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Alexander Lewis, Home News Tribune and Courier News
EDISON – Mayor Thomas Lankey is looking to run for a third term, but it may not be as a Democrat.
Lankey said he would not seek official endorsement from the township’s Democratic organization and could run as an independent or in the June primary outside of the official party line.
The mayor said he would not seek approval from the Edison Democratic Organization because of his the ongoing campaign against her, for failing to repay a loan of $ 25,000. It is not known what the loan was used for.
“I was promised that I would be paid back last September (2019) and I have never been reimbursed,” Lankey said, adding that he would not be running for an organization that is not paying its debts.
“I don’t think they want me to have access to the money because obviously I would run against someone (they choose),” the mayor said, adding that he intended to present, but has not decided whether it will be in the primaries or as an independent in the November general election. “I am waiting to see who the organization chooses as a candidate.”
The lawsuit filed last year by the Thomas Lankey Election Fund alleges fraud, misrepresentation, fair fraud, unjust enrichment and breach of contract.
There are at least four other Democrats seeking to overthrow him – Council Vice President Sam Joshi, City Councilor Richard Bresher, former Councilor Sapana Shah and Democratic Organization President Edison Mahesh Bhagia, who was previously special assistant to the mayor.
Keith Hahn, a retired police officer from Edison, is running for mayor as a Republican, according to his Keith Hahn Facebook page for Edison.
Lankey started 2021 with two controversial appointments – one involving a federally convicted felon.
Anthony De Amorin and Nilesh Dasondi are the mayor’s special assistants. De Amorin, who has criticized the Lankey administration, was hired for a $ 12,000 part-time job with no benefits.
Dasondi, who served six months in federal prison for forging immigration documents in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments from undocumented immigrants, volunteered, Lankey said.
Lankey said Dasondi’s sentencing dates were 2011.
“My philosophy on people who have a problem in their past is to look at what it was and make sure it’s not something that, in their role, could put us in danger,” said the Mayor, adding that Dasondi will not deal with immigration and employment issues in his new role.
Dasondi, a township resident for more than two decades, said he has been involved with Edison for years and what happened is over, he has served his sentence and is ready to move on .
“I realize I made mistakes and stuff, but being in the community I wanted to do community service and repay my community here in Edison,” said Dasondi, who hopes to meet with Lankey this week to discuss current problems and some solutions. “There are people who are going to criticize me but most of the community know me, love me and I’ll go ahead with this.”
Dasondi said he has deep roots in the Asian Indian, Chinese, Korean and Filipino communities, in part due to his work as the owner and manager of six day care centers.
Lankey said Dasondi offered to help, but never looked for a paid job. Dasondi said he was financially secure and did not need a government job.
“The New Jersey State Department of Health licensed it to do various things in the health care field, so obviously they controlled it, so to me it’s a control you have to do. be careful, ”Lankey said.
Lankey said Keith Hahn and De Amorin criticized his administration.
“I am convinced that you have to listen to everyone. I always like having someone who is not necessarily on the same wavelength as me so that I can debate with me before doing something,” said the mayor.
De Amorin, a longtime resident of the township, said he had disagreed over policy issues, but heard so much about people wanting to work together, and it is not happening.
Lankey said De Amorin is well connected at the southern end of the 30 square mile township, while Dasondi is more connected in the northern section. They each have offices at the municipal complex but no fixed hours.
They both meet with the mayor twice a week to discuss administrative priorities and the direction the township is seeking, and then they meet with community members.
“That way they would geographically cover the whole city as well as the different groups they are close to,” Lankey said.
He said the role of the mayor’s special assistants, who are officials of the administration, is to be in the community to hear the concerns, complaints and needs of residents, so the city can educate itself early on. problems and proactively resolve them.
Since taking the job, Lankey said De Amorin had contacted him regarding several issues he felt needed to be addressed and that he had been working almost full time since he started about two weeks ago.
“There was already a benefit. Even with the snowstorm he is calling with things he hears regarding getting cars off the road, so we made sure to fix that,” said the mayor.
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