Adopting Tip O’Neill’s old adage that “all politics is local,” one of Capitol Hill’s most powerful players is demanding the resignation of Sayreville Democratic municipal chairman Thomas Pollando, who was arrested on charges that he took a cash bribe from the owner of a local strip club after promising that he could help make charges of money laundering and running a prostitution ring.
House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-Long Branch), who represents Sayreville in Congress, said that the “serious alleged criminal conduct charged against Thomas Pollando is unacceptable and disgraceful.”
“I echo the call of Middlesex County Democratic Chairman Kevin McCabe for Mr. Pollando to resign as Chairman of the Sayreville Democratic Organization immediately”, Pallone stated. “Corruption has no place in the Democratic Party. This alleged conduct does not represent the values our party, county, and state stand for.”
Pallone’s Republican opponent, Monmouth County Commissioner Sue Kiley, also slammed Pollando.
“That Pollando was willing to accept thousands of dollars in cash from the men who led a prostitution ring and use his political influence to help them get away with it is disgusting,” she said.
The 72-year-old Pollando, a former councilman who now headed the borough’s economic development arm, was charged with money laundering and promoting prostitution in June, after investigators learned that Pollando had offered to exert influence on how a case against the XXXB Gentlemen’s Club (Club 35) might go in exchange for a cash payment.
“Over a several week period in July and August 2022, Detectives from the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office were conducting electronic surveillance of a business in Sayreville,” the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Thursday. “While conducting surveillance, detectives observed Pollando accept several thousands of dollars in cash, and state that he would attempt to use his political clout to influence an ongoing criminal case.”
Pallone and Pollando were once political allies.
Seven years ago, when Pollando was running for mayor, Republican incumbent Kennedy O’Brien sent out a mailer comparing Pollando to Vito Corleone, Pallone rose to his defense.
“The only connection Tom Pollando has to The Godfather is that he saw the movie,” said Pallone. “It’s really below the belt and an insult to Italian Americans to connect the two.