The Bergen Battlefield – in Morris


Brian Bergen had the Assembly floor for a considerable time last week arguing against a bill that weakened the state’s election watchdog agency.

BettyLou DeCroce was watching closely and she wasn’t impressed. She says Bergen is being a hypocrite and it all has to do with Wyoming – of all places.

DeCroce, a former assemblywoman, is challenging Bergen and fellow incumbent Jay Webber in a reconfigured LD-26. That’s the ongoing battle heading into the June primary.

The Wyoming reference goes back to the party’s 2019 internecine war and represents a bizarre saga in Morris County politics.

During that year’s primary, both Bergen and three freeholder candidates listed an eye-raising consultant on their campaign finance reports – Checkmate Action Group of Sheridan, Wyo.

Who were they? And why would they care about Morris County?

The principals of the group were never identified, although some outlets reported at the time that the man behind the Wyoming group was King Penna, a conservative political consultant. Penna denied that.

At any rate, DeCroce’s point is that Bergen used a phony consultant four years ago, so he has no right to be so virgin pure today when it comes to the gutting of ELEC. DeCroce agrees with most Republicans and even many left-leaning groups that emasculating ELEC is wrong, but says that Bergen is not the right messenger.

“There is no room in our state politics for candidates that use shell corporations to conceal the identity of their consultants,” DeCroce said in a release, reiterating comments she originally made when she introduced legislation to stop such schemes.

She added:

“Brian Bergen knew when he hired a Wyoming-chartered consulting firm that he was doing so to evade detection. He was trying to hide something. What was it?”

Bergen fired back, contending that “BettyLou is as bad a detective as she was an assemblywoman. She didn’t uncover anything. I reported it. It’s right there in my ELEC filings.  She can’t help herself after thirty years working government jobs, but every business person knows you pay and report the address on the invoice.”

DeCroce also brought up the fact Bergen tried not to pay Penna for consulting services during the 2019 campaign.

Penna, who denied having anything to do with the Wyoming group, nonetheless, claimed Bergen failed to pay him a $15,000 “win” bonus. Penna took his complaint to court and a judge ordered Bergen to pay.

Bergen at the time said hiring Penna was “hands down the worst decision.”

Guess that means there won’t be any Wyoming consultant showing up on this year’s ELEC reports.

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One response to “The Bergen Battlefield – in Morris”

  1. Betty Lou is far from a saint, she cost Parsippany taxpayer millions of dollars getting Parsippany to join Morris County JIF, which Parsippany left after three years . By the way how can she operate as Dover’s BA and be a state assemblyperson, the Dover residents will be short changed. That’s double dipping in my book. One of the many reasons PROPERTY TAXES are so high in NJ.

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