State Senator (D-32)/North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco boldly exclaimed that “to lose a Tom DeGise would probably be the biggest crime in Hudson County history” during a fundraiser for Sheriff Frank Schillari Wednesday night.
While the event, hosted at The Venetian in Garfield, was for the June 2019 re-election of Schillari – who is already in the crosshairs of Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop – the talk of the evening largely centered around the Hudson County civil war.
Fulop and state Senator (D-33)/Union City Mayor Brian Stack, the latter a longtime nemesis of Sacco, are in agreement that they won’t be supporting DeGise’s re-election in 2019.
According to Sacco, a scenario where DeGise, whose served as the county executive until 2002, doesn’t successfully get elected to another term, pales in comparison to anything that happened in Hudson County during the notoriously corrupt Frank Hauge era.
We are facing a county war: we know that and we’ve already seen the battle lines drawn. And to lose a Tom DeGise would probably be the biggest crime in Hudson County history,” he exclaimed.
“And I don’t think that’s going to happen because too many people appreciate what he’s done. To lose Frank Schillari is another crime because he took this position and made it as integretable as it could’ve been and helped every mayor in the county.”
While Sacco was clearly exaggerating, his remarks aren’t without some irony: DeGise took over the county executive’s office after Bob Janiszewski resigned over corruption charges in September 2001.
At a fundraiser earlier this month, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) said that DeGise has “restored integrity to the county executive’s office.”
North Bergen political operative Joey Muniz served as the emcee for the evening.
Dignitaries in attendance included DeGise, Assemblywoman Angelica Jimenez, Assemblyman Pedro Mejia (D-32), Freeholder Chairman Anthony Vainieri (D-8), Freeholder Anthony Romano (D-5), East Newark Mayor Joe Smith, North Bergen Democratic Committee Chair John Belluardo, West New York Commissioner Margarita Guzman, former Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith, among many others.