Hall employees trying to interfere with a public bidding process. Jersey City NAACP

To Mayor Steve Fulop,

The NAACP of Jersey City, namely the Labor & Industry Committee and the Executive Committee was concerned to read that the city, namely the mayor, has not agreed to release the contents of a taped conversation made by a former city chief of staff in 2014.

Since Jersey City conducted a Croson Study (2011) and a subsequent Strategic Plan to address disparity (adopted by City Council unanimously 2015) that examined city procurement and construction contracting trends and concluded that few minority-owned firms were winning contracts with the city, the NAACP has pushed the city to establish a fair process to guarantee that minority-owned companies were winning contracts.

Certainly, the awarding of contracts to politically connected companies exacerbates the problem for minority firms.

That is why the NAACP was concerned (and we remain concerned) to read media reports of deposition testimony of two city officials regarding what can be construed as a conspiracy by your former chief of staff and another senior official, to steer a contract to a favored vendor — a favored vendor that is not a local enterprise nor minority.

The media reports state that there is a tape recording of these officials conspiring to rig the procurement process, which you have refused to disclose to the public. If this is true, we ask that you reconsider.

We write, joining the community, demanding that the content of those conversations, in entirety be released. Not only is this required by your stated commitment to transparency, but if this tape reveals what it purports to, you must implement procedures to guarantee that this never happens again.

We hope that you will now show your commitment to transparency by releasing this tape. Accordingly, the NAACP has one simple demand: Mr. Mayor, release the contents of the taped conversations. It is the right thing to do.

Willie J. Keaton Jr., Chair of Labor and Industry Committee

Rev. Nathaniel Legay, President Jersey City Branch