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The posh MC Hotel in downtown Montclair is the place to be this Saturday evening at 7 pm. There, we reported Friday, Montclair Mayor/New Jersey teacher union President Sean Spiller will hold a “United in Labor” fundraiser, with proceeds —tickets go from $250 to $8,200— going to his 501(c)(4) called “Progress in Action.” As a dark money PAC, the non-profit doesn’t have to disclose its donors.
Today a few more details leaked out, courtesy of Matt Friedman of Politico (behind a paywall). Here is your update:
- The invitation says the purpose of the fundraiser is to “honor women in labor, specifically former NJEA president Marie Blistan and former CWA president Hetty Rosenstein. However Rosenstein told Politico “she is on vacation and will not be there” and “a spokesperson for Blistan did not respond to a request for comment.”
- There are actually two Spiller dark money PAC’s, both called “Progress in Action.” One of them is the nonprofit that hosted Spiller’s fundraiser last year; his brother is on the Board of Directors. The other PAC, which is hosting this fundraiser, is just for Spiller’s mayoral campaign, which definitely needs some cash: as of April 1 it had just $5,645 in funds and $2,000 of that is owed personally to Spiller.
- On Friday, at the time of NJ Ed Report’s initial story, there were indications that the MC Hotel is not unionized. Friedman reports,
The Hotel Trades Council, the union that represents most hotel and motel workers in New York and northern New Jersey, told POLITICO it does not represent workers at the MC Hotel, which opened in 2019. A person who answered the phone at the hotel said they did not believe it was unionized, but asked that their name not be used for an official response. Hotel management did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
Montclair does not hold its elections in November but in May. Residents started a petition to move the election but it was overruled on technical grounds. Activist Erik D’Amato said, “ the powers-that-be in the Township, cynically working to derail a citizen initiative to increase voter participation during a national awakening about voting rights, says almost everything one needs to know about their contempt for local voters. The mayor then throwing himself a big-money fundraiser a year into his term, billed as a salute to labor in an apparently non-union luxury hotel, says the rest.”
Friedman notes that Spiller is “politically ambitious” and “is sometimes floated as a potential Democratic candidate for governor in 2025.”