The Red Meat Woes of Bill Hayden

William Hayden has long been a familiar presence in right wing political circles.
I recall seeing him in Trenton during an anti-lockdown protest when he brushed aside what were then high approval marks for Phil Murphy with a pretty good quip:

“King George had high approval ratings.”

Hayden’s home is Frankford in Sussex County where he is president of the local Skylands Tea Party. More officially, he is serving his first term as a Sussex County Commissioner.

Hayden’s Tea Party Facebook page most recently had posts ridiculing both Nikki Haley and Kamala Harris. He gets points for bipartisanship.

Given the fact Sussex is probably the “reddest” region in New Jersey, you might think Hayden’s brand of conservatism would fit in quite nicely with his Republican surroundings.

Not the case.

Earlier this month, his peers on the Sussex Board of Commissioners “censured” Hayden for various misdeeds, including a somewhat bizarre accusation that he kept quiet a threat to “shoot up” the house of a county commissioner.

That commissioner was Jill Space, the board director. She talked about the threat at the meeting, saying Hayden’s reported refusal to make the threat known to authorities fills her with “utter disgust.”

But there was more.

The censure resolution also accuses Hayden of such things as having an improper relationship with a county employee and revealing matters discussed in closed session.

Some perspective is needed.

A “censure” is one of those terms that sounds worse than it is. In truth, it means very little. It is merely an official statement expressing displeasure with one board member.

This also illustrates an old adage about politics. When a political party has no opponents to fight – Democrats are not really a threat in Sussex – they fight among themselves. Democrats in Hudson have done this for years.

The censure resolution was about two weeks ago, but since then, things have begun to spin even faster,

The Sussex County Republican Committee is out with a statement calling on Hayden to resign.

It also raises more damaging information. It says Hayden has lied about serving in the military. Here is a portion of the statement:

“After confirming various accounts from individuals who have known him for years, family relations through marriage, and our own direct experiences where he informed Sussex County Republican leaders, numerous volunteers, and elected officials, and claimed in public meetings to have combat experience, we found freedom of information act requests showing he was never a Navy SEAL or served in the Naval Service. We conclude that he has disrespected all veterans and misrepresented himself to our party and the public.”

The statement concludes:

“Hayden’s betrayal of friends, supporters, voters and the county is clearly evident at this point. If there is one honorable thing left for him to do, it is to resign and cease disgracing the office of County Commissioner. Enough.”

I reached out to Hayden Thursday via his county email, but have not yet gotten a response.

On one of his social media pages, however, one finds a column by the “Sussex Watchdog” that suggests Hayden’s woes commenced when he asked about alleged “financial irregularities at the Sussex County Social Services Food Pantry.”

It compares the censure charges against Hayden to something out of the pages of Kafka, or more specifically, his novel, “The Trial.”

Hayden himself was not as literary. On his Facebook page is the following:

“Doing to me, what they did to Trump … once you drain the swamp, the snakes show themselves!!”

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3 responses to “The Red Meat Woes of Bill Hayden”

  1. Now, some perspective:


    Anyone who has ever seen or HEARD Cowboy Billy Hayden in action could see this coming.

    His mouth and his delusions have finished him politically. And possibly personally as well.

    Hayden has announced that he has left the Republican Party as a reaction to his recent censure by the Sussex County Board of Commissioners. As you recall, the Board on February 14 unanimously voted to censure Hayden for, among other things, failing to report a threat of violence against Commissioner Director Jill Space.

    Well, it turns out there’s another, more devastating issue for which Hayden is worthy of condemnation.

    As reported in the “New Jersey Globe”, Hayden told others that he was a Navy SEAL, suggested that he was involved in the December 2,1993 killing of drug cartel boss Pablo Escobar and that he was shot multiple times. He also claimed to have been wounded in combat and said he served during Operation Gothic Serpent in Mogadishu, which took place two months prior to the Escobar capture.

    There’s just one problem.
    It’s all a lie.

    In response to a Freedom of Information Act request obtained by the New Jersey Globe, the U.S. Navy said they were “unable to identify Mr. Hayden as a member or former member of the U.S. Marine Corps or Marine Corps Reserve. His name does not appear in the SEAL Database”.

    “William J. Hayden never completed SEAL training, and he is not now, nor was he ever a Navy SEAL or a Navy Underwater Demolition Team member,” a retired Navy SEAL who investigates people who make false claims of military service.

    Not only was Hayden not a SEAL, who are the elite of the Navy and Marines, but he was NEVER EVEN IN THE MILITARY!!!

    A veteran who knows Hayden told the Globe that “I have been informed that Bill was never in the Navy or any other armed force of the United States. If this is true, he should be ashamed of himself for his stolen valor. If true, the general public should be made aware of these lies, and he should suffer the public shame and humiliation of his wrongdoing”.

    And so he shall.

    Reportedly, Sussex County Republican Committee chairman Joe Labarbera, who IS an ex-Army major, heard about Hayden’s claims and asked the Commissioner to either provide proof of his service record or stop making false claims. Apparently, his failure to do either is one of the reasons that Hayden and Labarbera have parted ways.

    Subsequent to that, the Globe further reports that Hayden made a bunch of unhinged and unsubstantiated allegations against party insiders in an expletive-filled conversation obtained by that publication.

    “I don’t care if you spread this. This is why I’m calling you to that I’m leaving the Republican Party,” Hayden said. “I’m gonna find another party.”

    As Merlin (Tim Robbins) said to Tom Cruise’s Maverick in “Top Gun”, “You’re gonna do WHAT!?”

    Reportedly, Hayden has been in contact with unnamed local Democrat officials, asking them to come to the next Commissioners meeting on February 28 and “help be my ally”.

    He’s kidding, right?
    He wants the Sussex County Democrats, whom he frivolously sued in 2022 (and was subsequently tossed out of court for failure to substantiate his allegations of defamation) to come riding to his rescue?

    Can you say “chutzpah”?

    There is no scenario where the Democrats would embrace Hayden, let alone come to his defense. And for Cowboy Billy to even broach that idea shows the depths of his desperation. If the end result of this war purges Hayden from government, Sussex County will be much better for it.

    And the side benefit–and a welcome one–would be the final exit of the Dope from New Hope, Wee Willie Winkler, who has become Hayden’s propaganda agent, with his various falsehoods published in his “Sussex County Watchdog” blog. Not to mention the fact that Winkler and Hayden hijacked the official Sussex GOP Facebook page, banning anyone who does not kiss Hayden’s ring.

    Finally, the Globe reports that Hayden has taken a veterans’ exemption on past tax returns. To be eligible for a $6,000 exemption on a New Jersey Income Tax return, one must be a military veteran who was honorably discharged or released under honorable circumstances from active duty in the Armed Forces of the United States on or any time before the last day of the tax year. Well, since Hayden has apparently never served in the military, any exemption taken would be improper. And if it was done knowingly–which apparently it was–that may constitute a criminal offense.

    So we have a censured Commissioner who failed to report a threat of violence, who has misrepresented himself as a military veteran, and may have willfully evaded paying state income taxes. Plus, he’s a state employee, working for the New Jersey Department of Transportation. He’s gotten himself into deep trouble, and not just politically.

    More to follow…


    It took very little time for Wee Willie Winkler, the Joseph Goebbels to Bill Hayden’s Adolf Hitler, to start whining on his friend’s behalf, courtesy of his “Sussex (Toothless) Watchdog” propaganda column.

    And once again, he lies about everything.

    For starters, he attacks the Sussex County Board of Commissioners, saying that “under the leadership of Jill Space and Chris Carney, the current Board of Commissioners is more clown show than public service”. I guess he forgot that his buddy, Hayden, is the third-ranking clown in that circus. Of course, the Counterfeit Bills are still butt-hurt over Cowboy Billy’s recent censure by his fellow Board members, an action that has now caused Bald Bill to announce he is leaving the Republican Party–after which a loud sigh of relief and prayers of thanks eminated from One Spring Street in Newton, the county offices.

    The Dope from New Hope claims that the recorded conversation on which he said he was leaving the GOP, among other things, was made “without his knowledge or permission, of course”. Of course, Winkler ignores the fact that New Jersey has a “one-party consent” law, which states that you can record a phone call or conversation so long as you are a party to the conversation. So the person who was on the phone with Hayden didn’t need Wild Bill to give the OK.

    There’s also an allegation that the story published in the New Jersey Globe that broke the news on Hayden’s leaving the GOP claims that the Sussex GOP leadership has Hayden’s social security number and tax returns. Well, that’s not true, either. Nowhere in the story is any reference made to his SSN, and the only mention of his tax returns states that “records show that Hayden took a veterans exemption on his taxes”, which is information that can be obtained via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

    Then Winkler reverts to his old habit of attacking the messenger, since he cannot defend the message. The New Jersey Globe is an online publication owned and managed by David Wildstein. Yes, the same David Wildstein who was heavily involved in the infamous 2013 “Bridgegate” scandal during the Chris Christie administration. And I will not defend the actions of Wildstein and the others who took part in that disgrace. They all should have served prison terms, but unfortunately the United States Supreme Court thought otherwise and vacated their convictions. Yet, Winkler attacks Wildstein, who as a journalist is only reporting on information he obtained. Of course, he’s been trying that tactic on others (including this journalist) for years, with the same failures.

    Then, with the melodrama you might find by a Hollywood screenwriter, Winkler and Hayden liken the latter’s censure to a trial. Once more, another falsehood from the Sussex County champion of BS. A vote to censure someone does not require a prosecution or a defense. It is an action taken by an elected body–in this case, the Board of Commissioners–to express their displeasure with another official, whether it’s a member of their own group or another person. The motion is made, discussed, and then voted on. And let’s make something clear–Hayden WAS at the start of the February 14 meeting and chose to leave just before the “new business” portion, claiming a “medical emergency”. Rather convenient, since he was seen entering his residence shortly thereafter. You can draw your own conclusions.

    Finally, Winkler writes “those making the accusations were not revealed. How would you like to be accused and not get to know who was accusing you”? Maybe if Hayden had STAYED at the meeting, he would have known that Commissioner Director Jill Space introduced the censure motion. Hayden had the opportunity to challenge the move and chose to absent himself. What happened was his own failure to act.

    But then, Hayden hasn’t taken responsibility for much, has he? He denies any connection to the January 6 insurrectionists, although there is photographic proof to the contrary. He helped arrange transportation from North Jersey to Washington, DC, for that day. He has been a do-nothing commissioner from day 1 of his term, something this writer predicted before the voters ever elected him.

    In our final installment, we’ll discuss how all of these events played out.

    Stay tuned…


    George Santos was expelled from Congress for less.

    It’s time for William J. Hayden to meet the same fate.

    Put aside for the moment (we’ll get back to it) all of the baseless, unsubstantiated allegations of fiscal improprieties in the Sussex County Food Pantry, and even the withholding of information about threats made against Commissioner Director Jill Space.

    But there is nothing more reprehensible than stolen valor. It’s an insult to all those who have worn the uniforms of our armed services, many of whom gave their lives.

    Bill Hayden has never worn the uniform.
    His credibility as a public official has been permanently destroyed.

    At the February 28 Board of Commissioners meeting, Cowboy Billy went on a long, disjointed harangue about what he believes are financial problems at the food bank. Without evidence, Hayden and his spokesman, Wee Willie Winkler, have alleged that money donated to the pantry and the County Department of Social Services did not reach the intended recipients. However Commissioner Chris Carney and county attorney Doug Steinhardt reportedly conducted a review of their financial records and reported no evidence of anything wrong, and that all funds were accounted for.

    However, Hayden has chosen to persist in these allegations, despite having nothing but conjecture and Winkler’s imagination to go on.

    At the recent Commissioners meeting, Hayden chose to continue to press the issue, despite a lack of evidence. He also attacked the Board for the censure against him passed on February 14, claiming a “highly organized campaign of political attacks and harassment” was being conducted against him, and that “someone hired a political hit man to track me”. Hey, Bill, isn’t that the function of your bestie, the Dope from New Hope?

    He also claimed that his social security number and tax returns were somehow “stolen” but didn’t provide any evidence of that. This may have to do with his reportedly claiming a veteran’s exemption on his tax returns that he’s not entitled to, since he’s not a veteran.

    He also spoke of someone taking screen shots of social media postings “in a campaign to force me from office”. Again, that’s a favorite tactic of William Winkler, so If it’s now being used against Hayden, well, that’s the breaks.

    And he revisited the telephone conversation he said was “recorded without permission”. As we have discussed here, New Jersey permits recording conversations if one party is aware of it, so Hayden’s approval was not required.

    Now we get to the main event.
    As the public session of the meeting opened, Hayden cautioned the audience that anyone who spoke out against him would be subject to a lawsuit and possible prosecution. Uh, Bill, that’s NOT how a public meeting works. People are allowed to address the Board on any topics, and as long as decorum is maintained, can speak without fear of reprisal. Fortunately, Steinhardt and Commissioner Director Jill Space immediately shut down Hayden’s empty threat. That left the public able to address the Board, which they did–with Cowboy Billy getting the full force of the comments against him.

    The most devastatingly savage criticism came from none other than Barbara Holstein, the Vice-Chair of the Sussex County Republican Committee. Describing Hayden as someone who went “from hero to zero”, Holstein spoke of her own military daughter’s struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, in no uncertain terms, called on Hayden to immediately resign. Failing that, she said she would initiate a recall petition for an election to have him removed from office.

    We support Holstein’s comments wholeheartedly. Bill Hayden has been an embarrassment, even by Sussex County standards. He has no record of accomplishments as an elected official, has opposed his party’s leaders at every turn, and helped engineer a takeover of the Sussex GOP Facebook page. With the revelation of stolen valor and his audacious lies about a non-existent military record, his position as an elected official is no longer tenable. Not to mention his employment with the state Department of Transportation, but that’s another matter.

    All three of Sussex County’s representatives in Trenton–Senator Parker Space and Assembly members Dawn Fantasia and Mike Inganamort–have also called on Hayden to resign.

    By any measure, William J. Hayden can no longer serve as a member of the Sussex County Board of Commissioners.

    If he doesn’t resign, he must be recalled.
    Whatever credibility the county has left is at stake.

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