How the BCDC failed Bergen Democrats

Below is an exact timeline of the chain of events that led to the BCDC effectively preventing a fair and open convention where the Committee members of the 5th would have had an actual choice between Adam Gussen and Jastle Castle:

BCDC Signature Timeline

2/7/2012 – Jason Castle emails Lou Stellato declaring his intention to run in the 5th district-The email included background information about Jason, his motivations for running and a request for any information needed to run.

2/13/2012 – Bergen Democrats Responds-Adam Silverstein contacts Jason Castle to discuss candidacy. During that conversation Jason Castle was first informed of convention application and mandatory 30 committee member signatures. Immediately following conversation, Jason Castle dispatched Will Watts to pick up application and list of committee members from BCDC Headquarters.

2/13/2012-Will Watts Picks up Application For Convention-Will Watts meets with Ron Subramanian. They review the application and requests the County Committee List. Will is told that the list is not available in the office but will be sent to him shortly.

2/15/2012 – First Written Request For County Committee List-Will Watt emailed Ron Subramanian with the first written request for the County Committee List.

2/15/2012-Ron Subramanian Responds-Subramanian states that the County Committee List will be sent to the Castle Campaign the next day.

2/16/2012-2/20/2012 – Follow Up-Watts contacts Subramanian frequently during this period through phone and email. Throughout this process it was consistently and repeatedly stated that the County Committee List would be available the following day.

2/21/2012 – The Campaign Receives County Committee List-At 11:31am the campaign receives the County Committee List via email from Ron Subramanian without phone numbers.

2/23/2012 – Campaign asks for Extension – On the basis of the delay receiving the list, Watts contacts Chairman Stellato and requests an extension for the Castle Campaign’s paperwork. Chairman Stellato refuses the request.

2/24/2012-2/25/2012-Turning in Petition-As the campaign tried to turn in the petition it confronted several more issues.

• 5:30-Will Watts speaks with Ron Subramanian who stated the forms could be dropped at his house because of the hour.

• 6:30-Jason Castle called Subramanian and stated that the forms were prepared but he was looking to find a notary. Subramanian stated that the forms could be dropped off on Saturday at his home

• At no time during either of these conversations did Subramanian say, either implicitly or explicitly, that either of these actions would invalidate the petition.

2/28/2012-Appeal Meeting-Jason Castle and Will Watts sit down Chairman Stellato to review the events that led up to the deadline and appeal the decision. Chairman Stellato states that the reason for the delay was that Municipal Chairs had not submitted their County Committee Members to the Party. At no time prior to meeting had this issue been mentioned.

3/1/2012-Final Appeal-Letter sent to Lou Stellato once again overviewing the timeline of events, exigent circumstances and the reasons for granting an appeal this case. There was no response.  

3/15/2012-Convention-Adam Gussen runs uncontested in the Bergen Democratic Convention.

The BCDC acted in bad faith. Plain and simple. Jason won Sussex and Warren conventions, but was PREVENTED from winning in Bergen. There are emails and phone records to prove it.   The voters of Bergen lose again and because of that – so do the many voters of Sussex and Warren who overwhelmingly chose Castle.

Comments (20)

  1. Bill W

    I’m not terribly surprised if that’s the case.  It certainly wouldn’t be the first time.

    What does surprise me is, this being the year 2012, and there being a history of the county organization trying to stifle “non-approved” candidates, why would someone waste so much time expecting them to suddenly turn around and act in good faith.

    I know Mr. Castle is new at this, but wasn’t someone advising him on how things work? If the BCDC doesn’t give you the County Committee list within 24 hours, assume they’re never giving it to you. Get it from the County instead.  If you’re delivering petitions at the eleventh hour, don’t expect them to have a notary on hand.  Show up with a notary.  And it never hurts to have a videographer in tow, because, you know, youtube.

    I know that a candidate shouldn’t have to do this stuff, but the fact is, if you’re running in Bergen County, and you’re not the boss’s candidate, you have to do this stuff.  Don’t we all know that by now?  Or is it just about being a voluntary punching bag for them every year so we can rail about how awfully unfair they are?

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  2. Bill W

    But I do wish that someone had given him better advice. When you seek a nomination without the Chairman’s blessing, you should view your relationship with the county organization as adversarial.  They are not going to be helpful, and they may do whatever they can to thwart you.  Again, I know it shouldn’t be that way, but it is.  

    As for the new Chairman, I’ve been outside the loop for a while, but it looks to me like the organization has actually backslid a bit.  When Kasparian took over, he did actually do a few of the things we’d been asking for.  The list of County Committee members was posted on the BCDC web site.  I don’t see it there now.  The bylaws were there.  Now, the bylaws link takes you to a scan of what looks like a markup copy someone brought home from a bylaws amendment session, with handwritten notes in the margins and such.  I have no idea if those are the actual bylaws or not.  It’s a mess.

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  3. Nick Lento

    Is this just dirty rotten scumbag lowlife politics as usual, i.e. “bad faith”…or is it illegal?

    If lying and deception are to be expected and are legal practices then Bill W has a good point when he suggests that all contacts and communications with the Bergen County machine need to be recorded in all media possible.

    If this is actually legal I urge the legislature to pass a law stating that it’s a criminal offense to lie and mislead people running for office who are making an effort to comply with the rules.

    I want to see who would vote against such a law.  I want to see Christie dare to veto it when it is on his desk.

    I have had the honor of meeting Mr Castle last Wednesday and of spending a few hours listening to him and having him answer my questions.  

    Jason Carol was unflappable, patient, polite, knowledgeable, practical and displayed a pragmatic intelligence rooted in a down to Earth sense of common human decency that have the potential to make him a star in the NJ political arena.  I hope Mr Castle is not permanently put off or discouraged by the despicable shenanigans employed to cheat him out of his shot at winning the party line.

    Jason Castle is the essence of integrity.   If he says events occurred as per the timeline Carol shared above, then I believe him.

    Frankly, I hope this winds up in court and whoever is lying ends up paying all of the legal consequences to the fullest extent permissible by law.

    Jason Castle was/is the real deal.  He is more than Scott Garrett’s match on every level.  

    Jason Carol could have actually inspired a mass movement in the 5th CD that would have resulted in THOUSANDS more people registering to vote and showing up to vote against Garret and FOR Castle!

    Jason Castle is just the kind of moderate Democrat that can beat Garrett and the HOLD the seat when the Republicans come back with less of an extremist in the next cycle.

    Instead we get a machine flunky looking to decorate his resume with the fact that he once ran for congress and lost.  What a waste.

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