Freeholder Graham goes backroom
One year ago, George Graham maneuvered liberal attorney Dan Perez onto the SCMUA (Sussex County Municipal Utilities Authority) board and pushed a local Republican out. Three days after Graham took over as Freeholder Director, he told Rob Jennings, then of the New Jersey Herald, that he was going to replace a Republican incumbent on the SCMUA board with Perez, a contributor to the presidential campaign of Democrat Barack Obama.
Writing in the Herald, Jennings reported (January 10, 2016): "Perez was the attorney for then-Freeholder Gail Phoebus during her successful Republican primary campaign for the Assembly... It contributed to the Republican primary defeat of (Freeholder Dennis) Mudrick and the election of new Freeholders Jonathan Rose and Carl Lazzaro on a platform, supported by Graham..."
Freeholder Graham told the Herald: "Dan Perez is an excellent addition. I think it adds to the board."
But while George Graham made the choice, the business of getting it done was left to incoming Freeholders Carl Lazzaro and Jonathan Rose. At the subsequent January 13, 2016, meeting of the Sussex County Freeholder Board, Graham had Rose make the motion to approve Perez' appointment to SCMUA, which was seconded by Lazzaro. Officially, Freeholder George Graham's fingerprints weren't on it at all.
That's how it might work going forward. Graham is stepping aside as Freeholder Director to concentrate on his political consulting business. He'll remain a power on the board, but a power behind the scenes, with allies Lazzaro and Rose occupying the positions of Director and Deputy Director of the Freeholder Board.
It doesn't have to be that way. One or both can start showing a little independence and form a working majority with the two other Freeholders -- Sylvia Petillo and Phil Crabb. Time will tell.
Meanwhile, the meteoric rise of Graham-Phoebus consigliere Dan Perez continues. From nowhere, he was appointed to the Board of Trustees of the Sussex County Community College in 2014, then to SCMUA last year. Now he has his sights set on being a Superior Court Judge.
It seems like only yesterday that Perez was a liberal New York City defense attorney representing the usual causes. Yes, we remember when his biography bragged about suing the police and representing a man who was "charged with stabbing his wife 92 times." Perez bragged about representing members of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang and a photographer who was arrested numerous times for organizing photography shoots of nude people in the streets of New York City. Yep, this is the same "artist" who organized the naked protest against Republican Donald Trump at the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio:
"An Artist is calling for woman to protest Donald Trump by posing nude at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland... They would be protesting completely nude, as part of a performance art installation..." (Redstatewatcher)
"The (nude women) held circular Mylar mirrors over their heads and reflected light at the city to expose what they view as the naked truth about Republicans." (Wikipedia)
Perez' liberal defense of free expression is hypocritical, given his authoritarian views on free speech. It seems that if you want to photograph a room full of buttholes that is freedom and cannot be questioned -- heck, our tax dollars have even gone to subsidize such things. But if you want to question why the government leaders in Andover Township don't follow open records rules or the Open Public Meetings Act or why they won't acknowledge that their town played host to a Nazi camp and Ku Klux Klan rallies -- well if you question these things, you need to be "prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."
The rallying cry in Andover these days is "yes to buttholes, no to blogs." Kind of sad, but not surprising. It's a mad, mad world we live in.
Some of Dan Perez' client's artwork.