Team Davis says $2,600 super PAC donation helped DeMarco’s law firm secure BOE contract

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Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis says that a $2,600 donation to a super PAC that aided the “Together We Can” board of education team last year helped Joe DeMarco’s law firm secure a contract earlier this year.

The Bayonne Board of Education at their February 23rd, 2022 meeting. Screenshot via YouTube.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

America’s Future First, a Washington D.C.-based super PAC, spent $104,371 on campaign literature last year, according to Federal Election Commission Filings.

The Davis campaign attributed over $88,000 paying for campaign literature for Together We Can, which includes current Council-at-Large candidate Jodi Casais – who is running on Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski – though each of the four Gateway Media LLC disbursements for mailings are listed simply as “other” on the FEC website.

“Bayonne voters have a right to know who is funding Nadrowski’s sleazy campaign, but she refuses to come clean,” Davis campaign spokesman Phil Swibinski said in a statement.

“Are her multiple dark money PACs being funded by big developers looking to build in Bayonne neighborhoods? How can anyone trust that she will stand up for residents when she won’t reveal her financial backers? Bayonne voters deserve to know, and we will not stop working to expose Nadrowski’s shady network of dark money and pay-to-play.”

A copy of at least one Together We Can mailer paid for by the PAC was forwarded to HCV, confirming at least a marginal involvement in the race, though the full extent of their involvement is not clear through FEC filings.

DeMarco, a former city business administrator who later served as redevelopment special counsel, is a partner at the Matawan-based law firm Cleary Giacobbe Alfieri and Jacobs, who gave the PAC $2,600 on June 2nd.

On February 23rd, the BOE voted unanimously (7-0), which included Casais and BOE President Maria Valado, Ashe-Nadrowski’s 3rd Ward council candidate, to hire the firm.

A video of the meeting posted on the BOE’s YouTube page showed that the session only lasted for about an hour, including about 45 minutes of closed session, with no members of the public speaking about the contract.

In the first quarter of 2022, the BOE paid the firm about $41,000, invoices show.

Together We Can was the only full slate that ran in November, receiving endorsements from then-Assemblyman Nick Chiaravalloti and Ashe-Nadrowski, besting four independent candidates in a relatively sleepy race.

While this PAC has not gotten involved in the municipal elections yet, three others have been linked to the race already.

The Government for the People, now defunct, was founded by former state Senator Ray Lesniak to bolster Davis’ chances at getting elected to a third term, but pulled the plug after political consultant Sean Caddle, who was paid $2,500 by the PAC, pleaded guilty to murder-for hire.

The Citizens for Strength and Security Fund, another D.C.-based PAC, sporadically attacked “Dirty Davis” at the end of last year, while the Committee to Advance New Jersey has recently put out two pro-Ashe-Nadrowski mailers.

Back in June, the city granted a $4,094,712.50 solid waste collection contract to a vendor the month after he donated $64,327.59 to purchase a new pickup truck for the office of emergency management.

The city indicated that donation for the truck had been rescinded, but Ashe-Nadrowski said at the time that the council had never been notified of such an action occurring.

The Ashe-Nadrowski campaign did not return an inquiry seeking comment on Monday.