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Former Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith

Whistleblower contacts feds over potential Smith hiring

PJ Leonard wants to make sure no politics was involved

By Nikita Biryukov, April 19 2018 5:32 pm

A Bayonne resident who has previously raised alarms about corruption in the city has contacted federal prosecutors about former Bayonne Mayor Mark Smith’s new job as a Homeland Security advisor at the Hudson County Sheriff’s office.

Patrick “PJ” Leonard, who previously sued the city for alleged retaliation against whistle blowing, on Wednesday, sent a letter to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Newark about the offer, asking they investigate the matter to make sure it was not a political kickback.

“The possibility of using taxpayer money to secure an endorsement for Jimmy Davis in the mayor’s race reeks of impropriety before the election,” Leonard said. “I hope you will investigate if that turns out to be the case.”

Leonard did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment, and a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office declined to comment on the matter. Law enforcement agencies usually do not comment on such inquiries, often declining to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

Bayonne Mayor Jimmy Davis, who ousted Smith in 2014, is an ally of Hudson county Executive Tom DeGise, who told the New Jersey Globe last week that he was not involved in Smith’s potential hiring.  DeGise has endorsed Davis in the May 8 mayoral election, and Davis has endorsed DeGise for re-election next year.

Last week, Hudson County Sheriff Frank X. Schillari told the New Jersey Globe that he had heard of the appointment but did not have any concrete information.

Former Assemblyman Jason O’Donnell, who is running against Davis, is aligned with DeGise opponents. Smith was a close political advisor and ally of O’Donnell, but it’s rumored that the former mayor might flip and endorse the incumbent.

Bayonne letter sent to USA
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