Healy’s ire was stirred by a Fulop commercial and campaign mailer titled “Healy Got Away with It.” The ad and mailer both revisit the infamous 2009 Operation Bid Rig, a notorious FBI sting that led to the arrests of 46 public officials and religious leaders in New Jersey and New York.
In the months leading up to the arrests of dozens of New Jersey politicians and public figures in July 2009, government informant Solomon Dwek met with these public officials posing as a real estate mogul interested in expediting Hudson County development projects in exchange for illegal cash payments. These real estate projects were, in fact, bogus and were part of an elaborate government sting operation.
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, noting that he never did anything that was illegal and he was not arrested for any crime.
In a Healy campaign press release issued on May 2, campaign spokesman Joshua Henne said, “Fact is, Mayor Healy never committed the crime that Fulop claims Healy committed in his ads and literature. Fact is, Mayor Healy was never charged with having committed such wrongs. Steve Fulop, his advisors, and his campaign know these facts, yet continue to make these disparaging statements – knowing them to be false. And they continue to make them with reckless disregard for their falsity…Time and again, Fulop has proven he’ll literally do or say anything to win this election. Simply put, Steve Fulop has published defamatory statements impugning and injuring Mayor Healy’s reputation; that’s why Mayor Healy is compelled to sue.”
The release did not specify when or in which court Healy planned to file his defamation lawsuit.
In response to the lawsuit threat, Fulop campaign spokesman Bruno Tedeschi said, “This lawsuit threat from Healy is another distraction from the mayor's failures and more evidence that his campaign is going down for the count. The hidden FBI surveillance video speaks for itself." Tedeschi describes a part of the video, shown in the TV ad, in which Dwek mentions having given donations to "Jack" and offers more. Tedeschi adds, "The worst part about this is that Mayor Healy let a 78-year old grandmother [his deputy mayor], who was acting as his campaign treasurer and deputy mayor, take the fall.” – E. Assata Wright