State Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco’s arch nemesis Larry Wainstein made a surprise return at the township board of education meeting last week as the local teachers union demanded a new contract.
“The reason that the teachers contract has not been approved in six or seven months is because Mayor Sacco, who is in control – total control – runs the board of ed … and he tries to steal money from the residents of North Bergen,” Wainstein said.
Wainstein ran a ticket against Sacco in May 2015 and while he came up short, the three-decade incumbent admitted it was the most vicious campaign he’d ever been involved in.
While he still hosts community events from time to time, such as a Valentine’s Day dance for seniors at Schuetzen Park earlier this month, Wainstein has largely kept a low profile from politics and local government – until Wednesday evening.
“Only a couple of meetings ago, Mayor Sacco received a $40,000 stipend, approved by each board member and funded by the people of North Bergen. The worst part is that you are just tools in the most corrupt organization in the State of New Jersey – the Mayor Sacco politically corrupt organization.”
Wainstein continued to throw haymakers, claiming that everyone on the board will “soon” be in front of a grand jury.
In an ethics complaint filed almost two years ago, Wainstein alleged that Sacco, also the school district’s director of secondary and elementary education, used his political influence to get family members jobs.
However, the state Department of Education ended up dismissing the complaint.
Sacco, who revealed in October that he planned on retiring from the school district this year, quickly grew tired of Wainstein’s antics after he claimed that politics were ruining the education system and dismissed him of being worthy of his “$330,000” school salary (recent DOE figures peg Sacco’s school salary at $261,700).
Although his voice was at first overshadowed by screaming members of the audience, Sacco exclaimed “Larry, run against me again I’ll crush you.”
“Mayor Sacco, you’re the most corrupt politician in the state of New Jersey,” Wainstein fired back.
Sacco and an unidentified member of the board also kept telling Wainstein to “go back to Franklin Lakes,” a common insult lobbed by Team Sacco during the campaign, insisting that their top adversary isn’t a true North Bergen resident.
North Bergen BOE President Luis Rabelo also said after Wainstein’s remarks that his claim that the board approved a $40,000 stipend for Sacco was incorrect.
North Bergen Federation of Teachers President Elizabeth Lynch reminded the board that they’ve been without a contract since June when they offered an agreement of $4.6 million over two years.
However, that offer was rescinded when administration officials said they “made a mistake” and then came back with $4.8 million deal over three years, which the teachers’ union rejected.
Lynch also made it clear that the NBFT has never taken a political stance and is simply looking for a fair contract, walking away from the podium to a standing ovation.
Phil Swibinski, a spokesman for Sacco, accused Wainstein of being a liar and “a coward” for filing a police report against the mayor.
“Once again Larry Wainstein is trying to hijack an issue he has nothing to do with and use it to spread lies and attack our school system, just as he has done so many times in the past,” Swibinski said.
“Wainstein’s statements about Mayor Sacco’s compensation are completely inaccurate, which should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever spent more than five minutes with him.”
“The only change is that now he’s also proven himself to be a coward by filing actually filing a police report accusing Mayor Sacco of threatening him by accurately stating that Wainstein will be crushed if he ever decides to run for office again, a ridiculous waste of taxpayer resources.”
Reached by Hudson County View earlier today, Wainstein stood his ground on filing the police report.
“Nicholas Sacco is the mayor, state Senator and director of schools. Using his bully pulpit to threaten people is wrong and against the law. That being said, I wouldn’t expect an unindicted co-conspirator like Paul or Phil Swibinski to have any understanding of the law.”
When asked if he planned on running, or supporting candidates to run, for either state Senate or freeholder in the June 6 primary, he said he was “still reviewing all the options.”
The North Bergen Board of Education will also be having an election on April 25.