North Bergen attorney Eric Dixon once again has Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5) in his crosshairs, claiming the Hoboken mayoral candidate broke school rules while filming a political endorsement video.
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Yesterday, DixonÂ sent a letter to Hudson County Schools of Technology Superintendent Frank Gargiulo, as well as HCST Board Secretary Joey Muniz, alleging that Romano violated a state statute while filming a video for his campaign.
” … Freeholder Anthony L. Romano’s mayoral campaign has produced, commissioner and/or is distributing a political campaign video advertisement which was filmed using the school gymnasium of Explore 2000 Middle School in Jersey City,” Dixon wrote.
“That is public school property under the auspices of Hudson County Schools of Technology. This video appears to violate N.J.S.A. 18A:20-34 which provides for the use of schools facilities, ‘when not in use for school purpose, for any of’ certain enumerated purposes,” which does not include political videos.
As Hudson County View reported last week, St. Anthony High School basketball coaching legend Bob Hurley endorsed Romano for mayor.
Dixon continues to “question the legality of the filming,” asking who requested authorization or granted permission for this political endorsement.
The counselor also noted that he wrote the letter on behalf of a client, a Hudson County resident, who he did not identify.
The last time Dixon represented an anonymous client it turned out to be Pat Waiters, a perennial candidate for office in Hoboken who lost handily to Romano in the June 6 primary for freeholder, in a court battle challenging if it was legal for the incumbent freeholder to seek two offices at once.
While dual office holding is illegal in New Jersey, Hudson County Superior Court Judge Peter Bariso ruled it was perfectly legal for Romano to be on the November 7th ballot twice.
In a response from High Tech sent out earlier today by John R. Dineen, a principal for Closter law firm Netchert, Dineen & Hillman, says that no one authorized filming for campaign purposes at the Explore 2000 Middle School.
“We have canvassed our administrator’s at the school as well as our administration resident in North Bergen and have determined that no one ever authorized the use of the school as referenced in your letter,” he wrote, adding that the HCST board never voted on such a measure.
“You can be assured that we will continue to investigate allegations made in your letter and will supplement our response if further information becomes available.”
Team Romano campaign manager Pablo Fonseca said that the matter has been forwarded to counsel and implied the campaign is focused on the November 7th election.
“This matter is being litigated and we are forwarding all correspondence to our lawyers. At the end of the day, backroom deals, special interests and outsiders will not decide who the next mayor of Hoboken will be, but the voters of Hoboken will,” Fonseca stated over the phone.