While they last crossed paths nearly a month ago, the bad blood between Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders Chair Anthony Vainieri (D-8) and North Bergen antagonist Larry Wainstein is continuing to escalate and doesn’t appear to be letting up any time soon.
In a one-on-one interview, Vainieri appeared to be enjoying himself while recalling the chaotic scene at North Bergen Township Hall back on July 26th, where the zoning board, which Vainieri also chairs, approved a 12-story project for 8619 Bergenline Ave.
At that meeting, he and Wainstein traded heavy blows that nearly resulted in the latter being escorted out of the building by a North Bergen police officer.
While Wainstein and his supporters were unable to sway the end result, it still left a bad taste in Vainieri’s mouth.
“I said listen ‘I’ve got pictures of Joe Mocco going in your campaign headquarters.’ I took out my phone and said ‘do you want to see Joe Mocco going in your campaign headquarters on a daily basis?’ I did it myself, no else did it, no private investigator,” Vainieri exclaimed.
Mocco, a former township clerk, is one of the men primarily responsible for the successful recall of Mayor Anthony DiVincent back in 1985, paving the way for none other than current state Senator (D-33)/Mayor Nick Sacco to become a commissioner.
The following year, he was charged with illegal dumping, which ultimately led to a stint in prison.
Needless to say, he isn’t much of a Sacco fan these days and would love to knock the North Hudson kingpin off his throne.
According to Vainieri, that’s just wishful thinking, at best.
“Whatever, he wants to associate people like that, who want to take over government and rob the town blind and develop it so they can make their millions: that’s his only problem. He’s just jealous because he’s not there to develop.”
The whole Wainstein-Sacco feud began years ago when the zoning board wouldn’t approve a 12-story building above a popular liquor store owned by Wainstein, at least that’s how Vainieri tells the story.
Beyond that, the head county legislator still has a bone to pick with Wainstein over his criticisms of the controversial multi-million dollar deal with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
In particular, he wanted to stake his claim that Wainstein doesn’t truly live in North Bergen, a regular proclamation from the Sacco camp during the brutal 2015 campaign, and should therefore take his issues up with municipal officials in Bergen County.
“I think one of his corporations buys a house in North Bergen, 7414 4th Ave., and if you pass it, you’ll never see him there. You’ll never see cars there, you’ll see the same light in the living room on, probably on a timer,” Vainieri stated.
” … Now it’s closer to election time so now he’s showing his face a little more. Maybe he’s sleeping there a little bit more, I don’t know. But, his wife and kids are up in Franklin Lakes. His two kids are enrolled in the Franklin Lakes school system. His real address is 841 Winton Gate Lane in Franklin Lakes.”
Vainieri, often rumored to be a leading candidate to replace Frank Gargiulo on the North Bergen Board of Commissioners, said that push comes to shove, he isn’t terribly concerned about Wainstein gaining traction in the event he decides to put his name on the ballot one more time.
“Nick Sacco would never allow that to happen to North Bergen, neither would any of the commissioners: nobody in town would want him.”
Referring to himself as a lifelong Hudson County resident, Wainstein didn’t seem to be bothered by Vainieri’s comments, again focusing his attention on the ICE agreement.
“As a lifelong resident resident of Hudson County, current resident of North Bergen and child of immigrant parents I am extremely saddened and disappointed by Freeholder Anthony comments regarding the ICE contract,” Wainstein said.
“Freeholder Anthony Vainieri prefers to take blood money and incarcerate thousands of immigrants for coming to the United States for a better life. The conditions at the Hudson County Jail are deplorable. This year alone there has been a number of suicides under Vainieri’s watch due to lack of care and improper maintenance of the facility. I am going to implore Freeholder Vainieri to rescind the ICE contract immediately. There is no excuse to accept federal money by Trump earmarked for a racist agenda.”