The Hoboken City Council will consider a resolution on Wednesday urging Attorney General Gurbir Grewal to investigate a racist flyer at the close of the 2017 campaign.
A group of Hoboken officials – five city council members and Mayor Ravi Bhalla – called on Grewal to combine the Hoboken incident with an almost identical in Edison the same week. A grand jury was empaneled last month and records from an internal investigation in Edison where subpoenaed.
“It wasn’t just two Hoboken elected officials who were victimized, it was our whole Hoboken community,” said Councilwoman Tiffanie Fisher. “Having the Office of the AG and the Hudson County Prosecutors office lead the investigation would allow for the most independent review and prosecution of the case including members of Hoboken’s own government if necessary.”
In the final days before Hoboken’s 2017 municipal elections, voters were met with a piece of literature bearing now-Mayor Bhalla’s face and the words “don’t let TERRORISM take over our town.”
The Edison mailer promised to “Make Edison Great Again,” by telling voters that the “Chinese and Indians are taking over our town.” It targeted school board candidates of Chinese and Indian descent, with the word “deported” stamped over their photos.
“Like we are seeing in Edison, Hoboken deserves the resources of the highest level of law enforcement to reopen and solve this cold case,” Fisher said.
Since the subpoenas were served in Edison, the attorney general’s office has begun to conduct local interviews, the New Jersey Globe has learned.
Edison Democratic Municipal Chairman Mahesh Bhagia, a candidate for mayor, has been implicated as the ringleader of the racist flyer by a political ally, Councilman Ajay Patil. Patil has also fingered Satish Poondi, an attorney at the Wilentz law firm, as a participant.
Gov. Phil Murphy has already signaled that he thinks the two investigations should be merged, although that’s not his call.