Montclair Mayor Sean Spiller, who also serves as vice president of the New Jersey Education Association, was the focus of a Politico piece entitled NJEA bigwig plans in-person fundraiser.
Politico’s Matt Friedman writes…”As the state’s largest public teacher’s union criticizes its close political ally, Gov. Murphy, for downplaying the COVID risk of keeping schools open, one of its top officials plans to headline an in-person fundraiser at the height of the pandemic’s second wave.”
Friedman said Spiller would headline a $1,000 per-head “Holiday Cocktail Reception” for a new 501(c)(4) called “Progress for Action, adding that the event was scheduled to take place at Nanina’s in the Park, in an “an elegantly decorated and heated tent provided for social distancing.”
Friedman questioned Spiller about holding an in-person event during a pandemic, especially given the union’s COVID stance. Friedman says Spiller told him that the tent will not be closed on all sides and would comport with all guidelines.
On Monday, Spiller said the event would not take place in person after all.
“I agreed to support Progress in Action’s efforts to raise funds for the benefit of Montclair both through direct charitable work and advocacy. This includes providing funding for community organizations like Toni’s Kitchen, particularly as far too many families are facing hunger this holiday season. While they had shared that the event was originally planned to take place outdoors in compliance with all COVID-19 safety protocols, I have been informed that given current conditions they will be moving it to a virtual format. I am pleased to support their work during this challenging time for many of our families,” says Spiller.
Friedman also questioned the non-profit behind the event that Spiller is being honored by, stating that, according to state records, it was just formed in early October and that his brother, Richard Spiller, is on the board of directors, suggesting that Spiller might have his eyes on a run for governor in 2025 and that 501(c)(4) are not required to disclose donors.
Progress in Action is also the same name given to Spiller’s 2020 election slate.
Matt Krayton, of Publitics, speaking on behalf of Progress in Action, says the group is looking to allocate all of the proceeds, minus the normal administrative costs associated with fundraising, from this event to either directly contributing funds or providing food items to Toni’s Kitchen.
Krayton says there are no plans to change the suggested contribution levels for this event.