Is the Fulop/Chico pot calling the Healy/Dwek kettle black?
Apr 16, 2013 | 5564 views | 3 3 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print

– According to the Tax Day edition of, City Councilman and mayoral candidate Steven Fulop has released a new campaign ad that takes opponent Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy to task, mentioning an infamous 2009 FBI sting operation in which an informant offered cash to New Jersey politicians and political candidates in exchange for favors.

The Reporter has not seen the referenced campaign spot. But according to, the ad features the now-familiar FBI surveillance footage of Healy’s diner meeting with FBI informant Solomon Dwek, who was posing as a prospective developer in Jersey City.

In the months leading up to the arrests of dozens of New Jersey politicians and public figures in July 2009, Dwek met with officials, hoping to expedite real estate projects. The projects were, in fact, bogus and were part of the sting, known as Operation Bid Rig.

While Healy was never arrested or indicted in the sting, several of his key allies – including former Deputy Mayor Leona Beldini, Jersey City Council President Mariano Vega, and political consultant Jack Shaw – were. Healy has repeatedly defended his reputation, stating that he never did anything that was illegal and noting he was not arrested for any crime. While many politicians who met with Dwek were accused of taking the cash, Healy was never among the accused.

But the timing of this new Fulop ad seems ironic.

In recent weeks, as the four mayoral campaigns have stepped up their get out the vote efforts, Fulop’s Ward B candidate, Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal, has been seen on at least two occasions campaigning with Phil Kenny.

A former Ward B Jersey City councilman, Kenny pleaded guilty in October 2009 to taking $5,000 in bribes from Dwek. Kenny admitted in court that he met with Dwek twice in March of 2009 and agreed to help Dwek fast-track a development project he said he wanted to build on Garfield Avenue. Kenny admitted in court that he received two $2,500 cash payments in exchange for this promise.

Kenny – who had been appointed to the Ward B City Council seat vacated by Mary Spinello in April 2009 before winning the seat in May of that year – had been in office for less than eight months when he entered his guilty plea.

In 2010 he was sentenced to a year behind bars.

With his jail stint behind him, Kenny is apparently back on the campaign trail – this time not for his own election, but to help Ramchal, with whom he is friends. Two Ward B residents have said that they have seen Kenny accompany Ramchal as he canvasses the community seeking votes, most recently on Saturday, April 6.

Ramchal did not respond to two e-mails seeking comment.

But when asked about the unusual pairing of Kenny and Ramchal on the campaign trail, Fulop acknowledged the two are friends and repeatedly stressed that Kenny, “has nothing to do with my campaign. No title. No role. Nothing. We have hundreds of volunteers who show up at every event. I have no idea of everyone who walks or speaks to their neighbors with Chico.”

After doing some further digging, Fulop added that Kenny has not signed up to be an official volunteer for the campaign and the candidates on his slate have been told that, “going forward, if they do their own literature [distribution] or canvass for their own campaign to let us know with whom they walked, as obviously I can’t control that directly.” – E. Assata Wright

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April 17, 2013

Your comments about Phil Kenny in the Jersey City Reporter are nothing short of distasteful and slanderous. This is a man who has served his community and his church his entire life; A man who has helped more people in Jersey City than can ever be counted; A man who ran for public office only so he could have the ability in an official capacity to help even more people and to help make Jersey City a better place to live.

Phil Kenny: A man who does not have one self-serving bone in his entire body.

This is a man who may or may not have made a mistake. He did not take any cash and hide it away; he did not make deals or try to hide anything from anyone. Phil Kenny was never arrested. He went to the FBI voluntarily and told them he had received two checks which, in fact, he reported on his Elec Report. In my estimation and that of many others, he was railroaded by the FBI for being honest.

They say that Phil was heard on a tape saying to Dwek: “Yes, I’ll help you.” Sure he probably did. He didn’t mean anything illegal or unsavory by it. Phil says that to EVERYONE! Anyone who knows Phil Kenny knows that if Phil is asked for help, he will give as much of his time and effort as humanly possible. This is a man who has always and continues to put others before himself.

Hundreds and hundreds of letters and cards supporting Phil, from people from all walks of life that he had helped over the years, were written and given to the judge. But Phil Kenny was punished for making the “fatal mistake” of being HONEST, in every sense of the word.

He served that punishment and has returned to the Jersey City he loves and the people he loves to help.

Phil Kenny: A man I proudly and gratefully call MY FRIEND.
April 17, 2013
I have been following this from the beginning, and I believe you missed the point. The point whih you may agree with is that what is good for the goose is good for the gander. If you are going to criticize someone for being associated with a criminal if the person has not been acused of anything him self, then you cannot avoid that criticism for your own friends. So your comments mean that the point of the story is correct.
April 17, 2013
Do you know that this article is a piece of garbage, first and for most, so what if Phil Kenny walks with Chico, I didn't know it was illegal to just walk with someone. Also, what does his past have to do with any of this, I think you are just grasping at straws to make this campaign dirty. I guess you can't be a loyal friend in the writers eyes for it becomes a disgusting smear campaign. By the way when did they change the UNITED STATES CONSTITUTION?