The Jersey City Times has received an unconfirmed report that this week’s secret mayoral junket to Paris was paid for with federal Covid money. It could be just a rumor, although the source insists that it is reliable. But it highlights why the mayor should immediately disclose who funded his tour of the City of Lights.
If you haven’t kept abreast of the news, we broke the story on Wednesday that Fulop and a coterie of department heads and council people went on a secret trip to Paris for four days. Such was the interest that the Times’ story was featured the next morning by both Politico New Jersey and The New Jersey Monitor.
The mayor’s spokesperson, Kimberly Wallace-Scalcione, didn’t respond to an email yesterday asking if the Covid funds claim was true. But the claim wouldn’t be inconsistent with her multiple assurances that the trip was not taxpayer-funded. That is, if she means payers of local property taxes.
Rumors and conspiracy theories are what you get when the government operates without transparency. That it wasn’t paid for with taxpayer dollars is of little solace. Jersey City residents deserve an explanation.
Quipped the Monitor’s Terrence McDonald, “don’t worry, taxpayers, you did not pay for this trip, a secret group of private funders did.”
Did Charles Kushner — who came up the idea of putting Pompidou x next to one of his buildings — pay for it? Or was it another developer? Did Pompidou pay for it? Did the mayor use restricted money from one of his campaign accounts? The possibilities are almost endless — and most of them problematic from an ethical standpoint.
It’s time for the mayor to come clean. He should remember that the cover up is almost always worse than the crime.