A top member of Gov. Phil Murphy’s staff attended a March 2017 meeting of the Passaic NAACP when Jeffrey Dye launched an attack on Jews and Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-Passaic).
Rev. Derrick Greene was serving as African American outreach director for Murphy’s gubernatorial campaign at the time. He is now a senior advisor to the governor for Diversity, Faith and Urban and Regional Growth.
Greene’s presence in the room contradicts a previous statement by the Murphy administration that they were unaware of Dye’s history of making anti-Semitic statements before hiring him at the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development.
“How is it that the Jews, which is the minority in this community, have the power in this community?” Dye asked.
Dye, the Passaic NAACP president, was fired from his state job on Tuesday following a New Jersey Globe report on anti-Semitic and anti-Latino comments he made on Facebook.
With Greene in the room, Dye launched an attack on Schaer, an Orthodox Jew, the city council president, and a strong political ally of Murphy.
“Every time we want something, we gotta go beg Gary Schaer for something. We’re on a slave plantation here, and we all (are) acting like slaves if we can’t come together,” Dye said. “Who wins when we conspire against each other? The slave master himself, Gary Schaer.”
Through a spokesperson earlier this week, Greene denied any role in helping Dye obtain a job in the Murphy administration.
A copy of Dye’s resume obtained by the Globe shows Greene was listed as one of his references, and that Dye claimed his employment beginning in March 2017 as an Outreach Coordinator for the Murphy for Governor campaign.
The Globe has independently confirmed that Greene was in the room for Dye’s remarks. Through a Murphy administration official, Greene flat-out denied being present during Dye’s speech and said he arrived after the offensive comments were made.
Greene later joined Dye and former Passaic City Councilman Marcellus Jackson on the stage and made a pitch for votes on behalf of Murphy, who was still less than three months away from winning the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.
“We can send a loud message to the country that New Jersey is not going to stand for a racist, fascist country. That we’re going to stand for freedom and civil rights and social justice, and you do that by voting,” Greene said. “Now I want you to vote for Phil Murphy, but as long as you come out and vote, that’s what we need to do.”
Despite the attacks on Jews and Schaer made in his presence, Greene continued to work with Dye, who helped organize and turnout Black voters in the primary and general elections.
In October, the Murphy campaign dispatched Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver (D-East Orange), then the Democratic candidate for Lt. Governor, to speak at a Passaic NAACP meeting.
Oliver used part of her speech to praise Dye directly.
“I think he has stepped into his season of leadership,” Oliver said. “I’ve known Jeffrey for a while now and I have watched him grow and develop and I am very proud of the community leader that he is becoming in Passaic.”
The Globe has confirmed that the Murphy campaign typically ran scheduling requests involving African American events through Greene, although it is not immediately clear that Greene was directly involved in the decision to send Oliver to Dye’s meeting in Passaic.
As NAACP president, Dye has criticized Black activists and voters for allowing their community to be divided so that Latinos and Jews could run the city of Passaic.
Dye, a five-time unsuccessful candidate for local office in Passaic, has a history of battles with Schaer, a popular vote-getter who has won the support of Black and Latino residents over the last twenty years.
“We’ve got a council president in this city of Passaic, Gary Schaer, that oppresses our vote,” Dye said in comments that were recorded and are available on YouTube.
“What goes on in this city is a disgrace, how we are being pitted against each other to the point we start fighting and arguing with each other, and every time we argue and fight with each other, who winds up in power? Gary Schaer,” Dye told the group. “Every time, every year, every two years, every four years. Board of education, council, mayor. He controls them all.”
Schaer opposed the Murphy administration’s decision to hire Dye, calling him “an extraordinarily divisive and unwelcome person in the Passaic City politic.” The longtime assemblyman approached Murphy directly in a bid to stop Dye’s hiring.
Murphy’s deputy chief of staff, Justin Braz, also attempted to prevent Dye from joining the administration, but was unsuccessful. Braz was once Schaer’s chief of staff.
At a press conference yesterday on an unrelated issue, Murphy refused to say who hired Dye.
Later in the day, the Labor department said that the commissioner had hired Dye and that he was unaware of the social media posts at the time of the hire.
Passaic County Freeholder T.J. Best and Paterson Councilman Bill McKoy were both present for Dye’s speech.
Several members of the Murphy administration, including Greene, are Facebook Friends with Dye, although there is no evidence that any of them saw Dye’s offensive posts.
Two of Dye’s Facebook Friends, both connected to Murphy, told the Globe that they didn’t recall seeing them.
Dye did not immediately respond to a 1:10 PM text message seeking comment and his voice mail was full.
This story was updated at 2:16 PM and again at 4:30 PM with a copy of Dye’s resume.
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