Amy DeGise struck a bicyclist with her car and drove away. She might get away with it.
An especially crazy feature of Jersey City Councilwoman Amy DeGise’s hit-and-run scandal is the commitment by her fellow Hudson County Democrats to pretend it never happened. And as the saga stretches into its 3rd week, Ms. DeGise’s constituents are learning about her track record of treating municipal and county government like it’s her own private candy store.
Just to review: DeGise’s SUV struck a bicyclist at an intersection on July 19. The cyclist, an Uber Eats driver who apparently ran a red light, was not seriously injured in the spectacular-looking crash which was captured on CCTV.
Ms. DeGise is charged with leaving the scene of an accident and for not reporting the mishap to police until six hours later when she apparently bumped her head, thus jarring her memory of the crash.
Sounds crazy right?
We subsequently learned that Ms. DeGise had at least a dozen unpaid ticket, mostly in Jersey City, all of which were paid the same day they came to light. So it was never about the money for Ms. DeGise who makes nearly $200,000 a year working multiple taxpayer-funded jobs.
Rather, it’s about a powerful political figure whose ascent was propelled by her family name and who, as a consequence of privilege and arrogance, lacks the character to serve in public office.
And since the infamous crash that made her Internet famous, we know a lot more about about Amy DeGise’s character.
She played the “don’t you know who I am?” card with police when her unregistered, illegally parked vehicle was towed. She also ignored a $3000 veterinarian bill until the courts garnished her pay. Her team’s attempt to clean that up backfired when her excuse for absconding, ie: the bill went to her partner instead, perhaps inadvertently revealed that Ms. DeGise and her partner occupy two separate apartments in a building meant for low income families.
Swampy ain’t it?
Nepotism is Corruption
As the scion of Tom DeGise, the venerable Hudson County Executive, Amy DeGise had a different path into politics the rest of us. Where I come from, nepotism is corruption, a point most Hudson Co democrats reject as evidenced by Ms. DeGise’s meteoric ascent.
Not a single Hudson Democratic Machine potentate has called for Amy DeGise to step down.
Her running mate, Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop tried to have his cake and eat it too. Mr. Fulop can only handle the situation in a way that won’t pinch his own gubernatorial ambitions. He condemned DeGise in a generic, detached way without calling for her ouster.
So far there’s not a peep from Senator Bob Menendez, pater familias of the Hudson County Machine. And surely not a word from his son, Rob Menendez Jr, whose glide path to Congress was assured by the same machine who nurtured Ms. DeGise’s meteoric rise to power.
Anti-machine progressive Jersey City Councilman James Solomon ran (and won) without the Hudson Machine’s blessing. He called for DeDeGise to resign or face recall by voters.
“The Hudson Machine, at its core, does not believe it’s accountable to constituents and Amy’s behavior is part of that pattern,” Mr. Solomon told InsiderNJ. “It’s a pattern of behavior that says ‘I can do the things I want with no consequences.’ The transactional nature of Hudson County politics means that politicians like Amy DeGise only feel accountability to each other.”
And that’s why Amy DeGise will cling to power for as long as she can.
“Councilwoman DeGise was elected overwhelmingly just a few months ago and she has no intention of walking away from the commitment she made to serve the people of Jersey City. She will not resign and plans to complete her full term and continue in public service,” her spokesman said.
Who would have guessed Amy DeGise’s “commitment to the people of Jersey City” includes stiffing creditors, ignoring traffic tickets, hoarding apartments from low-income families, and of course crashing into bicyclists and driving away.
If Jersey City Councilwoman Amy DeGise stopped her car after the crash and waited for police to arrive, this all woulda been a big nothing burger, especially considering the bicyclist apparently ran a red light.
But she didn’t.
And now it’s a bona fide conflagration illuminating the dark corners of Machine Politics while testing Amy DeGise’s ability to defy political gravity.