Wainstein files complaint over North Bergen school mailer, BOE calls complaint political

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In the latest sparring session between Larry Wainstein and allies of North Bergen Mayor Nick Sacco, the challenger has filed an ethics complaint over a mailer about the potential school expansion – though the board of education has already written it off as political.

Photo via https://horacemann.northbergen.k12.nj.us.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

“Solter used his position as Superintendent to carry Boss Sacco’s water,” Wainstein said in a statement

“The fact of the matter is I am not a plaintiff in the lawsuit and I am not listed on the complaint. Furthermore, Solter fails to provide both sides of the issue at hand, instead choosing to reinforce Sacco’s political propaganda.”

The letter in question, attached to Wainstein’s ethics complaint against Superintendent of Schools Dr. George Solter, is just four paragraphs long and is addressed to the North Bergen parents.

“We have had a number of inquiries as to the status of this project and we’d like to provide you with an update. While we continue to work toward implementation of the project, the project has been delayed by two lawsuits filed by two individuals, Larry Wainstein and Diana Ortiz,” Solter wrote.

“Mr. Wainstein and Ms. Ortiz seek to block the project from moving forward. While their lawsuits were rejected by the trial court within days of being filed, Mr. Wainstein and Ms. Ortiz continue to press their arguments in the appellate court.”

Wainstein filed a lawsuit that was initially dismissed just four days prior to the referendum, prompting Ortiz to file her claim in court the day before residents voted on the ballot question.

North Bergen residents approved a school expansion referendum by a nearly 3-to-1 margin back on December 11th, though pending litigation has prevented the project from moving forward.

The referendum would potentially allow the North Bergen Public Schools to undergo a $60 million dollar upgrade, punctuated by acquiring the old High Tech High School at 2000 85th St.

Wainstein reiterated that while he does not mind adding a new school in North Bergen, he feels 85th Street was not properly vetted due to traffic concerns and a “close proximity to the proposed power plant.”

Sacco campaign spokeswoman Wendy Martinez called the complaint baseless and cited it as another example of Wainstein being detrimental to North Bergen schools.

“Superintendent Solter wrote to parents simply to explain these facts, and now Wainstein is personally attacking him by filing a baseless ethics complaint just for keeping the school community informed,” she said.

“This is another example of Larry Wainstein attacking North Bergen schools, trying to hide his involvement in delaying the new school plan from moving forward and putting his own political interests ahead of North Bergen students.”

Additionally, North Bergen BOE Counsel Jack Gillman said that Solter’s letter is “accurate” and its only intention was to inform, not serve any political purpose.

“The complainant’s attempt to politicize a badly needed school school project, to the detriment of the students, is unfortunate,” he added.

Ortiz is running on Wainstein’s “Our Town Our Time” slate, who will be taking on Sacco and the current board of commissioners in the May 14th municipal elections.