After a 2014 tape recording leaked where it appeared that Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop’s then-Chief of Staff Muhammed Akil attempted to rig a bid, he has now resigned from a Newark non-profit education reform group.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
The Parent Coalition for Excellent Education, founded by Akil in 2015, announced that he would be “resigning from the organization to pursue other professional opportunities.”
“One of the main objectives of PC2E’s Action Fund was to give the charter school sector a strong political voice in Newark,” Akil, also the group’s executive director, said in a statement.
“The formation and success of the Newark Unity Slate in 2016 and 2017, with PC2E playing a major role, clearly shows that this mission was accomplished.”
The aforementioned tape was leaked to Politico late last month after many weeks of speculation, revealing a 13-plus minute conversation between Akil and then-Jersey City Democratic Committee Chairman Shawn “Sully” Thomas Sullivan.
They discuss their efforts to try and manipulate a request for proposals process for an energy consulting contract.
“What I don’t like about this, see, f***ing straight up this is the kind of s*** where motherf***ers go to jail,” Akil says to Sullivan towards the end of the recording.
The tape recording, which is or poor quality, was made by accident, as it was left on Business Administrator Bob Kakoleski’s voicemail when Akil didn’t hang up his cell phone.
Fulop has said that the bid was cancelled and that it was reported to the “authorities,” though he faced scrutiny for not divulging which law enforcement agencies were involved – as well as for not issuing any discipline for Akil or Sullivan.
The city council is still set to have a closed session caucus meeting to discuss the tape recording, as well as the discrimination lawsuit that led to it’s release, on Monday – even though it has already leaked.
P2CE made no mention of the tape recording and thanked Akil for his efforts that benefited the organization.
This isn’t the first time Akil has faced intense public backlash.
In October 2014, he had to answer for hate speech spanning back to the 90′s, where declared things such as “all white people have a little Hitler in them.”
Akil also stirred up some mild controversy last year when Hudson County View exclusively reported he was involved in the Jersey City Board of Education race behind the scenes.
The Fulop campaign paid $10,000 to Akil, through his company Alpha Planning, LLC in August: a $5,000 payment from Fulop’s mayoral campaign for a “rent expense” on August 18th and another $5,000 for a “consulting fee” on August 31st, according to reports filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
A campaign spokeswoman previously declined to comment on the payments, though it is known that Akil ran the get out the vote (GOTV) operations for Ward F Councilman Jermaine Robinson on Tuesday.
Despite a crowded field of six candidates, Robinson had no problem winning on the first ballot, securing just over 55 percent of the vote.