In an ongoing fracas, which appeared to end at last in a kayo for the allies of the sitting (for one more day) Passaic County Clerk, the Superior Court of New Jersey Appellate Division this afternoon ruled against Paterson Democratic Municipal Committee co-chairs Al Abdelaziz and John Givens and in favor of Clerk (and Senator-elect) Kristin Corrado.
Judge Douglas Fasciale made the ruling.
Due to be sworn in tomorrow as the new senator from the 40th District on a timeline crafted by Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3) to prevent Democratic State Committee Chairman John Currie from being able to assume the Passaic County Clerkship Corrado will vacate, Corrado decried the court challenge by Currie’s allies as a “charade.”
“An 11th hour lawsuit brought under the guise of voter choice was merely a ruse by John Currie to line his pockets with a taxpayer-funded paycheck higher than the one he’s been collecting for years as chairman of the Passaic County Board of Elections,” Corrado said.
The ruling today came less than a week after another court ruling went in favor of Corrado, who appears
to have forged an early relationship with Sweeney.
Sweeney was irritated with Currie in 2016 when the Passaic County Democratic (and Democratic State Committee) Chairman backed former U.S. Ambassador to Germany (and former Goldman Sachs executive) Phil Murphy rather than himself for governor. A source close to Currie said the chairman had been flustered by Sweeney during the course of his tenure as state party chairman, and routinely would call the senate president only to get funneled to a Sweeney functionary.
They just didn’t get along.
So when Currie wanted to ride into the sunset and acquire the clerkship Corrado was leaving behind to become senator, all he needed was for her to leave prior to an Oct. 1st deadline. But Sweeney, still unnerved by the way Currie treated him, waited until after the deadline in order to schedule a session to swear Corrado in to her new job.
Abdelaziz called InsiderNJ and denied that Currie coveting the clerkship motivated the lawsuit.
“This is about giving the voters of Passaic County a choice,” said the co-chair of the Paterson Democratic Committee.
“The people should decide who’s clerk of the county, and the position should not be awarded to an appointee,” he added.
But insiders spoke of the obvious crossties between Corrado and Sweeney.
“Corrado is the new O’Toole in more ways than one,” said a source, a nod to former state senator from the 40th District Kevin O’Toole, now the Port Authority Chairman from New York and New Jersey, who always had a snug relationship with Sweeney and powerful South Jersey Democratic Party boss George Norcross III.
“Sweeney is closer to Republicans like O’Toole and Corrado then he is to the chairman of the Democratic State Party,” groused the source, even as the senate president and his allies wage war with the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA), which wants to remove him from office, a public sector union affiliated more with Currie’s allies than those close to the nerve centers of South Jersey.
That divide proved operational this week in the local election in Atlantic City, as Republican Mayor Don Guardian collected several key public sector labor endorsements, while the Democrat backed by Sweeney and his minions, Councilman Frank M. Gilliam, earned those building trades endorsements that form the foundation of South Jersey Democratic Party political muscle.
While at least one of Currie’s allies grumbled about a delay in the production of campaign signs because of the clerk flap, Corrado slapped away at Currie tonight as she prepared to place that same hand on the Bible tomorrow.
“I would hope that someone points out to the Chairman of both the State and Passaic County Democratic Party that there are offices up this year that could use half the attention he has given himself,” she said. “I look forward to stepping down tomorrow as County Clerk when I am sworn in by the Senate President as a state Senator in front of my new colleagues.”