Editor’s Note: This article was updated with comment from State Sen. Ron Rice at 12:53 p.m.
Charles Green, the brother of Late Assemblyman Jerry Green, is taking aim at State Sen. Ron Rice after the latter joined Linden Mayor Derek Armstead in protesting how $329,000 left over in the assemblyman’s campaign account was used.
“Sen. Rice has added disrespect to the great legacy of the Honorable Jerry Green by suggesting that ‘they should have been using that money to support young people who look like Jerry.’” Charles Green said. “Jerry Green did not serve a specific race, gender, sex, color or any irrelevant descriptor: he proudly served ALL the citizens of Union County and our great State.”
Rice sought to clarify those comments Friday.
“What I’m trying to say to you the public needs to understand I’m not getting in a tit-for-tat with Jerry’s family because I respect him too much, and Jerry and I were too close,” Rice said. “We did a lot of battling together just pushing back on behalf of all people.”
Former Linden Board of Education candidate Kyle Holder distributed the $377,546.23 remaining in the late Green’s campaign account, putting $10,000 to a scholarship in the assemblyman’s name and splitting $329,000 amongst various party organizations and candidates in Union County.
Armstead called lambasted the move, accusing Holder and State Sen. Nicholas Scutari of using Green’s campaign account as a slush fund.
“The suggestions made by Senator Rice that the Honorable Jerry Green would stand for actions that only benefit people who look like him is a grievous insult to everything he stood for and represents politics at the most disgusting, vile level — they are no different than the politics of Donald Trump,” Charles Green said.
Rice said his contention was focused on the use of the late assemblyman’s campaign funds, which he believed ought to have been used to recognize Jerry Green’s life and accomplishments.
The senator even said he would try to make sure any funds left in his account after he left office went to charitable groups.
“If I have resources left when I leave office, I’m going to try to make sure they go to the New Jersey Legislative Black Caucus Foundation or to some charitable group because I know it’s hard for non-profits to get dollars from government and everybody else,” Rice said. “They struggle, and Jerry was about all of that.”
The living Green called for apologies from Rice and Armstead, who is locked in a fight for control of Union County’s Democratic party with Scutari, the Union County Democratic Chairman.
That fight is borne out of a long-standing feud between the two that has seen Scutari field a primary challenger against the Linden mayor and that cost the state senator his job as Linden’s municipal prosecutor.
Charles Green said his brother and Holder discussed how the funds in the account should be spent prior to the former’s death.
“Armstead and Rice should pay respect to Jerry Green — my brother — and support his vision, loyalty and commitment to a unified democratic party,” Charles Green said. “I ask them not to continue to besmirch that vision and his legacy and not use him as a vehicle to launch attacks on Senator Scutari or Mr. Holder, whom Jerry Green trusted.”