With the Hoboken municipal elections just days away, 1st Ward Councilman Mike DeFusco hit colleague/opponent Councilman-at-Large Ravi Bhalla over the fact that a super PAC has spent over $50,000 on his campaign in the home stretch.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
“Outside special interests are trying to take over Hoboken with this unprecedented and completely disgusting super PAC campaign, with a goal of electing a candidate in Ravi Bhalla who will let them build whatever they want in our city,” DeFusco said in a statement.
“Hoboken voters deserve to know the real Ravi Bhalla — a political insider and government hack whose law firm made $3.8 million in government contracts last year, and whose campaign is now being propped up by $50,000 in special interest money. Our city must stand up on Tuesday and reject Ravi Bhalla’s special interest politics.”
DeFusco’s remarks come after labor union super PAC Stronger Foundations, Inc. reported spending $50,520 on the Hoboken mayoral contest, according to an October 26th filing with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
As Hudson County View noted earlier this week when discussing Bhalla’s infrastructure plan, Stronger Foundations, Inc. paid for a campaign commercial that aired on Fox News over the weekend.
A closer look at the PAC shows that it is run by Christopher Lalevee, the son of Greg Lalevee – who is the business manager of IUOE Local 825.
IUOE Local 825, as well as the Laborers’ International Union of North America, endorsed Bhalla for mayor late last month.
As of October 10th, the PAC had only spent $11,400 on the Hoboken mayoral contest, a October 10th report shows.
The PAC basically dared DeFusco to go on the offensive after paying for a mailer that reminded voters that he endorsed Peter Cammarano for mayor in 2009.
Cammarano ended up resigning in disgrace, and has since lost his license to practice law, as a result of getting arrested on corruption charges as part of the Bid Rig scandal.
Rob Horowitz, a spokesman for the Bhalla campaign, essentially said that DeFusco should look in the mirror since he’s been a regular supporter of big developers.
“Mike DeFusco has been a consistent supporter of the big developers, supporting a too tall hotel among other ill-advised and out-of-scale projects,” he said in an email.
“He viciously attacks Ravi for receiving union support, when DeFusco himself has brazenly broken the Hoboken local anti-pay to play and wheeling law, taking $30,000 total from 3 separate unions, far over the legal limit. When DeFusco, who has earned a well-deserved reputation for running the most negative campaign in the history of Hoboken, makes yet another distorted, hypocritical and negative charge, it is important to consider the source.”
At a fundraiser in August, Bhalla vowed to protect Hoboken from developers if elected mayor.
Furthermore, Horowitz referenced the fact that 2nd Ward Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher has filed a complaint with the city alleging that DeFusco has broken the municipal pay-to-play laws.
The DeFusco campaign denied that any such wrongdoing occurred.