News & Politics

NJ Mayor Suddenly Blames His Naked Photos On "Hispanic Girls" Doing "Filthy" Things

Why he chose to add to the unflattering story nine years later—or at all—brings up questions over the mayor's morals and mental stability.

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In the final stretch of his campaign for re-election as mayor of Jersey City,  Jerramiah Healy revealed a bizarre twist to an already scandalous story from his 2004 campaign. Nine years ago, the NY Times reported on photographs showing Healy standing naked on his porch. At the time, Healy told the NY Times the shots were a result of "a night out drinking six to eight beers over a three-hour period," though he did not recall how he ended up on the porch.

Now, in an apparent memory revival, Healy has embellished his tale with a few sexual and racially offensive details. 

He told Star-Ledger columnist Tom Moran last week that "three young women woke him by banging trash cans outside his house, so he rose from bed, wrapped a towel around himself, and went to investigate."

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According to the Star-Ledger article, Healy described the women as "Three Hispanic girls, young kids," adding, “So I go out on the porch and they pulled the towel off me. Now I start laughing, and then they started doing other stuff. I said, ‘I’m old enough to be your grandfather.’ ”

Moran asked Healy "What other stuff?" and received the response, “It was filthy. ...I chased them away, and I just sat down.” At that time, Healy says, a political enemy snapped the notorious photograph.

The Jersey City mayor is not new to strangeness. In 2007 he was convicted for a run-in with the police. However, given the election results following the 2004 incident, the public seems not to mind the man's weird behavior. As Tom Moran puts it, "People like him."

Moran acknowledges that Healy has a certain charm, but warns readers not to get too "warm and fuzzy" feeling about Healy and his quirks because his administration has been proved to be thoroughly corrupt.

"Healy is one of the few survivors in his inner circle who was not convicted in the famous 2009 FBI bust known as 'Operation Bid Rig,'" Moran writes. 

Operation Bid Rig consisted mainly of "old school stuff" like cash in envelopes in return for needed permits. The list of Healy administration members convicted includes his deputy mayor, three city council members who ran on his ticket, his housing commissioner, two senior managers in his health department, the building inspector and a commissioner at the utilities authority. 

Regarding his recent scandalizing comments about the "Hispanic" women, Healy's rival politician, Councilman Steven Fulop, told Star-Ledger, "It's another embarrassment in a statewide newspaper courtesy of Jerry Healy and it's sad that 10 years after the fact, he now decides to blame Hispanic women for his personal problems."

Councilwoman Nidia Lopez said the Hispanic community deserves an apology, then added that she thinks the mayor needs psychological help. 

"For this mayor to degrade Hispanic women by creating this wild story eight years later ... three young kids molested him, he's laughing about it. How the hell did he know they were Hispanic?" She added, "When I ran in 2009, I asked him if that was really him on the stoop, and he said, 'I don't know baby. I was so drunk I don't remember.' Those were his exact words to me .... There is absolutely something wrong with this picture."






April M. Short is a freelance writer who focuses on health, wellness and social justice. She previously worked as AlterNet's drugs and health editor.