Jersey City Ward F council candidate Frank “Educational” Gilmore called on Mayor Steven Fulop and his team to denounce an anonymous attack flyer that targeted him over his arrest history, where they responded that they had no involvement whatsoever.
By Daniel Ulloa/Hudson County View
“I’m asking Mayor Steven Fulop … and the entire council to denounce this form of racial politics. This Willy Horton style of racial politics has no place here in Jersey City,” Gilmore said in front of his community center at 135 Monticello Ave. earlier this afternoon.
“We cannot go back and forth with retaliatory efforts, doing unethical things to those individuals responsible for disseminating this misinformation. Michelle Obama said it best, ‘When they go low, you have to go high,’” he said to applause from the crowd, noting that he has supporters more enraged about the situation than he is.
Early Tuesday morning, anonymous flyers targeted Gilmore for his troubled youth, alleging he had been arrested 41 times and served 10 years in state prison.
However, the flyer did not contain a “paid for” line required by state election law and also made other bold claims, such as that he was “employing black children to sell drugs” and participated in violent crime.
Gilmore, now a coach and youth mentor who works for the city’s department of health and human services, said it was particularly hypocritical since the city touts it’s re-entry program as one of the best in the country.
“We can’t say in one breath we’re a national model for second chance program and then ridicule an individual for almost overcoming every obstacle second chance individuals face.”
He acknowledged his troubled past, though said he has overcome it, as evidenced by receiving $50,000 from Ellen Degeneres.
Gilmore, also known as Coach Woo, added that he was never convicted of selling drugs to a juvenile, stalking, or unlawful possession of a handgun, as well as that he was not arrested 41 times.
A Jersey Journal profile from 2018 indicated that Gilmore was arrested 31 times as a juvenile and 10 times as an adult and that he was eventually sentenced to 10 years in prison, though did not state how much time he served.
He declined to comment on any further specifics, calling on the media to investigate the particulars of the flyer following a question from HCV.
Public records show that a Frank Gilmore was arrested for employing juveniles in a drug distribution scheme on January 29th, 2004.
While Gilmore has had a tough week, between the flyer incident and then coming out as unvaccinated before getting his first shot the next day, he still sounded confident that he would enter the winner’s circle on November 2nd.
“It’s going to be a clear message to not ignore the very people who are responsible for putting you into that seat,” he said.
Fulop campaign spokesman Phil Swibinski denied that his team had any involvement in the flyer and also swiped at Gilmore for still not filing any campaign finance reports this election cycle.
“Team Fulop follows all state election laws and we would never release a piece of media without it having a proper paid-for line and without the expenditure being disclosed on campaign filings,” he began.
“It’s unfortunate that many of our opponents, including Frank Gilmore, are instead ignoring state election law and refusing to file mandatory finance reports that show how their campaigns are funded and how they are spending their money. This basic level of transparency should be a bare minimum requirement for a candidate for office and any candidate who refuses to disclose who is funding their campaign should be disqualified in the eyes of voters.”
Ward F Councilman Jermaine Robinson said he supports anyone who tried to turn their life around, but insisted that Gilmore has indeed been charged with serious crimes that ruined people’s lives.
“He has not talked about how he employed Black children to sell drugs for him using them as a shield for his criminal ambitions. He has not talked about his attempted murder, aggravated assault, armed robbery, and the selling of drugs on school property charges,” he said.
“I think it is disingenuous to feed the public a sanitized, PG-rated story when the reality is that he damaged many families in this community.”
He accusations echoed what he said at the Hudson Media Group debate last week, doubling down that Gilmore is not as transparent about his past as he says he is.
The third candidate in the race, Vernon Richardson, an aide to Fulop who regularly took aim at both opponents during the debate, said that it was “silly” and “heavy-handed” for someone to do the flyer without a paid for line, but added he felt it was largely correct.
“He has been putting the same messaging out as part of his rebirth. It would’ve been beneficial for him to put this out … to have someone to make the statement that on the surface appears to be factually true and him to be thin-skinned about it speaks volumes about what he brings to the table for the community.”
Yesterday, Jersey City Board of Education President Mussab Ali called the flyer “illegal” and asked for the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office to open an investigation immediately.