North Bergen Commissioner of Revenue and Finance Julio Marenco is accusing former mayoral hopeful Larry Wainstein of hosting a barbecue at a home owned by the Mocco family, but Wainstein is dismissive of the claim.Â
By John Heinis/Hudson County View
Wainstein has regularly been hosting barbecues through the township for months now, though he hosted an event near the Fairview-North Bergen border this past Saturday, September 16. The address, 122 Fulton Ave., is in Fairview.
Pointing to a property record from the State Department of the TreasuryÂ from January 10, 2015, Marenco explains that the home is owned by Helen Peck, whom he says is Mocco’s wife, and Eileen Hurtuk – the wife of George Hurtuk, a man who was arrested along with Joe Mocco in an illegal dumping scheme back in 1986 (h/t The New York Times).
“Not only does Larry Wainstein not seem to know where North Bergen ends and Fairview begins, now he has once again confirmed his close ties to one of the most corrupt political bosses in Hudson County history in Joe Mocco,” Marenco said in a statement.
“Wainstein has once again been proven to be a close associate of Joe Mocco, a man so corrupt he was barred by the State Parole Board from being involved in local politics after he was released from prison.”
Days before the election, Sacco’s camp released a video of a board of education candidate endorsed by Wainstein stating that Joe Mocco had “consulting value” and was “helpful” to the campaign.
Wainstein told Hudson County View he had a strong group of supporters in Districts 1-5 and 1-6 during election season, so he wanted to host a barbecue in their area to thank them for their support – a courtesy that he says will be offered to the entire township in due time.
“Itâ€™s a big yard in a convenient area and I have a lot of supporters in that area, itâ€™s that simple,” he said over the phone,” adding that he had never heard of George Hurtuk prior to our phone call.
Wainstein also clarified that the event was held at the home of a tenant who rents an apartment from the property owner, and did not ask who their landlord is or conduct a deed search for the property.
“I have met Joe Mocco, we have spoke about North Bergen and his experiences here, but thatâ€™s about it. Iâ€™m focused on going around the entire community and meeting different people in the upcoming weeks.”
Wainstein said he’s also been offering classes for residents to learn English, offering advice on how to become citizens, as well as seminars for senior citizens on topics such as Alzheimer’s disease – all free of charge.
When asked what went wrong on Election Day, Wainstein wasn’t shy about voicing his opinion.
“[Mayor Nick] Sacco cheated: he used the police department as his personal army, and also used the board of education [employees] to campaign,” he stated, also accusing Sacco of having people from outside of North Bergen cast votes on May 12, an allegation that he put in a lawsuit prior to May 12.
“One of the DPW workers said as much on the stand. On a level playing field, I beat him 10 times out of 10.”
Town spokesman Phil Swibinski disputed Wainstein’s claim that he had support in Districts 1-5 and 1-6, noting that Sacco received 78% percent of the vote in those respective districts.