Last week, Sussex County Freeholders Phil Crabb and Rich Zeoli did an about face. Under pressure from local municipalities and members of SWAC, the two Freeholders withdrew from the controversial trash “subcommittee” they had formed in late June. Ever since, emotions have run high, with Zeoli especially looking for someone to blame for the clumsy and possibly illegal way in which he and Crabb created the “subcommittee”.

It looks like they found someone in Bill Winkler, a Pennsylvania resident who has managed Republican campaigns in Sussex County for twenty years. Yesterday, one or more persons posting on the Sussex County Forum on NJ.com as “byebyewinky” and “quakerjokes” (a reference to Winkler’s religion) brought up the “subcommittee” while engaging in an apparent blackmail attempt:

“Wink, we’re going to make it so that no one will ever hire you again… You have made more enemies the last few months than you can ever imagine… you are about to be run out of Sussex County… Just limit the career to outside of the borders of Sussex politics.”

Over the last two months there has been a growing controversy over a political action committee made up of vendors who have and want contracts with local governments in Sussex County. Winkler, a former board member of Common Cause and a member of the Citizens Campaign, has been criticized by members of this committee – the Skylands Victory PAC – for advising local government officials not to accept contributions from a PAC whose members have contracts with them or who are seeking contracts from them.

In an e-mail exchange with Watchdog, Winkler forwarded correspondence from Skylands boss John Ursin. Ursin demanded that a candidate attend a Skylands Victory PAC fundraiser at the Hudson Guild Farm of billionaire Peter Kellogg. When Winkler expressed his concerns about the appearance of getting around the state’s pay-to-play laws, Ursin, a partner at the law firm of Courter, Kobert & Cohen, replied: “You are not the authorized spokesman for any elected official in Sussex County.”

In his e-mail, Winkler noted that Ursin’s sentiment, “was more aspiration than reality.”

Yesterday’s attacks on Winkler included slams on his Quaker religion, as well as what other posters on the forum took to be a death threat. Claiming to be “a hired gun… brought up to rescue the Sussex GOP”, the poster was posed the question: “Like the nut who killed those people in Wisconsin?” To which he replied: “Um yeah, Exactly the same thing.”

Responding to Watchdog’s questions by e-mail, Winkler offered an alternative explanation for his current problems with members of the Sussex County GOP. According to him, a couple months ago he asked some of the leading members of the GOP county committee to support Senator Steve Oroho’s efforts to pass Jessica’s Law. This is the law that mandates strict sentences for criminals who rape and murder children. To Winkler’s surprise, only a handful of those he contacted for help even replied, and of those only a very few offered help.

A long-time crime victims’ advocate, Winkler worked with the District Attorneys’ Association and the Fraternal Order of Police in the 1990’s. In 1998, he helped organizing a successful statewide referendum that changed the Pennsylvania constitution – ending “judge shopping” by criminal defendants by giving prosecutors the power to ask for a jury trial. The following year, he was honored for his work, at the DAs convention in Pittsburgh. In 2000, Winkler worked with victims’ groups nationwide to remove the corporate executive responsible for the Benetton Corporation’s use of convicted murderers in its Spring-Summer 2000 advertising campaign. And in 2003, he worked for the group Protect Our Children, which changed the Pennsylvania Constitution to allow child victims/witnesses to testify by closed circuit television.

In an e-mail response to Watchdog, Winkler wrote: “I wasn’t about to take NO for an answer, so I e-mailed them again and again. I guess they resented the pressure, but it was for a good cause – to stop career criminals who target and prey on young children.”

Winkler was highly critical of the Sussex County Committee and he believes that this may account for the angry backlash he’s experiencing now. “Nobody likes to be told they’re lazy,” he said, “but that’s no reason to threaten someone’s livelihood or anything else.”

Advertisements
Comments
  1. Rickie says:

    Hi
    I’m thinking about taking pro hormones, do you think this is good idea for advanced bodybuilder like me?

    People are satisfied with the results after prohormones cycles, just google for – prohormones factory – worth
    a try?

  2. Replacing a Misplaced or Broken Slate On a slate roof, particularly if
    it is an old roof, each slate is held by two nails and if one of
    these corrodes, the slate will slip. First of all, the owner should evaluate the current condition of the house.
    This will keep it in place throughout the repair job and will also
    reduce the odds of damaging gutters or eaves.

Tell Us Your Thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s