FRANKLIN BOROUGH, NJ – Another member of the Franklin Borough Council has spoken out against councilman David Fanale, since the mayor released his statement that he has asked Fanale to resign.
Councilman Nicholas Giordano has had his own troubles with Fanale and spoke to NJ Inside Scene to set the record straight.
“I hope people recall Dave Fanale,” he told NJ Inside Scene.
Both Giordano, who was an incumbent candidate, and Fanale, were among candidates who ran separately in the 2013 primary. Giordano received the most votes in June, with 369, and Fanale, 223. In the general election in November, Giordano received 821 votes, with Fanale receiving 554. Democratic candidate Patricia Rowett had 434 votes to her name.
Although Giordano and Fanale were both registered as Republicans during the election (though Fanale told NJ Inside Scene in a November interview, he was listed on a ballot as a “Constitutional Conservative,” he has recently flown a flag as his Facebook Profile picture, that aligns with Anarcho-capitalism).
Giordano told NJInsideScene.com, Fanale should have come out and told residents he was an Anarcho-capitalist, before running.
Giordano reemphasized to NJInsideScene.com, in spite of beliefs he was Fanale’s running mate, he has stated he was not. Since Fanale released on his Facebook a Calvin cartoon urinating on the thin-blue line and flexing the middle finger, the symbol for fallen police officers, Giordano has been flooded with emails and phone calls, on both his home number, and his private cell phone, from as far away as South Dakota and Colorado. He has seen derogatory posts that anonymous individuals have posted, suggesting that he [Giordano] be “strung up.”
“I am very concerned someone will come in and hurt me and my family,” Giordano said.
Giordano’s issues, he said, began with Fanale after the June 2013 primary.
“He was really enthusiastic about running for office,” Giordano recalled. Then he said things “went sideways” in his dealings with Fanale.
It was after an evening when Giordano, his wife Jennifer, and Giordano’s childhood friend Anthony Marino and his wife Keri, were out to dinner to celebrate both of their wedding anniversaries. The Giordanos and the Marinos both serve on the borough’s recreation committee. Later that evening, they met up with fellow recreation committee member and the group’s co-chairman, Joe Martinez. Martinez posted on Facebook that he wanted to run for council as a write-in. Jennifer Giordano and Keri Marino each liked his Facebook Post.
Giordano said the action incited Fanale, who was “freaking out” the next day at Giordano, and accused him of vetting candidates against him.
One of Fanale’s supporters, he said, threatened Martinez and his 13-year-old child, vowing he would beat them and throw them into the Franklin Pond, if Martinez ran in the election.
Another incident triggered Fanale’s rage against Giordano. Giordano said it was regarding the incident when a crossing guard in town ended up in an altercation with local police, and a police officer was injured. Two weeks following the incident, Giordano said Fanale came to his home to ask for Giordano’s assistance for the case of the crossing guard.
“You can’t come and argue for her,” Giordano told Fanale. “You have to be impartial.”
Giordano said Fanale’s reply was a finger stuck in his face, as well as the statement, “I’m going to get the biggest J*w lawyer from the city to sue the s**t out of Franklin for this.”
Giordano said he tried to explain every lawsuit the town must defend itself in, costs taxpayers $10,000. He told Fanale it would cost every resident approximately $20 on their tax bill for the suit, and if he intended to sue, Fanale would be better asking for $20 from every person who wished to participate, rather than negatively impacting the taxpayers. Fanale, he said, departed, not before telling Giordano to “control his wife.”
Giordano said he does not comprehend Fanale’s fury against police departments, and also the Franklin Police Department.
“I understand what it’s like to be pulled over for a ticket,” Giordano said. “I don’t blame it on the police.”
Giordano said that his wife Jennifer was riding in Roxbury Township in a relative’s vehicle, around the same time as Fanale, and was pulled over for a crack in the windshield, the offense some have stated triggered Fanale’s traffic stop. Giordano said the same officer pulled over the car his wife was in, and was very polite.
He also said, because he works in proximity to Roxbury, police in that town must deal with drug runners with weapons passing through, based on the town’s location to the major roadways. While Fanale has accused Roxbury Police of targeting he and his fiancée, accusing her of having a weapon, Giordano counters police in that area face those with weapons on a daily basis.
“You’re a wildlife management company,” Giordano said. “By the nature of the job, you might have a firearm.”
“What do Roxbury Police have to do with Franklin Police?” Giordano added, about Fanale’s wrath against his local department.
Like police in the area, Giordano has also been a target of Fanale’s on Facebook. Though Giordano does not participate on social media, he was texted a photo of himself that Fanale had altered, and placed on his own Facebook Page. NJ Inside Scene cannot repost the altered photo, because of copyright infringement laws, as Fanale took the copyrighted photo of Giordano, from a news publication’s website.
“At least he got my good side,” Giordano quipped about the picture, which Fanale later took down.
Fanale’s disdain for Giordano, he said, has grown so deeply, he requested his seat be moved away from Giordano, when he learned he was placed next to him on council.
He said that Fanale’s actions have spoiled the relationship between the FOP and the town. The FOP had helped in 2013 to coordinate a fishing contest for Franklin Day, stocking the pond with fish. This year, the FOP has not participated. He also said the local Shop Rite, which had generously donated $1,000 towards the event last year, whittled the donation down to a $100 gift card, likely because of the friction Fanale has generated.
On a personal note, Fanale’s statements, as well as the picture he posted of the urination on the thin-blue line, have offended Giordano. His own brother, he said, was a police officer in the United States, and is now involved with police training in Afghanistan. Fanale has additionally made disparaging posts on Facebook about Vietnam Vets, and how they should have chosen not to go to the war. Giordano’s father and uncle both served in the war, and neither wanted to go, but had no choice he said. Giordano’s father, the councilman told NJ Inside Scene, did not even speak to him about his experiences in the war, because they upset him so greatly, until two weeks before his death.
“As a son of a Vietnam Veteran, that was personally offensive to me,” Giordano said. “It’s hard to sit across the dais, from someone who has said such despicable things against my father and brother.”
Giordano is also upset, he said, because Fanale committed three ethics violations, he said, during votes at the last meeting.
Giordano describes himself as holding Constitutional beliefs, is a Second Amendment supporter, and even keeps a pocket edition of the Constitution with him at meetings. However, he does not support Fanale’s type of free speech, he said.
“It’s OK to be Libertarian and exert your First Amendment rights, except when it is defamation,” Giordano said.
“Why would you purposely poke the bear?” Giordano questioned about Fanale’s taunting of the police department.
He said of their role as councilmen, “We’re here to make sure the sewer works, the water works, and the roads are paved.”
He considers Fanale as a “carpet bagger” in Franklin, who does not own property in town, but rents, and does not understand the deep relationships in town.
Giordano said Fanale’s stance on the construction of the new Walgreens in town was “just business,” but has disrupted longtime neighborhoods. Fanale, he said, also has gloried that a particular building in town will be razed, because the owners did not wish to put out his campaign signs.
Giordano explained Franklin has divided historical neighborhoods of the many ethnic groups that converged onto the town in its mining days, and how Franklin has its roots as a melting pot.
“Dave does not understand the deep relations everyone in town has to the past,” he said.
Giordano said no one feels worse than he does that Fanale was elected, as someone he morally supported prior to the primary. Giordano told NJ Inside Scene, he has contemplated resigning.
“If I go, who wins?” Giordano asked, about that solution.
“I feel bad for [Fanale],” he said. “He’s let go of what could have been positive.”
He predicts that Fanale will not resign as asked, but will be the first candidate to be recalled in Franklin history. He is also concerned about the town’s inability to move the meeting on Tuesday to a larger venue, and what will happen that night.
NJInsideScene.com reached out to Fanale yesterday via email for comment, inquiring if he would resign. He has since not replied to our request for comment.
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