LINDEN, NJ - The Linden Democratic Committee Chairman Nick Scutari today called on Linden Council President Michele Yamakaitis and Councilwoman Lisa Ormon to stop harassing campaign workers and removing campaign literature from the doorsteps of Linden voters. Furthermore, Chairman Scutari is calling for an investigation into possible misuse of Linden Police Department resources to harass campaign workers.
On Wednesday, May 15, 2019 canvassers for the Linden Democratic Committee were knocking on doors and advocating for the election of the Council and County Committee candidates. Workers were stopped by Council President Yamakaitis and Councilwoman Ormon, who demanded they provide personal information and detailed campaign information. Ormon was also observed removing literature she deemed “offensive” from the homes of Linden voters. Other workers were reported stopped and harassed by members of the Mayor’s and Councilwoman Ormon’s family.
Said Scutari, “Linden Council and Committee candidates have a Constitutional right to advocate for themselves and the candidates of their choice. It appears members of the City Council feel they have the right to remove literature from homes that are unflattering. For Councilwoman Orman, her breach of ethics is an inconvenient truth, but it is one about which voters have a right to know. “
The literature in question was an article noting the possible ethical violation she committed by casting the deciding vote in favor of her brother’s 33% percent raise, which was retroactive to January 1, 2018 and resulted in the Mayor receiving a $27,000.00 bonus check just in time for Christmas.
As per protocol, Party campaign workers are instructed to contact their supervisors when approached or harassed by the opposition, or if they observe the opposition breaking any laws. In this case, the workers contacted campaign supervisor Andrew Garcia, who promptly drove to observe the harassment. When he arrived Garcia was confronted by Ormon who appeared to be carrying the literature she confiscated from the homes of voters. (See Attached Video). Yamakaitis appears in the video and appears to be video taping and calling someone on her cell phone.
A few moments later, a Linden Police officer stopped Garcia. The officers were called off patrol to stop Garcia's vehicle, who were dispatched because of a report the vehicle was speeding in the neighborhood.
Noting that the city regularly uses uniformed police officers to shuttle the Mayor and his family to personal and social events, added Scutari: “Given the pattern of abuse the Administration has regularly displayed in, it is not at all surprising that Linden Council members would think it appropriate to mislead a dispatcher and request a patrol car come off the street to join in their effort to disrupt a political campaign. This abuse of power must be investigated.”
Mr. Garcia will be filing a formal complaint this week. Furthermore, a request will be made for the dispatch calls, CAD records, and body cam footage for all officers involved in the detainment.