Tom Ballistreri and Manny Aponte, Republican candidates for at large seats on the Atlantic County Board of Freeholders, today asked their opponent, Democrat Freeholder Alisa Cooper, to explain why she retained the attorney for the Camden County Democrat organization to defend her against the defamation lawsuit brought against her and to reveal who is paying the attorney?s fees.
Cooper is being represented by William Tambussi of Westmont, Camden County, who is the attorney for the Camden County Democrat organization as well as the personal lawyer for George Norcross, Camden County?s Democrat power broker.
?We feel it is entirely appropriate for Cooper to share with the citizens of Atlantic County her rationale for reaching out to Tambussi to defend her in the lawsuit brought as a result of her reckless allegations that county employees had been hired through nepotism or political favoritism,? Ballistreri and Aponte said. ?Was she unable to find a competent attorney in Atlantic County to defend her or did she turn for help to the Camden County Democrat leaders who have been so politically generous to her in the past??
?She should also reveal whether she is personally responsible for paying Tambussi?s fee or whether the costs are being picked up by the Camden County organization,? they said. ?If it is the latter, it represents an in-kind political contribution and must be reported as required by campaign finance law.?
?Despite repeated requests, Cooper has never — to this day — offered a shred of evidence to support her claims, relying instead on one excuse after another, including that she left the proof in the trunk of her car,? Ballistreri and Aponte said.
Ballistreri and Aponte had earlier called on Cooper to ask the court to expedite the defamation case against her ?so the voters of the county can learn whether there have been instances of impropriety in hiring practices or whether her allegations are more examples of her unsavory political mudslinging.?
?The answer we received came not from Cooper, but from Tambussi, who said the case would not be heard until after the election,? the Republicans said. ?How convenient for Cooper.?
?Cooper?s ties to the Camden Democrats are well known,? they said. ?By retaining Tambussi, she has bound herself even more tightly to them.?