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Ethics complaint v. Sacco includes voicemail threat

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A former North Bergen employee is called a “pig” and a “retard” on threatening voice messages that her attorney says were left for her by North Bergen Mayor and State Senator Nicholas Sacco after she refused his sexual advances.

North Bergen’s Nicholas Sacco with Lydia Coleman in undated photo

“You’re a pig. You’re a retard,” says a voice that attorney Mario Blanch identifies as Sacco’s, from a message he said Coleman received after she refused the mayor’s offer to drive her home from a party.

“It’s scary that you do not know what I am capable of doing to you,” the caller says. “You better get back and try to make amends for your scumbag behavior.”

A township spokesman said Sacco’s administration believes the message — which Blanch included in a harassment complaint sent to the state Legislative Ethics Committee — is a digitally altered fraud.

“This phony recording and this accuser are both total frauds and part of a smear campaign,” Paul Swibinski told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “Lydia Coleman is a violent, desperate liar who has been jailed at least twice, charged with insurance fraud, declared bankruptcy and has been hit with literally dozens of legal judgments.  She is a known associate and girlfriend of a gypsy crime boss.

“No one should believe anything she says.”

Lydia Coleman says she has been living in constant fear for her and her family’s safety but felt emboldened by, among other things, a harassment suit against Sacco that the township settled last year with a payment to a former employee.

“I hope to keep other women safe from this type of sexual deviancy,” Coleman said in a prepared statement.

“This is a shocking display of improper sexual conduct of a standing official in office,” Blanch said. “I believe that the Legislative Ethics Committee should review the tapes and allegations from Ms. Coleman to determine [whether] Senator/Mayor/Asst. [North Bergen Schools] Superintendent Nicholas J. Sacco abused his political office and the trust of the people.”

Coleman worked for the township for 10 years, beginning in 1995. She was a recreation supervisor, assistant pool manager and swim instructor, and “always received favorable ratings and promotions throughout her employ with North Bergen,”  her complaint says.

However, from 2003-2006, it says, Sacco “inappropriately pursued Ms. Coleman and had Ms. Coleman escort him to various political functions and extracurricular social functions” and “flaunted” his position to “achieve his own malicious ends.”

Coleman claims she was “subjected to harassment and scrutiny” at work whenever she didn’t attend events involving Sacco.

In one instance, her complaint alleges, “Sacco grabbed Ms. Coleman by her hips and pulled her onto his lap.” In another, he “put his hand on her leg and move his hand up her pelvic region,” it says.

The last straw, the complaint alleges, came after a Feb. 13, 2003 party that Coleman attended with friends and colleagues at a Bergenline Avenue bar.

“As soon as Sacco arrived at the restaurant, [he] began to pursue Ms. Coleman aggressively,” it says.

Throughout the evening, Sacco “advised all parties that he would take Ms. Coleman home,” and “became visibly irritated by Ms. Coleman’s rejection and began to berate her in the bar.”

She later found “a series of voice messages” from Sacco “threatening harm to Ms. Coleman and utilizing his position as Mayor and Senator to further intimidate Ms. Coleman,” the complaint alleges.

“I think you better really call me back. You embarrassed me in front of a judge who’s my oldest, closest friend,” one message says. “You’re a retard and you’d better realize what you just did.

“You don’t seem to understand that everything is in my hands right now. Everything is in my hands. You don’t know what I’m capable of doing.”

That week at work, the complaint alleges, “Coleman’s job fuctions were limited and Ms. Coleman’s work environment became more hostile.”

Coleman quit in 2005 because “she could not continue dealing with the sexual, psychological and emotional abuse being inflicted on her daily,” the complaint says.

Coleman is asking that the legislative Etchics Committee investigate and take action “if it finds that Sacco violated the legislative rules of ethics and conduct becoming a New Jersey State Senator.”




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