LOWER MAKEFIELD >> A meeting of the all Democrat Board of Supervisors became very personal on Sept. 2 after a supervisor called on the chairman to step down as leader of the board.
In a surprise move taken under new business, supervisor Dan Grenier motioned to remove Fred Weiss from the chairmanship of the five member board of supervisors.
His motion was seconded by John Lewis, but was ultimately voted down by Weiss and Supervisors Suzanne Blundi and James McCartney.
Before that happened, Grenier blasted Weiss for allegedly telling a reporter “on the record” that he was having a “friends with benefits” relationship with a man, an allegation Grenier called “completely unfounded and untrue.
“As you can imagine that put a lot of stress on my family. It was a ridiculous comment that was strictly meant to do harm to an individual. My wife knows this. I am not having an affair. I love her very much,” he said. “It’s the most hurtful thing that I’ve ever experienced.”
Grenier further claimed that Weiss had referred to him as a “political boss ... trying to create a system of patronage” throughout the township.
“That makes me laugh because I’m probably the least political person on this board. I don’t attend events. I don’t donate. I don’t endorse. That’s just who I am,” said Grenier.
“When I hear comments like that I feel like they are protections for what other people are doing. So I did a little research,” he continued.
Grenier said his research found that in May 2019 Weiss and his wife set up the Keep LMT Blue PAC, which was created specifically to support the LMT Board of Supervisors Democratic candidates for 2019 - supervisors Suzanne Blundi and James McCartney.
“Those documents, authorized in Hillsborough County, Florida, contained a lot of information that was interesting to me,” said Grenier.
With reference to setting up a system of patronage or pay-to-play, Grenier said among those donating to the PAC were Vince DeLuca, Bob Dwyer, Bob Rosenthal and Joe DeLuca. “They’re all the developers from Prickett Preserve,” a mixed-use development project proposed for office-research land on Stony Hill Road.
Grenier said they also had a hefty donation from Cam Troilo, a developer in Lower Makefield; Whistler Perlstein, which represents larger developers in the township; and Joe Taylor, the CEO of Matrix Development.
“Most of that money was then passed through to the Blundi-McCartney for LMT Supervisors PAC to the tune of over $6,000,” said Grenier. “We heard at our meeting on Monday that Supervisor Blundi never directly or indirectly accepted any contribution from any developers. But I just read off six of them, which are the biggest in Lower Makefield in addition to an attorney who also represents them.”
In addition, he said the Blundi-McCartney campaign held a fundraiser on June 13, 2019, “which was attended by Mr. Dwyer and I believe also Mr. DeLuca from what I’ve been told because I was not there.”
In addition, he said the Keep LMT Blue PAC donated thousands to Judi Reiss for Congress, both through the PAC and private individuals, such as Fred Weiss and the new PAC leader, Judith Gordon.
“What’s interesting about that, given the claims that were made against me to the media on the record, was that Fred Weiss’s son in 2017 was an entry level social worker at the county and the year after she (Reiss) was elected he was promoted to the prothonotary’s deputy to the tune of a 32 percent pay increase.
“I cannot sit idly by here being attacked almost on a regular basis, both publicly and behind the scenes,” said Grenier. “I have personally had to endure ridiculous attacks, all of them unfounded, while at the same time the people making these attacks are out here doing what they’re claiming I’m doing while I’m doing nothing.
“I can no longer sit here and support Fred Weiss as the chair of this board ... And furthermore, I’m incredibly disappointed in Supervisor Blundi for not coming forward when asked on multiple occasions and just admitting the fact that you took money from these people.”
Weiss responded, “Those are interesting remarks, how you went from personal attacks by someone other than me to a PAC that I helped start but left within a month.”
Grenier interrupted, “All those donations were made when you were head of the PAC.”
“Actually a few were, but most were not,” said Weiss. “I don’t even know how much was collected. I do know through a discussion with my wife that Mr. McCartney and Ms. Blundi got about 10 percent. The PAC that I know of gave money not only to Judi Reiss’s campaign but various Democratic candidates including Perry Warren and Korryn Kronnagle with the bulk going to Bucks Victory and the Bucks County Democratic Committee.
“The PAC can do whatever it wants. I only had a very slight hand in forming it. Ms. Gordon was kind enough to run with it when she was asked. I really had nothing to do with it after that,” he said.
“As far as personal attacks on you, I never made any in public. I never made any in private,” he said, denying he told any of that to a reporter. “And how a PAC distributes its money is its business. If you don’t like it, that’s okay. It has nothing to do with me being the chair of this board. I serve at the discretion of the majority of the board. I would be happy to step down if the majority of the board feels it’s necessary.”
Weiss then attempted to call the question and cut off further discussion, “because it really isn’t necessary. I’m going to retain counsel on slander if anyone decides to make another comment against me or my wife.”
When Grenier asked township solicitor David Truelove if Weiss could cut off board comment, Truelove said anyone can make a comment, but advised caution given the threat of litigation. “I’m not saying you can’t. Just remember what has been said.”
Blundi defended herself. “Did our campaign get money from a PAC? Yes it did. John, I never looked into your PAC, but you donated so maybe I should pull up all that and other PACs I got money from. I’m going to stick with what I said and have always said ... I find this disingenuous at best for you to make this motion and some how drag me and James into this.”
Grenier responded. “Keep LMT Blue” PAC made three contributions to the Blundi-McCartney for Supervisor PAC totaling $6,250.
“But what has this got to do with your motion,” Blundi asked. “If you want to talk about campaigns I guess we can do that.”
McCartney pressed Grenier, “Are you insinuating that my decision-making process, while sitting on this board, was skewed by any of the developers and attorneys involved with Prickett?”
“What I’m saying is this,” said Grenier. “When the question was asked by multiple people both last year and a few days ago the response was that neither you or Ms. Blundi accepted money from any developers or vendors. The record shows otherwise that all those developers have made contributions to Keep LMT Blue PAC that were then submitted to the Blundi-McCartney for LMT Supervisor. I’m not saying it influenced your decision in any way.”
“But your making the assumption that they know where the PAC donations came from,” said Weiss. “If they say they didn’t know, they didn’t know.”
Addressing the fundraiser held in June 2019, Blundi said there were many people who attended the fundraiser who did not contribute to the campaign, including DeLuca and Dwyer.
Lewis responded to Blundi, saying “the question isn’t whether you did or did not accept the money or that it was laundered through another PAC, which is a common fundraising practice, the challenge is that you’re choosing to avoid the question or deny it when the truth is very different.”
Blundi responded, “I don’t even know what to say at this point. You used the word laundered, which is a criminal word.”
“There’s no proof of any of this,” said Weiss. “It’s public record. Anybody can look it up. You can make any assumptions you wish. I stand by what I say. I have no problems with my actions. And Dan, whoever that reporter was, it didn’t come from me.”