Those who knew him in life say that Anthony Impreveduto, the former New Jersey assemblyman, knew how to work a room. It could be any room – a classroom, a cocktail party – but the room he worked best, they say, was the floor of the state assembly where he could be seen chatting up a fellow Democrat one minute, then a Republican rival the next.
And so, it is fitting that in death, he was remembered by allies and adversaries, friends and former foes alike.
Impreveduto, who served 17 years in the New Jersey Assembly, died August 6 after a long battle with lymphoma. He was 61.
At his funeral last Monday at Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, Impreveduto was remembered as a consummate gentleman, a mentor, and a skilled politician who represented the state’s 32nd District with charisma and aplomb.
Until his abrupt resignation from office in 2004 following corruption charges, his eight terms in the assembly were largely defined by the legislation he sponsored and helped get passed with bipartisan support. According to those who knew him, Impreveduto was proudest of the various pieces of consumer protection legislation he crafted and helped pass.
He sponsored legislation to improve licensing standards in the car and home repair industries and also legislation to prevent credit card companies from issuing cards to customers who did not request or apply for credit. In 1995, Impreveduto opposed tougher car emissions testing in New Jersey because of the burden it would place on people who drove older cars – often the elderly, poor, and people of color – and who would have to make costly repairs on their clunkers to keep them on the road.
“He distinguished himself in many areas, but consumer protection was clearly very close to his heart,” said state Sen. Nicholas Sacco (D-32nd) who worked with Impreveduto to move several pieces of legislation through the system. “And he was successful because he understood what it took to get legislation passed. He understood how to talk to people, how you negotiate to get what you want and what you think is best for communities.”
At his funeral Impreveduto was remembered as a consummate gentleman, a mentor, and a skilled politician who represented the state’s 32nd District with charisma and aplomb.
“He represented an older generation of gentlemen legislators who knew how to disagree without being disagreeable,” said Hudson County Board of Elections Clerk Michael Harper, former campaign manager for former Mayor Anthony Just, who counts Impreveduto among his mentors. “He was part of that generation of legislators who could battle on the floor of the assembly and still shake hands afterward.”
Born in Hoboken, Impreveduto spent most of his life in Secaucus where he was elected as a 2nd Ward Town Councilman in 1981.
An educator by profession, Impreveduto was an adjunct professor at William Patterson University and chaired the business department at Secaucus High School, where he mentored many students.
“In many ways he had a very distinguished career,” Harper said. “It’s really a shame that the many terrific things he accomplished may get overlooked and overshadowed by a murky ending to his public career.”
Impreveduto was serving his ninth term in the assembly when he was forced to resign in 2004 after pleading guilty to using tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions for personal expenses. Under a plea deal he paid a $10,000 fine and $50,000 in restitution. Mercer County Superior Court Judge Maria Sypek gave the previous chairman of the Joint Legislative Committee on Ethical Standards five years probation. He had faced a maximum of 10 years’ probation.
Even at his sentencing Sypek acknowledged Impreveduto’s years of public service, saying, “Though I don’t know the specifics of the bills you’ve passed and the good things you may have done, apparently in your community the electorate felt strongly about what you were doing. I think that’s all to your credit.”
The former legislator later returned to Trenton as a lobbyist for the northern New Jersey business community. Although some of his former colleagues reportedly refused to meet with him, many were ready to forgive him for his past mistakes and stated that it was time to forgive a man who had made restitution and paid for his crimes.
Impreveduto, who Harper described as a devoted family man, is survived by his wife, Susan Zaluski Impreveduto, daughters Loren McCue and Jamie Impreveduto, and son Anthony Impreveduto.
The family declined to comment on his life and work, asking for privacy during this period of mourning.
E-mail E. Assata Wright at email@example.com.